“When one thinks of the 31st of October,” Juliette Low wrote in 1923, “one associates the day with Halloween when imps and witches fly about…On that night, I made my appearance in the world. Little did I dream when I was young and tried Halloween pranks myself, that I should live to see that day turned into Girl Scouts Founders’ Day.” October 31, 1860, was the birthday of Juliette Magill Kinzie Gordon — who grew up to be Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouting in the United States.
October 31, 2015 will be the 155th birthday of the woman who began the Girl Scout Movement in 1912. As Girl Scouts, many past and current ACA members, myself included, were introduced to the camp experience by attending Girl Scout Camp. Girl Scouts was one of the first organization that offered organized youth camping programs.
The early handbook tells it like this, “Every Girl Scout wants to hike, explore new places, cook outdoors, and go to camp. She wants to be able to live comfortably out-of-doors, feel at home in the woods, and enjoy the things she finds.” Juliette Low thought of Girl Scouts as an outdoor program and she was an early believer in the benefits of a camp experience.
In a time when women were not allowed to vote, own property, or work outside the home, Juliette Low began a camping legacy by starting the Girl Scout Movement. During a time when the thought of a girls’ leadership organization was as silly as the idea of seeing a witch on a broomstick, she envisioned a movement that would inspire girls to believe in their abilities, develop leadership skills, and gain the courage, confidence, and character to make their world a better place. Naturally, as so many of us know, camp and scouting go hand in hand in this regard.
The legacy of Girl Scouts is a powerful force that has impacted millions of women and girls. Through camp, Girl Scout’s maximizes its mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. ACA is proud to wish the Girl Scouts of America a happy Founder’s Day, and to celebrate camp with them today and every day.
Photo courtesy of Girl Scout Camp Tanglefoot, Clear Lake, IA.