Happy Birthday to Juliette Gordon Low!
This Friday, October 31st, is not only Halloween, it’s Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday! Born in 1860, this year would have been her 154th birthday! In Girl Scouting, October 31st is also known and celebrated as Founder’s Day.
Every so often, throughout the years, the handbooks and/or badge books for Girl Scouts change and evolve with the times, but one thing remains the same: they include the story of Juliette Low. She was born in Savannah, Georgia and nicknamed Daisy as a child. Her life since childhood had been filled with a lot of trials and strife including the loss of most of her hearing as a young adult and the death of her husband at about the turn of the century. In her search for a sense of purpose, especially after her husband’s death, she began traveling the world and in 1911 in England she met Lord and Lady Baden-Powell and her life was changed. Lord Robert Baden-Powell is the founder of Boy Scouts and his sister Agnes was the leader of the early Girl Scouts, known overseas as Girl Guides. Inspired by Baden-Powell, Daisy began the first Girl Scout troop in America in 1912 and the rest is history.
Girl Scouting in America has grown from 18 girls during that first meeting in 1912 to a membership today of over 3 million girls and adults. Daisy has left a legacy that we hope will live on forever. If you want to learn more about her life and Girl Scouting, you can go to the Girl Scouts USA website to read more and check out the links to read her biography, watch videos, and more.
Happy Birthday, Daisy!
October is Georgia Archives Month! During this month we celebrate the value of Georgia’s historical records, share how they enrich our lives, and acknowledge the people who preserve and maintain them, such as those of us here on the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta History and Archives Committee!
Our committee is comprised completely of volunteers- adults and older Girl Scouts- who understand how important it is to keep a detailed record and collection of Atlanta’s Girl Scouting past.* We want Girl Scouts of today to feel connected to the Girl Scouts of yesterday and realize just where it is that they come from. “Honor the Past, Celebrate the Future” and “Girl Scouts Make History” are our mottoes here at the GSGATL Archives. Juliette Gordon Low herself understood how important our past is to our future when she said, “The work of today is the history of tomorrow and we are its makers.”
Juliette’s birthday, October 31st, is known as Founder’s Day. There is a display currently up at the Switzer Library’s (formerly Central Library) Georgia Room in Marietta, Georgia that celebrates Georgia Archives Month and Girl Scouts together! If you’re in the Marietta area, swing by and take a look! Learn a little about the history of Cobb County and Greater Atlanta Girl Scouting and see some of the items that the Georgia Room has in its collection. The display will be up until November 1st.
*If you are interested in volunteering in the GSGATL Archives or donating any materials to us, please contact us at GirlScoutArchivesAtlanta@gmail.com! We always appreciate any help and can’t wait to hear from you!
Any Girl Scout will tell you that at least once in her life, she would like to visit the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace or that the visit to the Birthplace was one of the highlights of her Girl Scout career. Located in Savannah, Georgia, the house on East Oglethorpe Avenue is where Juliette “Daisy” Gordon was born on October 31, 1860.
Girl Scouts of the USA purchased the Gordon home, also known as the Wayne-Gordon House, in 1953 from Mrs. George Arthur Gordon. Restoration of the house has been almost continual since then. In 2007 a study was conducted by an engineering firm to help plan for the structural restoration and updating the facade of the house. Work began in January 2009 and will be complete by the end of 2011 with the restorations of the garden.
The Birthplace has teamed up with the National Trust for Historic Preservation with the “This Place Matters” campaign to honor your favorite places and make a call to protect, enhance and enjoy the places that matter to all of us. Every troop who visits the Birthplace takes a picture of the troop together, holding a sign that says “This Place Matters,” because all Girl Scouts do care about the Birthplace.
You can also help the house by joining the Circle of Friends, by making a donation to the Preservation and Travelship Endowments, or through a planned gift. The annual membership contributions to the Circle of Friends continue to grow the critical preservation endowment that will fund future maintenance and preservation projects for our irreplaceable National Historic Landmark site.
Today is the 99th Birthday of Girl Scouting! Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low assembled 18 girls from Savannah, Georgia, on March 12, 1912, for a local Girl Scout meeting. She believed that all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. With the goal of bringing girls out of isolated home environments and into community service and the open air, Girl Scouts hiked, played basketball, went on camping trips, learned how to tell time by the stars, and studied first aid.
Share with us how have you been celebrating!
Happy World Thinking Day, everyone! What is World Thinking Day, you might ask? (And you might well ask, if you are not familiar with the Girl Scout Holidays.) Here is a great synopsis from the GSUSA website:
Each year on February 22, World Thinking Day, girls participate in activities, games, and projects with global themes to honor their sister Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in other countries. World Thinking Day is part of the WAGGGS Global Action Theme (GAT) based on the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which aim to improve the lives of the world’s poorest people. The theme for World Thinking Day 2011 is girls worldwide say “empowering girls will change our world.”
World Thinking Day not only gives girls a chance to celebrate international friendships, but is also a reminder that Girl Scouts of the USA is part of a global community—one of nearly 150 countries with Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. WAGGGS selected five countries of focus for World Thinking Day 2011 to represent the five WAGGGS regions: Bolivia (Western Hemisphere), Cyprus (Europe), Democratic Republic of Congo (Africa), Nepal (Asia/Pacific), Yemen (Arab Region).
In the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, troops celebrate this holiday in a variety of ways. The Duluth Service Unit holds an annual “International Bazaar,” where each troop represents a country. The girls research the country, and they make snacks or small items for the shoppers to buy. Each participant also has a “passport,” which is stamped at each “country.” The evening begins with a Parade of Nations, celebrating all the countries represented. Two girls from each country hold their flag for all to see. The International Bazaar typically lasts two hours, and everyone has a great time. Even troops who elect not to represent a country are welcome as visitors to shop, have fun, and help a great cause.
The money that is raised through this event is donated to the Juliette Gordon Low Friendship Fund, which supports girls’ international travel and participation in training and other international events. These unique opportunities for fostering international friendships connect Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from 144 nations. This year’s DSU International Bazaar will take place this Friday, February 25, and is sure to be a big success.
As Georgia Archives Month comes to a close, it’s only fitting to also bid Happy Birthday to our founder, Juliette Gordon Low. This year marks her 150th birthday, as she was born October 31, 1860.
Juliette shows up on the recent edition of the Fall 2010 issue of the Georgia Historical Quarterly, gracing the cover in a kimono, ca. 1886, just in time for her birthday. The issue includes a photo essay, Girl Scouting in Savannah 1912-1927.
On Sunday, October 31, the Girl Scouts First Headquarters relit the “Eternal Flame of Friendship” in the courtyard of the former Low Carriage House. It was originally lit at Girl Scout First Headquarters on November 14, 1963 by Daisy Gordon Lawrence, Juliette Gordon Low’s niece and the first registered Girl Scout. The re-lighting ceremony focused on the future. Girl Scouts who attended the Girl Guide Centennial bonfire in England re-lit the flame of friendship in Savannah, linking Girl Scouts to their international sisters as they begin their journey toward the 100th anniversary.
From the GSUSA’s website:
Juliette Low was very athletic. From her childhood on, Daisy was a strong swimmer. She was Captain of a rowing team as a girl and learned to canoe as an adult. She was also an avid tennis player. One of her special skills was standing on her head. She stood on her head every year on her birthday to prove she still could do it, and also celebrated nieces’ and nephews’ birthdays by standing on her head. Once, she even stood on her head in the board room at National Headquarters to show off the new Girl Scout shoes.”
And finally, on the Girl Scouts of the USA’s blog, there is a list of all the ways Girl Scouts all over the United States are honoring her birthday by volunteering in service projects in their article entitled “Halloween Fun and Good Deed Run-Down.”
There are many badges that Juniors (grades 4-5) can earn that relate to history in their badgebook. One of these is the very first one in their book (Junior Girl Scout Badgebook, New York: Girl Scouts of the USA, 2001) called “Girl Scouting Around the World.”
This badge is a great one for a new Girl Scout to work on, as it gives her a better appreciation of the organization to which she now belongs. It also discusses and lets the girls explore some of the most important traditions within Girl Scouting. The building on the badge is a depiction of The Girl Scouts Chalet in Adelboden, Switzerland, affectionately called “Our Chalet.” To earn this badge, a Junior must finish six of the ten suggested activities.
As a Girl Scout, you are not only a member of Girl Scouts of the USA, but also a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, known as WAGGGS. As a WAGGGS member, you are part of a sisterhood of millions of girls who share many of your Girl Scout values and traditions. This badge will help you discover the global reach of the Girl Scout community.
- Thinking Day: Thinking Day falls on February 22 each year. Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouting, and his wife, Lady Olave Baden-Powell had the same birthdays on that day, so February 22 was chosen as a time for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides to celebrate international friendship and world peace. Plan a way to celebrate Thinking Day that recognizes your Girl Scout connection to girls around the world.
- WAGGGS on the Web: Check out the WAGGGS website to find out about the different countries that are members of WAGGGS, and the projects that are being sponsored by that organization. Share what you learned with your troop, group, or other girls.
- Show the World: Create a display that shows how Girl Scouts are part of a world sisterhood. Exhibit your display for Girl Scout troops or groups, your Girl Scout council, your school, or a local library.
- Connect with Younger Girls: Create a game or storybook for younger Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world. Try out your game or storybook at a neighborhood event, at camp, or at a bridging ceremony for younger Girl Scouts.
- Girl Scout Central: Visit Girl Scouting’s official online site for all things Girl Scout: Girl Scout Central! Click on the link to WAGGGS to find out more about this world-wide organization. Also look at “travel” and check out special international places you and your Girl Scout friends might want to visit.
- Girl Scouting’s Founder: Juliette Gordon Low: Find out about the Juliette Gordon Low World Friendship Fund. What does this fund do? How do girls all around the world benefit from the money in the fund?
- International Expert: Choose one country where Girl Guiding/Girl Scouting exists. Become an expert on that country and the activities girl members can do there. Learn a game, song, craft, recipe, or activity unique to that country and share it with others.
- World Service: Find out about a world problem that affects girls your age. You could think of a problem related to the environment, hunger, poverty, illiteracy, or another issue. Share what you have researched with other girls and think of some ways girls in WAGGGS could help solve this problem.
- Common Roots: Learn about the lives of Lord and Lady Baden-Powell. Also find out about how the Girl Guide movement came about. Share your information with members of our troop/group or with a Brownie Girl Scout troop.
- WAGGGS Travel: WAGGGS has four World Centers that any Girl Scout can visit. Find out the following about each of the four centers. Where is it? How can you get there? What types of events and activities can a visitor take part in there? You can find this information online at the WAGGGS web site.
One of the featured stories in the 2010 Georgia Archives Month display is the Atlanta Journal-Constitution story of the dedication of the Juliette Gordon Low bust in the State Capitol. You can read the newspaper article, see the picture of Governor Jimmy Carter with the Girl Scouts, and view the original invitation and program of the ceremony.
On October 21, 1974, Juliette Gordon Low became the second woman to be honored in the Georgia Hall of Fame at the State Capitol (the first was Margaret Mitchell.) Eleanor Platt, who sculpted the marble bust of Margaret Mitchell, also sculpted the bronze one of Juliette Low. The bust was paid for by the nickels, dimes and quarters of Girl Scouts in the State of Georgia.
In the spirit of celebrating Georgia Archives Month, the Archives of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta is starting a blog to keep our users up to date on the collection and events of the Archives. We welcome your comments, suggestions, and look forward to treating everyone to more than just cookies!
Come visit our new display at the Service Center of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta. The display features items about Juliette Gordon Low, the Council Archives, as well as information about current badges relating to history. We are featuring Juliette Gordon Low, not only because of Archives month, but also because it will be her 150th birthday on October 31!