By Kierstin Rhinier
The new year marks the beginning of the Girl Scout USA’s 100th year celebration. The organization, which was started in the year 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low in Savannah, Georgia, was founded to teach girls about self-reliance and resourcefulness by taking girls outdoors and placing them in nontraditional roles. Juliette encouraged girls to prepare for their future roles as professional women and also allowed girls with disabilities to join activities, even though society had excluded them. Juliette took a group of 18 girls and a goal and turned it in to the Girl Scouts of America.
In honor of Juliette, the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) is beginning their centennial celebration on March 12, the first official Girl Scouts meeting date. The celebration is to last 5 years in honor of the more than 3.7 million members that the organization has grown into. The Girl Scouts have influenced more than 50 million people, including girls, women, and men. It started in part because of the Boy Scouts of America, the founder of which Juliette met in 1911.
The 100 year celebration activities are to show the current and future girl scouts the significance of the history that has taken place. Over the past 100 years the organization has changed and grown with each year, keeping up with current times, as well as preparing for the future.
At of the end of 2011 the Girl Scouts organization introduced new badges to keep with the interest of future young girls and proposed a new Take Action Project: Girl Scouts Forever Green. The new badges include a create your own badge, where the troops can choose something that is of interest uniquely to them, as well as a Breast Cancer badge, which is girl-centered and girl-driven. The Take Action Project is to focus on waste reduction, energy conservation, and rain gardens and was created because a number of girl scouts said that their main focus and interest was protecting the environment.
To begin Forever Green, Girl Scouts across the nation will be changing incandescent light bulbs to ENERGY STAR qualified, or other energy efficient light bulbs. Then on March 31, 2012, hundreds of millions of people worldwide, along with the Girl Scouts, will turn off their lights for one hour, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. This hour encourages communities, business, and governments to go black for one hour and raise awareness about environmental issues. The Girl Scouts will also be building rain gardens, which capture and absorb storm water. These are built and used to improve water quality by infiltrating and reducing water-born pollutants that run into streams, rivers, and other water supplies.
The well-loved Girl Scout Cookies have also welcomed a new member. “Savannah Smiles,” named after the organizations birthplace in Savannah, Georgia, is the newest cookie added to the mixture offered. It is a lemon wedge cookie which resembles past customers favorites and has been added to the sale from January 27th to March 11th. To find out where you can purchase your Girl Scout Cookies, visit www.girlscoutcookies.org and type in your zip code for the nearest vendor.
For more information on Girl Scouts, or to get involved in the 100 years celebration, visit girlscouts.org.