Girl Scouts get girls off to a good start

Monday, March 13, 2006

Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low thought girls were too sheltered, spent too much time indoors and needed more exercise.

So, she got 18 girls from her hometown of Savannah, Ga., together for a meeting. She took the girls out in the open air and got them involved in community service. They hiked, played basketball, went on camping trips, learned how to tell time by the stars and studied first aid.

It all started on March 12, 1912, and in case you haven't guessed it, it was the beginning of the Girl Scouts of the USA.

Check out pages 6 and 7 today, for photos of some of the area Girl Scouts and their activities. You'll find the organization is alive and well and growing.

Today, there are 3.6 million Girl Scouts, including 2.7 million girl members and 928,000 adult members, most of them volunteers.

There are more than 236,000 troops and groups in more than 90 countries through USA Girl Scouts Overseas, and more than 300 local Girl Scout councils.

And they're not just involved in camping and basketball any more.

"Through a myriad of enriching experiences such as extraordinary field trips, sports skill-building clinics, community service projects, cultural exchanges and environmental stewardships, girls grow courageous and strong," according to the Girl Scouts Web site.

"Girl Scouting helps girls develop their full individual potential, relate to others with increasing understanding skill and respect, develop values to guide their actions and provide the foundation for sound decision-making; and contribute to the improvement of society through their abilities, leadership skills and cooperation with others."

More than 50 million American women were Girl Scouts during their childhood, and countless numbers have gone on to leave their marks in society.

They include people like Elizabeth Dole, former president of the American Red Cross; Congresswoman Mary Bono of California, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Laura Bush, Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Lt. Col. Eileen Collins, the first woman space shuttle commander, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Houston Police Chief Elizabeth Watson, ABC's Barbara Walters, Sheila Widnall, former U.S. Secretary of the Air force, Martha Stewart, Mary Tyler Moore, Sheryl Crow, golfer Nancy Lopez and skater Bonnie Blair, author Gloria Steinam, Hether Whitestone, Miss America 1995 and countless others.

So hats off to Girl Scouts and the troop leaders who make it all possible during this National Girl Scout Week.

Their all working together to get girls off to a good start.

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