By Sabrina Y.

Girl Scouts of the USA wasn’t always like it is today.   A great evolution has transpired since it was first founded by Juliette Gordon Low, when she made her famous 1912 phone call to her friend and said; “I've got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we're going to start it tonight!"  This event sparked a glorious group that has been here for generations.  The original Girl Scouts started with 18 members and it has grown to 3.7 million members.  Girl Scouts has changed over the past 100 years; volunteering, uniforms, and even cookies have not always been the same. Traveling back in time with Girl Scouts can be a powerful experience filled with delight, pride, and insight.

Patriotic and Committed Volunteering

Today, as Girl Scouts, it is important that we spend some of our time volunteering. We normally volunteer at places such as animal hospitals, elder centers, at food drives, and other charities. 

These things are all fantastic but imagine living in a time when the country is at war, your dad is in the army, and your mom is left to take care of the home and children. What can you do? How can you help as a child?  If you were a Girl Scout during World War I you would know how to help the army without putting yourself in any danger. Older girls would grow war gardens to help soldiers in need. In this process, girls would grow delectable food in their very own backyard. This benefits the soldiers because the food grown would supply your family, and this would help conserve more food that would go toward the soldiers. During those times, you would probably think to yourself, “Soldiers work hard for us, so why not work hard for them?”

For younger girls at that time, it was hard to do gardening, so the Girl Scout Brownies would make trench candles. Soldiers, during World War 1, would hide in deep ditches as a defense mechanism. These brave men would need a source of light and warmth, so the Girl Scout Brownies pitched in to aid them by making homemade trench candles. There were other activities that supported the war, however most girls preferred to build war gardens and create trench candles.  To encourage girls to contribute in the war effort, they recieved awards. For example, a pin was given to a girl if she did three tasks for the army. These tasks would total up to three points, and if you exceeded that amount of points you would earn color-coded ribbons. Working hard to do what is right is an excellent statement that Girl Scouts should always follow.

Classic and Cool Clothing

            Today, Girl Scouts wear either a vest or sash, and younger groups wear a cute little hat. The colors now depend on which group you are in (Daisy, Brownie, and Junior….etc.) however, the first uniform consisted of a white blouse, blue skirt, and a light blue neckerchief.  Early Girl Scout dresses were brown. The first uniform was made for many reasons, but it was mostly meant for girls to wear a sensible outfit for activities such as hiking, camping, and community service. In 1928, the first official Girl Scout shoe was created. It was part of the uniform, and as the years progressed, the style changed. However, Girl Scouts today are not required to wear shoes because the shoes were discontinued in 1963.

Not long after the Girl Scouts started, the uniforms changed to a khaki color in 1914. Girls had a choice between a khaki dress and a khaki blouse with a skirt. Around that time period hats were particularly encouraged to be worn with the uniform.

By 1928, Girl Scouts was a well-known association and that’s when new uniforms were made with a grey-green fabric. That was the first time the color green (the official color of Girl Scouts) was linked to the Girl Scouts. Today, Girl Scout uniforms are a symbol used to recognize us when we are around the community helping out, or selling cookies.

Totally True Traditions

            Girl Scouts have many traditions, such as selling boxes of cookies, candies & nuts, singing campfire songs, camping, and earning badges. These are some of the most enjoyable things in Girl Scouts, but it wasn’t always like this. A common fact that almost all Girl Scouts know is that the Trefoil cookie was the first Girl Scout cookie. What most girls don’t know is that these cookies weren’t produced in factories, and the cookies didn’t even come in a designed box just for Girl Scouts. In 1922, the first cookies were made and sold.  The cookies were actually homemade and individually packaged by girls in the Girl Scouts organization.  Each girl followed an easy recipe to make plain old sugar cookies. These sugar cookies had to be special, so they were shaped as the Girl Scout symbol, a trefoil (hence the name).  Once the cookies were baked, the girls would package the cookies in wax paper bags and secure them with stickers. Twelve cookies were put in each bag, and sold door to door for 25-35 cents.

Today we have a variety of cookies to sell such as Savannah Smiles, Do-Si-Do’s, Samoas, Tagalongs, Thin Mints, and of course Trefoils, the first Girl Scout cookie. 

Another pleasurable tradition to is to learn and to sing Girl Scout songs which are a big part in the organization. Girl Scout songs are entertaining, encouraging, and can lighten up any mood. The first Girl Scout organized songbook was created in 1925 and filled with an assortment of songs. Some old Girl Scout songs are still sung today, for example, I Love the Daffodils and Make New Friends. Over the years, these Girl Scout songs have brought us together, and our passion for Girl Scout songs continues to grow today.  More songs are being written, and one of the largest Girl Scout sing along today takes place in Washington D.C. There’s even a patch you can receive if you attend a sing along. Traditions have gone way back, and may stick with us for longer than you can imagine.

            Girl Scouts has come a long way since the first meeting that took place with Juliette Gordon Low in 1912.  Looking back in the past is a valuable experience. Girls need to learn from the past, and continue to improve and develop our Girl Scout organization for all the girls in the future. It is exhilarating to know that Girl Scouts was founded over 100 years ago, and it is still growing strong.  These astounding stories should make you proud to be a Girl Scout and make you want to strive to be more involved and do additional activities for Girl Scouts.

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