Saturday, March 12, 2016

"Be prepared!"

         "Right is right, even if no one else does it."
          ~Juliette Gordon Low

On March 12, 1912, Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low organized the first "Girl Guide" troop meeting in Savannah, Georgia with 18 girls.  Now nearly 4 million girls are part of that founding Girl Girl Scout world.

I am bringing you into the collecting world of my neighbor...Diane Palmentieri-Tolson...who also is the owner of Hourglass Antiques and More in Clermont, NJ. 
She has quite a collection of Girl Scout treasures and has been involved with the Girl Scouts for about 30 years (that's a lot of cookies)!
The founder Juliette Low was quite a character.  She based her idea on the Girl Guides of England.  From the Girl Scout web site we learn that a "meeting in 1912 with Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts, inspired Juliette to establish Girl Scouts that same year. Telephoning a cousin from her home, she announced, 'I've got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we're going to start it tonight!'
From that first gathering of a small troop of 18 culturally and ethnically diverse girls, Juliette broke the conventions of the time—reaching across class, cultural, and ethnic boundaries to ensure all girls, including those with so-called disabilities, had a place to grow and develop their leadership skills."
 Low funded her group by selling a strand of rare matched pearls, a wedding gift from her husband, to get $8000 for beginning operations.  In that era, that would have been a stash of cash!
Most of the world is familiar with the Girl Scout cookie, and, interestingly, they used to be made from scratch!
Girl Scout Cookies had their earliest beginnings in the kitchens and ovens of our girl members, with moms volunteering as technical advisers. The sale of cookies as a way to finance troop activities began as early as 1917, five years after Juliette Gordon Low started Girl Scouts in the United States, when the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project.
In July 1922, The American Girl magazine, published by Girl Scouts of the USA, featured an article by Florence E. Neil, a local director in Chicago, Illinois. Miss Neil provided a cookie recipe that had been given to the council's 2,000 Girl Scouts. She estimated the approximate cost of ingredients for six- to seven-dozen cookies to be 26 to 36 cents. The cookies, she suggested, could be sold by troops for 25 or 30 cents per dozen.
Throughout the decade, Girl Scouts in different parts of the country continued to bake their own simple sugar cookies with their mothers and with help from the community. These cookies were packaged in wax paper bags, sealed with a sticker, and sold door to door for 25 to 35 cents per dozen.

Philadelphia Girl Scouts introduced the first commercially baked cookies in 1934.  In 1951, Girl Scout Cookies came in three varieties: Sandwich, Shortbread, and Chocolate Mints (now known as Thin Mints). With the advent of the suburbs, girls at tables in shopping malls began selling Girl Scout Cookies.
The cookie went through some changes as the years passed, but, based on their web site, this year marked a rather big turning point...going digital.  They announced : "We’ve recently redesigned Girl Scout Cookie packaging, announced National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend 2016 (February 26–28), and introduced our very first gluten-free Girl Scout Cookie! But the really big news is the launch of the Digital Cookie platform—a fun, safe, and interactive space for girls to sell cookies, taking the iconic cookie program digital. A bold step into the future of the Girl Scout Cookie Program, Digital Cookie introduces vital twenty-first-century lessons about online marketing, app usage, and ecommerce to Girl Scouts, who will be in the driver's seat of their own Digital Cookie businesses. But most importantly, Digital Cookie retains the one-to-one personal approach to selling that is essential to the program."

But the key to the Girl Scouts is the mission statement..."Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place."

And here are just a few more pictures of Diane's vast GS collection!

Gordon Low died in Savannah on January 17, 1927, at the age of 66. An honor guard of Girl Scouts escorted her casket to her funeral at Christ Church the next day. 250 Girl Scouts left school early that day to attend her funeral and burial at Laurel Grove Cemetery.  Gordon Low was buried in her Girl Scout uniform with a note in her pocket stating "You are not only the first Girl Scout, but the best Girl Scout of them all." Her tombstone read, “Now abideth faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.”

I will leave you with another quote from Low who passed away appropriate in this new digital world!
"We must accept the fact that transport and communications will bring the world in close relations and the youth of the world should have standards and ideals in common."

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