Who started GSUSA? Do they credit Baden-Powell?
Lisa Varner (lvarner@FREENET.COLUMBUS.OH.US)
Mon, 20 Mar 1995 12:21:39 -0500
This is in response to a couple people I have been talking to privately.
It appears that many people outside the US and many BS in the US don't
truly understand how GSUSA started. Some feel that GSUSA does not
acknowledged Lord Baden-Powell and don't understand why. Well, in order
to set the record straight, THIS IS NOT TRUE. GSUSA do understand that the
scouting movement started with Lord Baden-Powell. GSUSA perhaps does not
hold him in as high esteem as BSUSA, but this is because it was Juliette
Low that brought scouting to American girls.
Here is an exerpt from the GSUSA Cadette and Senior GS Handbook:
(Hopefully this will clear some things up.)
"Juliette was born into the wealthy Gordon family of Savannah, Georgia, on
Halloween--October 31, 1860--a few months before the start of the American
Civil War. Known to her family and friends as Daisy, she was a person of
many talents, many interests, and a very strong sense of determination.
She refused to let adversity stand in her way. Her hearing problems that
eventually developed into almost total deafness nver stopped her from
pursuing her goals.
Juliette married an Englishman named William Low and went to live in
England and Scotland. However, the marriage was not a happy one and
Juliette was in the process of getting a divorce when her husband died.
After that, she traveled for several years and then settled in Paris with
the idea of studying sculpture. However, she was soon to meet a man who
started her on a venture that would become her life's work. That man was
Sir Robert (later Lord) Baden-Powell, an English general and war hero who
had founded the Boy Scout movement only three years earlier.
The Boy Scout movement had caught on instantly and had already spread
to several other countries. In England it had also resulted in the
formation of a similar organization for girls. It was the girls
themselves who took the initiative, forming into groups similar to those
their brothers had joined. There was so much interest among these girls
that Baden-Powell asked his sister, Agnes, to give them an organization of
their own. So Agnes officially established an association of Girl Guides
in 1910. By the time another year rolled by, there were Girl Guides or
Scouts in Australia, South Africa, and Finland. In the next year, similar
groups were formed in Sweden, Denmark, Poland, and Canada.
This new movement was just the sort of thing that appealed to Juliette
Low, and soon she was back in Scotland, leading a Guide group of her own.
As her interest in the Girl Guides grew, Juliette was eager to introduce
the program to American girls. Not one to waste time, she was soon on her
way to the United States. There she telephoned an old friend to say, "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."
The time was 1912. Women led far more restricted lives than they do
now, but change was in the air. Women were beginning to realize that many
activities were barred to them through custom and prejudice alone. They
were becomming convinced of their ability to do hundreds of things which up
until then only "radicals" and "eccentrics" had even suggested women might
do. It was exactly the right time to launch a program that was designed
to have girls look beyond their sheltered lives and show them the
possibilities for pleasure and adventure in the great outdoors. Most
important, Girl Scouting was to point the way for independence through
experiences that were fun while they broadened individual knowledge and
The first troop meeting of Girl Scouts was in Savannah on March 12,
1912. In no time, troops were forming elsewhere. By the time of World
War I, there were enough Girl Scouts in the United States to make a real
contribution to the war effort. These girls helped to realize Juliette
Low's dream of girls' learning to be active, vital citizens of their country."
Lisa Varner << firstname.lastname@example.org >>
Haven't been there. Don't want to go. Don't need another t-shirt!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City