|“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!”
This was the message sent by Juliette Gordon Low,
founder of the Girl Scouts of America, to her cousin. Eighteen girls did
come that night and started an organization that now has 3.8 million
Juliet was a remarkable woman. She set high ideals for
the world and women. During a time in history when women were mostly at
home, she set a precedent for young women to follow even today. She was
bright and cheerful and everyone liked and respected her.
She did have an obstacle in her life. Throughout her
life, a hearing problem gradually became worse, but this did not dampen
her zest for life.
She married William Low, an Englishman, and went off
to live in England and Scotland. Her husband died at a young age and she
decided it was time to see the world.
She met Sir Robert Baden Powell, a former English war
hero. He started the Boy Scout movement in 1908. At the first rally for
the Boy Scouts, a thousand girls showed up! He asked his sister, Agnes,
and Juliette to form a similar organization for girls. It was called
This was just what Juliette was searching for. She
realized that the young women in the United States were missing a
wonderful opportunity, so she returned home to Savannah where she made
the famous phone call to her cousin.
She dreamed of an organization that would encourage
girls to serve in their communities and have outdoor experiences. Soon
girls were hiking through the woods in their knee length uniforms,
playing basketball in a curtained off court and going on camping trips.
The organization was funded in the early years by the
proceeds from the sale of her extremely valuable necklace of matched
pearls. The organization grew and a fund raising plan was started that
financed the organization and relieved the burden for Juliette Low.
The severe economic hardships of the Great Depression
tested the resourcefulness of the organization. The Girl Scouts joined
in relief efforts collecting food, clothes and toys, volun-teering in
hospitals and working on community canning projects.
When World War II came in the early 1940s, the Girl
Scouts served again by collecting fat, scrap metals and growing Victory
I have seen four generations of Girl Scouts in my own
family and some of my granddaughters are now members.
Parents do provide the leadership, but most feel it is
time well spent to have a good influence on the friends of their
children. I have seen a young mother volunteer as a leader so her
daughter could belong to a troop in her area. This same mother has
progressed from a dislike for camping, to organizing a camping trip
(with the help of fathers and brothers).
Scouting is not funded now by the sale of family
heirlooms but by the sale of many boxes of Girl Scout cookies. This
money makes the Girl Scout experience available to more girls.
Thank you to the former and present leaders of the
Girl Scouts of Calhoun County. You may have been the leader here that
could have made that first enthusiastic phone call.