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“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!”

This was the message sent by Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of America, to her cousin. Eighteen girls did come that night and started an organization that now has 3.8 million members.

Juliet was a remarkable woman. She set high ideals for the world and women. During a time in history when women were mostly at home, she set a precedent for young women to follow even today. She was bright and cheerful and everyone liked and respected her.

She did have an obstacle in her life. Throughout her life, a hearing problem gradually became worse, but this did not dampen her zest for life.

She married William Low, an Englishman, and went off to live in England and Scotland. Her husband died at a young age and she decided it was time to see the world.

She met Sir Robert Baden Powell, a former English war hero. He started the Boy Scout movement in 1908. At the first rally for the Boy Scouts, a thousand girls showed up! He asked his sister, Agnes, and Juliette to form a similar organization for girls. It was called Girl Guides.

This was just what Juliette was searching for. She realized that the young women in the United States were missing a wonderful opportunity, so she returned home to Savannah where she made the famous phone call to her cousin.

She dreamed of an organization that would encourage girls to serve in their communities and have outdoor experiences. Soon girls were hiking through the woods in their knee length uniforms, playing basketball in a curtained off court and going on camping trips.

The organization was funded in the early years by the proceeds from the sale of her extremely valuable necklace of matched pearls. The organization grew and a fund raising plan was started that financed the organization and relieved the burden for Juliette Low.

The severe economic hardships of the Great Depression tested the resourcefulness of the organization. The Girl Scouts joined in relief efforts collecting food, clothes and toys, volun-teering in hospitals and working on community canning projects.

When World War II came in the early 1940s, the Girl Scouts served again by collecting fat, scrap metals and growing Victory Gardens.

I have seen four generations of Girl Scouts in my own family and some of my granddaughters are now members.

Parents do provide the leadership, but most feel it is time well spent to have a good influence on the friends of their children. I have seen a young mother volunteer as a leader so her daughter could belong to a troop in her area. This same mother has progressed from a dislike for camping, to organizing a camping trip (with the help of fathers and brothers).

Scouting is not funded now by the sale of family heirlooms but by the sale of many boxes of Girl Scout cookies. This money makes the Girl Scout experience available to more girls.

Thank you to the former and present leaders of the Girl Scouts of Calhoun County. You may have been the leader here that could have made that first enthusiastic phone call.

This Week's Editorial:

By Helen Morris:


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