Re: Who started GSUSA? Do they credit Baden-Powell?
Lisa Varner (lvarner@FREENET.COLUMBUS.OH.US)
Fri, 24 Mar 1995 22:57:56 -0500
Anne Riddick wrote to me and said...
> I did know the story of Juliette Low, was well aware of the official
> GSUSA story about how they started, and I still feel (even after
> reading your post) that GSUSA don't acknowledge B-P and Lady B-P's
> place in GSUSA's history well. I think maybe in some ways this is
> something that distance makes clearer and those outside can see from
> a different perspective. I know my girls (in my unit - aged 10 -
> 14) picked up on it straight away when they looked at GSUSA handbooks.
Did your girls have all the handbooks? Starting in Daisies, through
Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes and Seniors, the story is taught to the
girls. I think emphasis is made on different aspects of the story as the
girls get older, depending on how the girls can relate according to their
age group. Especially in Juniors, the story is taught in its most
complete form and does show B-P and Lady B-P's role in starting the
The focus of Cadettes is to teach leadership, so emphasis is placed on
Juliette Low and all she accomplished during her life. Gives the girls a
model to look up to to show them what women can accomplish if they so desire.
> What we are saying is true - what you are saying is parallel but does not
> answer what we were saying. We have a similar character to JL in Col.
> Crossgrove in NZ but he is only mentioned as a character in the GGANZ story,
> with the B-P's definitely having more importance. This is a juxtaposition of
> the way GSUSA deals with it in their story.
That's because NZ started with a Girl Guide program B-P helped established.
Juliette Low did not. She took many aspects of the program but changed it
to relate to American girls.
> I think it is very much GSUSA's loss - but it also makes me sad
> as it is one of the links that all WAGGGS members have and the way
> GSUSA deals with it very much isolates you in the movement. I think it
> is sad for example that you don't keep the Thinking Day Fund (which
> is WAGGGS) separate from the Juliette Low Fund (Which is not) so that
> the girls are aware that some of the JL Fund does go to the Thinking
> Day Fund.
The girls are very much aware of the two funds and exactly what they are
for. This is reiterated every year to the girls in my service unit on
Thinking Day, as well as very thorough badges in each age level exploring
all about WAGGGS, the history of the movement, and includes knowing about
B-P and Lady B-P. There is quite a complete story on B-P and Lady B-P in
our book called "Girl Scouting Around the World". Along with a very
thorough piece on WAGGGS.
This is very throughly explored when the girls earn their "Girl Scouting
Around the World" badge. Most girls earn this badge because it is
required in order to earn "The Sign of the Rainbow", another recognition
that forces the girls to explore all the worlds of interest in Girl Scouting.
The handbooks I must admit are not very thorough, but most badge work
requires the exploration of many sources of information produced by
council that have more thorough explanations.
> It isn't to say that you don't have a great programme - but from an
> outside perspective your history is very skewed in what you teach.
We teach what is OUR history, as well as the scouting movement development.
And I'm sorry if that does not agree with how you learned GSUSA had
evolved, but our whole purpose here is to ensure the girls have a program
they can relate to and use to help them develop their abilities and
> Friends of mine who grew up in another Guiding tradition, (England,
> Australia, Canada and NZ) but who later worked inside GSUSA found
> this as well - (including some native USA people who I chat to via
> Internet only and who are also on various Scouting Lists).
This does not a legitamit story make. Experiences of one scout, or one
dozen scouts, or even one hundred scouts for that matter, does not speak for
the teachings of the 100's of thousands of Girl Scouts of the USA. GSUSA
consists of a very diverse group, there is something for everyone in this
program and I'm sure emphasis is placed on what each area, group, troop,
and girl can relate to, to make her become the best person she can be.
Yes, credit IS given to B-P for starting the scouting movement. Juliette Low
used his program as a basis for GSUSA. It was a good sound program. Just the
same as B-P based International Boy Scouts on two scouting programs that
were already in place in the United States.
Daniel Carter Beard had founded the Sons of Daniel Boone and Ernest
Thompson Seton, had founded the Woodcraft Indians.
Lisa Varner << email@example.com >>
Haven't been there. Don't want to go. Don't need another t-shirt!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City