This Month in Girl Scout History - December

December 1923
Field News, originally a supplement to The American Girl, becomes Girl Scout LEADER and is distributed as a separate publication.

December 1940
A presentation ceremony of a gift of an ambulance, two mobile kitchens, air raid shelter equipment, and $500 of knitting wool from U.S.A. Girl Scouts to Girl Guides of Great Britain is held at the foot of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center Plaza in New York City. Princess Mary, speaking from "a city in England," hears the presentation and thanks the Girl Scouts for their gifts in a trans-Atlantic short-wave radio broadcast.

December 1951
The first Brownie Scout Handbook for girls is published.

December 1953
The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace in Savannah is purchased by the Girl Scout national organization for restoration as a Girl Scout program center.

December 1983
President Ronald Reagan signs into law a bill naming a new federal office complex in Savannah for Juliette Low. It is the second federal building in history to be named for a woman.

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This Month in Girl Scout History - November

November 1918
A membership increase of nearly 20,700 necessitates an increase in the number of staff and requires the organization to relocate. The site chosen is One Madison Avenue in New York City. This 50-story building is one of the largest in the city.

November 1943
The Board of Directors approves a membership expansion program for 1943 with nine major projects and a slogan, "A Million or More by '44."

November 1947
The name of the national organization is changed from Girl Scouts to Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.

November 1992
GSUSA, in collaboration with the National Institute of Justice, begins Girl Scouts Beyond Bars, a program that offers Girl Scout activities to girls whose mothers are incarcerated.

© 2010 Girl Scouts of the United States of America. All Rights Reserved.

 This Month in Girl Scout History - September

September 25, 1929
A Girl Scout loan exhibit of Colonial and early Federal furniture, portraits, glass, and porcelain opens at the American Art Gallery for the benefit of the National Council of Girl Scouts, Inc. The guidebook published for this exhibit goes on to become a major antiques reference.

September 1940
The Irving Berlin Foundation announces that royalties from the song "God Bless America" will be allocated to the Girl Scout and Boy Scout organizations.

September 1943
The first official Girl Scout calendar, dated 1944, is produced by the national organization for council and troop fundraising in place of cookies, which most bakers were unable to supply due to war-time rationing of ingredients.

September 1945
Senior Girl Scouting, the first complete Senior Girl Scout handbook, is published. It incorporates all materials on aide work, training programs, and the 10 program fields.

September 9, 1963
Four new handbooks (for the newly established age–levels), introducing a completely redeveloped Girl Scout program, go on sale. It is the first and only time that four handbooks are designed, written, and edited simultaneously.

September 2000
The Girl Scout Research Institute launched its first study, Girls Speak Out: Teens Before Their Time, which found that contemporary pre-teen girls were maturing faster mentally and physically, but not emotionally, than previous generations.

September 2001
Girl Scouts respond to the terrorist attacks on September 11 by performing community services, hosting remembrance ceremonies, and writing thank-you letters to rescuers.

© 2010 Girl Scouts of the United States of America. All Rights Reserved.

This Month in Girl Scout History - August

August 6-13, 1932
The seventh World Conference is held in Bucze, Poland.

August 6-20, 1932
The first Juliette Low Session held at Our Chalet is attended by girls from seven countries, including the United States.

August 17, 1945
The first of three Piper Cub training planes for use in the Wing Scout program is presented to the Girl Scouts by William T. Piper, President of Piper Aircraft.

August 1962
Girl Scout membership continues its upward trend and reaches 3, 500,000.

August 7-17, 1967
Girl Scouting Makes the Difference, a national conference for Senior Girl Scouts focusing on Girl Scouting in the inner city is held at Marion College in Indianapolis, Indiana.

August 24-27, 1971
A National Conference on Girl Scouting—Mexican-American Style is held in Prescott, Arizona.

August 30, 1976
Betty Ford, wife of President Gerald Ford, becomes the 11th Honorary President.

© 2010 Girl Scouts of the United States of America. All Rights Reserved.

This Month in Girl Scout History - July

July 1912
Lowlands, the first Girl Scout campsite, is purchased by Juliette Low.

July 23-28, 1920
The first International Conference of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts is held in Oxford, England.

July 31, 1932
Our Chalet in Adelboden, Switzerland—the first world center established by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS)—is formally opened by Lord and Lady Baden-Powell. Our Chalet is a gift to WAGGGS from Helen Storrow of Boston, Mass.

July 1977
Worlds to Explore: Handbook for Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts is published. Program activities for Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts are newly divided into five broad interest areas known as Worlds.

July 1992
Girl Scouts of the USA relocates its national headquarters from 830 Third Avenue (which it had occupied since November 1957) to its current location at 420 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y.

© 2010 Girl Scouts of the United States of America. All Rights Reserved.   

This Month in Girl Scout History - June

June 1913
The first national headquarters is established in the Munsey Building, Washington, D.C. Edith D. Johnston is employed as the first National Secretary. She is the only staff member.

June 10-12, 1915
The first National Council meeting is held in Washington, D.C. Juliette Low is elected President and a Constitution and Bylaws are adopted.

June 1938
Girl Scout membership passes the half-million mark.

June 23, 1965
The Juliette Gordon Low National Center is designated as a National Historical Landmark by the National Park Service. It is the first building in Savannah to receive landmark status.

© 2010 Girl Scouts of the United States of America. All Rights Reserved.     

This Month in Girl Scout History - May

May 6, 1917
The first local council charter is issued by the national organization to Toledo, Ohio.

May 1937
National Headquarters moves to the Time-Life Building at Rockefeller Plaza.

May 12, 1944
The Liberty Ship S.S. Juliette Low is launched in Savannah, Georgia, after being christened by Daisy Gordon Lawrence, a niece of the founder and the first registered Girl Scout in the U.S.

May 5, 1994
A Salute to Girl Scout Style, a fashion show celebration of Girl Scout uniforms through the decades, introduces the new Junior Girl Scout uniform: jade green culottes, skirt or shorts; blouse, shirt, or T-shirt; sweatshirt; and leggings.

May 11, 2001
The Macy 75th Anniversary Celebration, held at the Edith Macy Conference Center, is attended by nearly 150 council volunteers and staff from across the country, special guests, community members, and national staff.

May, 2003
Following comprehensive research, which ranged from online surveys to focus groups across the country, a brand-new approach to serving adolescent girls, STUDIO 2BSM, was unveiled at the Girl Scout National Council Session in Long Beach, California. Its success is evident—by early 2004, membership among girls 11-17 will have risen by 7%.

© 2010 Girl Scouts of the United States of America. All Rights Reserved.

This Month in Girl Scout History - April

April 1916
National headquarters moves to New York City, occupying a one-room office at 17 West 42nd Street.

April 1922
Field News, a monthly bulletin for Girl Scout leaders, begins publication as a supplement to The American Girl.

April 1945
A National Home Safety campaign is launched by Girl Scouts and Nation's Safety Council "to make every Girl Scout home a safe home." Thirty thousand Girl Scouts participate.

April 1956
A site for the new national headquarters building is purchased at 830 Third Avenue in New York City.

April 1982
The first annual Girl Scout Leader's Day is celebrated.

April 1989
The National Meeting of President and Executive Directors by Regions includes a two-hour teleconference session—the first use of this technique at a Girl Scout national meeting.

April 1993
GSUSA, along with other organizations and businesses, invites girls to visit an adult work place for the first annual Take Our Daughters to Work day. This national project, created by the Ms. Foundation, is designed to encourage girls between the ages of 9 and 15 to explore the world of work.

© 2010 Girl Scouts of the United States of America. All Rights Reserved.

This Month in Girl Scout History - March

March 9, 1912 - 
Juliette Gordon Low makes a historic phone call to her cousin, Nina Pape: "Come right over! I've got something for the girls of Savannah, and all America, and all the world, and we're going to start it tonight."

March 12, 1912 - 
Juliette Gordon Low organizes the first U.S. "Girl Guide" troop in Savannah, Georgia, with 18 members in two patrols named the Carnation and White Rose.

March 1933 - 
Approximately 16,000 people celebrate Girl Scouting's 21st birthday by seeing The Girl Scout's Coming of Age Party. A dramatic pageant, it is first presented at Radio City Music Hall and repeated in Chicago. Local Girl Scouts were part of the cast.

March 1936 - The first international conference of leaders of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides with disabilities is held in London, England.

March 16, 1950
 - Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. is reincorporated under a Congressional Charter.

March 13-14, 1970
 - A Conference on Scouting for Black Girls is held in Atlanta, Georgia, to explore ways to make Girl Scouting more meaningful to girls and adults. One hundred fifty Senior Girl Scouts attend.

March 28, 1973 - 
A portrait of Juliette Gordon Low is presented to the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery as a gift from Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.

March 12, 1987
 - The U.S. Postal Service issues a 75th Anniversary Girl Scout commemorative stamp.

March 12, 2002
 - In honor of Girl Scouts 90th Anniversary, a gala was held in the nation's capital, attended by 1,100 distinguished guests, including Girl Scout alumnae, men and women of Congress, and members of the President's Cabinet.

© 2010 Girl Scouts of the United States of America. All Rights Reserved.

Girl Scout Week


Saturday, March 6, 2010: Girl Scout Week kicks off with the Portraits of Girl Scouting exhibit. Ten finalists from this contest will have their artwork on display at the National Portrait Gallery during a special National Women's History Month event. At the National Portrait Gallery event Girl Scouts and their families can enjoy live music, talk with local artists and meet Juliette Gordon Low and her famous portrait! Additionally, the artwork will be part of a a traveling display at the Girl Scout offices around the Council.

March 7 and 13, 2010: Girl Scout Sunday and Girl Scout Sabbath allow girls to celebrate the historic traditions of Girl Scouts with their place of worship. If a place of worship is the group sponsor, girls may perform a service, such as greeting, ushering, or flag ceremony. These days can also be a time when girls explore other faiths.

Friday, March 12, 2010: This date marks the 98th anniversary of Girl Scouting! Happy Birthday Girl Scouts! Celebrate this event by discovering Girl Scout history.

To learn more about Juliette Gordon Low or important Girl Scout dates, click here

*Don't forget, Girl Scout Leader's Day is April 22. Girls, their families, and communities should find a special way to honor all the volunteers who work as leaders and mentors in partnership with girls.*

© 2010 Girl Scouts of the United States of America. All Rights Reserved.


Girl Scout Pins and their meanings

The Brownie pin, the traditional Girl Scout pin, and the new contemporary pin are worn to indicate membership in the Girl Scouting movement in the USA. All three in the shape of a trefoil, and the center of the round WAGGGS pin features a trefoil as well. The three “leaves” of the trefoil represent the three parts of the Girls Scout Promise. You can see three blocks on the corner of the international Girl Scout flag, representing the same three parts of the Promise, just as the Girl Scout sign, three fingers held straight with the pinkie and thumb tucked into your palm also represents this central core of Girl Scouting and Girl Guides.

The traditional pin features an American eagle and shield, both of which are also a part of the great seal of the United States of America. The eagle is used to represent power and strength, and the shield is there to represent protection. The Great Shield of the United States rests only on the eagle to represent our self-sufficiency as a country. In Girl Scouts, young women learn to become self-reliant citizens of the United States.

In the right talon of the eagle is an olive branch and in the left is a bundle of arrows. Although the eagle is looking at the olive branch as an indication of our nation’s preference for peace, the arrows indicate our readiness to fight for our ideals. Girl Scouts in the USA, likewise, are peace-loving but are willing to fight for what their beliefs. That Scouting is a peace-loving organization is also emphasized by a white block on the lower right-hand corner of their WAGGGS flay. The readiness of the country to defend its ideals mirrors to Scout motto of “Be Prepared.”

The seal of the United States contains a scroll on which is printed “E Pluribus Unum” meaning, "one from many." The many states make up the nation. The many girls make up troops and the troops make up neighborhoods. Neighborhoods make up Councils, which in turn make up the American Girl Scouts. From the single girl to the national movement, the many (three million) make one.

The contemporary pin retains the trefoil shape of the traditional pin but in the place of the eagle and shield are the silhouettes of three girls. Girl Scouting is a dynamic and changing organization and the new pin presents “the new face(s)” of Girl Scouting.

The new trefoil design features open edges to indicate the organizations openness to change. The organization is strengthened by the flexibility to accept and embrace change.

The three faces on the contemporary pin are looking right, toward the future. The young women of the Scouting movement are our future.

The three faces represent the movement’s commitment to pluralism and diversity. Girl Scouts embrace all girls as members regardless of racial, cultural, or socio-economic status.

World Association Pin

The World trefoil pin is worn to indicate membership in the Girl Scout and Girl Guide organization of the world.

The blue background stands for the sky and the gold stands for the sun. Around the world, we all share the same sky and the same sun.

The trefoil shape, as in the USA Girl Scout pin, represents the parts of the promise. All Girl Scouts and Guides around the world have a promise that is unique to their country but that features three central parts.

The two stars represent the promise and law. As with the promise, each country has its own version of the Girl Scout/Guide law.

The base of the trefoil is in the shape of a flame, representing our love for humanity and the flame that burns in every Girl Scout/Guide’s heart.

The line in the center is a compass needle pointing us in the right direction, guiding us and the outer circle of the pin represents the association of all Scouts and Guides throughout the world.

History of World Thinking Day

Thinking Day was first created in 1926 at the fourth Girl Guide/Girl Scout International Conference held at Girl Scouts of the USA's Camp Edith Macy (now called Edith Macy Conference Center). Conference attendees decided that there should be a special day for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from around the world to "think" of each other and give thanks and appreciation to their "sister" Girl Scouts. The delegates chose February 22 as the date for Thinking Day because it was the mutual birthday of Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scout movement, and his wife, Olave, who served as World Chief Guide.

In 1932, at the seventh World Conference, held in Poland, a Belgian delegate suggested that since birthdays usually involve presents, girls could show their appreciation and friendship on Thinking Day not only by extending warm wishes but by offering a voluntary contribution to the World Association. This is how the World Association's Thinking Day Fund began. The fund helps offer Girl Guiding/Girl Scouting to more girls and young women worldwide. Girl Scouts of the USA, through its Juliette Low World Friendship Fund contributes to the World Thinking Day Fund.

To emphasize the global aspect of Thinking Day, members at the 30th World Conference, held in Ireland in 1999, changed the name from Thinking Day to World Thinking Day.

© 2010 Girl Scouts of the United States of America. All Rights Reserved.


SWAPs - Keepsakes for Girl Scouts

Swaps, the tradition of Girl Scouts exchanging keepsakes, started long ago when Girl Scouts and Girl Guides first gathered for fun, song, and making new friends.

Swaps were widely exchanged at national Girl Scout Senior Roundups in the 1950's and 1960's.
In more recent years, some Girl Scouts describe the types of objects now preferred as swaps by calling them: 
Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere.

Swaps are still the perfect way for Girl Scouts to meet each other and promote friendship. Each one is a memory of a special event or Girl Scout Sister.

Swaps Basics

Swaps should:
Tell something about the givers or their group. (Girls may include their address or email information so others can write to them.)
Represent the givers' country, community, or local Girl Scout council.

Tips for Swaps Givers

Girls should:
  • Think about the kind of swap they would like to receive from someone else.
  • Try not to spend a lot of money. Consider making something from donated or recycled material.
  • Be creative, and take time to make hand-crafted swaps. (Include directions for making the swap if it is a craft project that can be replicated.)
  • Try to have one swap for each event participant and staff member.
  • Plan ahead so there's time to make the swaps.
  • Make swaps that can be worn, used, or displayed.
  • Ask their group or service unit for help, if needed, in putting swaps together.
  • Make swaps portable. Remember: Swaps must be carried or shipped ahead to the event, where other girls will be carrying them away.

What to Do With Swaps

Girls can:
  • Include swaps with thank-you letters to sponsors and those who helped them go to a travel or destinations event.
  • Make a display or scrapbook for travel night or troop visits.
  • Keep swaps in a memory box or shadow box.
  • Make a quilt, using swaps.
  • Put pins and patches on a hat or jacket.
  • Start a council best-of-swaps collection.

Swap Safety and Etiquette

Girls should:
  • Never refuse to swap with another person.
  • Swap face-to-face, especially if exchanging addresses or email information.
  • Avoid using glass and sharp objects in swaps.
  • Follow all Safety-Wise guidelines.
  • Avoid using food products, unless they are individually wrapped.
   © 2010 Girl Scouts of the United States of America. All Rights Reserved.