On this day 104 years ago, Juliette Gordon Low gathered a troop of 18 girls in Savannah, Georgia, and hosted the first-ever Girl Scout meeting. Now, members and supporters everywhere spend every March 12 celebrating the birthday of the organization famous for its cookies and community service.
There are more than 2.7 million scouts, a number that includes adult volunteers and young members, who will recognize National Girl Scout Day on Saturday. You can join them even if you don't have any merit badges — just take some time to read and learn about the organization.
"I realize that each year it has changed and grown until I know that, a decade from now, what I might say of it would seem like an echo of what has been instead of what is. The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers." — Low
"The most valuable thing we have in this life is time, and most girls are apt to be rather stupid about getting the most out of it. Health is probably a woman's greatest capital, and a Girl Scout ... doesn't waste it in poor diet ... so that she goes bankrupt before she is thirty. Money is a very useful thing to have ... A Girl Scout saves, as she spends, on some system." — Low
"The Girl Scouts is an organization that constantly gives you new goals to achieve and that's what life is all about." — Maria Bartiromo
“We all have a place at the campfire. It was the Girl Scouts who taught me that first.” — Gloria Steinem
"Girl Scouts taught me to succeed (cookie selling) and to fail (knot tying) and to learn and benefit from both." — Carol Bellamy
"It's important for people to believe in themselves. It's important for young girls to have the opportunity to excel and promote themselves, and learn how to communicate and that they can be individuals, yet accomplish so much. The Girl Scouts and other organizations like them make that so important, so vital." — Linda Chavez-Thompson
"Girl Scouting was hugely important to me. It affirmed that you could do anything you wanted to do. I was real active in camping too, working in the summers at Girl Scout camps for several years. That, plus what you did in your troops and through the year. The whole experience was just so affirming for a woman. I can't say enough positive things about it." — Virginia Edwards
"A good housekeeper cannot endure dust and dirt; a well-cared-for body cannot endure grime and soot; a pure mind cannot endure doubtful thoughts that cannot be freely aired and ventilated." — Low
"Right is right, even if no one else does it." — Low
"Girl Scouting is not just knowing ... but doing ... not just doing, but being." — Low
"I think the most enduring lesson I was taught through my experiences of being a Girl Scout was that I was a member of a larger community. I out-grew my uniforms and badges years ago, but the memories of visiting nursing homes or organizing Earth Day tree plantings or my summers camping with girls from all different backgrounds will stay with me always." — Natalie Merchant