On March 12, 1912, Juliette Gordon Low made history when she formed the first U.S. Girl Guide troop in her hometown of Savannah, Georgia. With the help of her first 18 members, Low created the Girl Scouts of USA.
She brought together girls from all backgrounds, providing them with the knowledge and self-reliance to become successful professional women in addition to traditional homemakers. Low’s inclusion of any girl—despite disabilities she may have—was groundbreaking at the time.
In the century since, Girl Scouts has helped educate and empower millions of women. The organization currently has more than 3.2 million members across the country. Its commitment to diversity and inclusion has made its 50 million American alumnae proud. Activities based in leadership and personal growth, as well as community outreach, have always set Girl Scouts apart.
Juliette Gordon Low received many posthumous honors and awards for her tremendous work with America’s youth. During World War II, a Liberty Ship was named in her honor—the SS Juliette Low—and launched in Savannah on March 12, 1944. President Ronald Reagan signed a bill on December 2, 1983 naming a federal building in Low’s hometown after her. In October 2005, Low was immortalized as part of the Extra Mile Points of Light Volunteer Pathway monument in Washington, D.C.
Because of the enormous reach of Girl Scouts’ goodwill, the nation celebrates its centennial today. The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., is hosting Girl Scouts Rock the Mall this week with tours, history, exhibits, and interactive activities for all ages.
As a Brownie alumna, I especially understand the importance of Girl Scouts for young women. I learned a lot about myself and the world from the organization, and I’m proud to honor its 100 years of scouting legacy.