News / USA

After 100 Years, Girl Scouts Still Thrive in US

Troop 1822 Brownie Scouts Aliya Gill, left, Lindsey Russ, center, and Natalie Rouse, canvass a Raleigh, North Carolina neighborhood selling Girl Scout cookies on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009 (file photo).
Troop 1822 Brownie Scouts Aliya Gill, left, Lindsey Russ, center, and Natalie Rouse, canvass a Raleigh, North Carolina neighborhood selling Girl Scout cookies on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009 (file photo).

More than 50 million American women were members of the Girl Scouts, an organization that began 100 years ago in the United States.

Singing campfire songs has always been a big part of Girl Scouts.  It is a key component of the outdoor activities, like camping and hiking that are central to scouting.

Those are activities that Girl Scout Cassidy Lee Brookes, 10, of New Orleans likes.

"We go canoeing, we go camping, we do sing-alongs, we do all kinds of stuff," Brookes said.

Like all the scouts, Brookes wears a vest that is covered in badges she has earned by learning new skills.  One she earned for going on a camping trip.

"If you do camping you get badges and all kinds of stuff for cooking and cleaning, because you have to do everything on your own," Brookes added.  "You have to cook the food, you have to serve it.  So it is really fun."  

The scouting focus on the outdoors has remained for 100 years, but as women's role in society has changed, so too have the Girl Scouts.

Mania Gaver, 15, says scouting helps her get on the career ladder.

"It is giving us all of these different job options," said Gaver.  "To get patches you have to interview different people in different jobs, you can shadow like museum curators and stuff like that.  There are a lot of trips you can go on, service-wise and a lot of volunteer opportunities."

Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouts in the U.S. in 1912, a few years after the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides organizations began in England.  Her goal was to help girls develop physically, mentally, and spiritually by bringing them out of isolated home environments and into community service and the open air.

Girl Scout Council chief executive Lidia Soto-Harmon says the founder faced many challenges.

"There were people that did not believe that girls should do anything more than learn how to bake and be at home, and here she was taking girls camping," noted Soto-Harmon.  "We have pictures of her with girls and machetes because when they would go camping, they really went out into the wilderness."

Soto-Harman says the development of Girl Scouts has not been easy, but she says despite the odds, the movement has survived and thrived.

Today more than 10 million girls participate in 145 countries from Argentina to Zambia.  There are 3 million girls and adult volunteers involved in Girl Scouts in the United States.

As Girl Scouts in the U.S. mark their 100th year, she says it is time to celebrate the past and look to the future.

"As we approach this 100th anniversary we are just bursting at the opportunity we have to really inspire a new generation of girls with the message of leadership, with the message of caring for the environment, with the message of being kind to others, respecting country.  These are values that we all share and that we need to celebrate," Soto-Harmon added.

She says there is a whole new century of Girl Scouts on its way.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid