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2012 is the year of the girl!


I was a Girl Scout in the late 80s and early 90s and loved it. As a third-generation Girl Scout alumna, I loved putting on my Brownie jumper and other uniforms, memorizing the Girl Scout Law, making “whatchamacallits” to trade with other scouts, receiving badges in special ceremonies in front of friends and families, and giggling during the friendship circle. I also loved going to Camp Potomac Woods during the summer, where I met new friends and explored new activities. Although I thought I was just having fun, those childhood activities were slowing teaching me the meaning of responsibility, leadership, courage, and respect. I often joke that I over pack for every vacation and car trip because I was Girl Scout and live by the Girl Scout motto: Be Prepared.

Richmond Girl Scout Troop # 16. Most wear a uniform consisting of a knee-length, long-sleeved sailor dress. A number have bobbed hair cuts. The Scouts in the front row hold a banner reading "Fuschia Troop 16" with a Shamrock logo.

The year 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts. On March 12, 1912, founder Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low organized the first “Girl Guide” troop in Savannah, Georgia, with eighteen members. After several variations, the name was changed to Girl Scouts of the United States of American in 1947 and received a congressional charter on March 16, 1950. Today there are more than three million active Girl Scouts in the United States and more than fifty million alumnae. In Virginia, Troop #1 was organized in Highland Springs in 1913, becoming the first troop in Virginia. Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low even had a Virginia connection: in 1874 she attended the Virginia Female Institute, now Stuart Hall, in Staunton, Virginia.

Richmond Girl Scouts Troop #15

Richmond Girl Scouts Troop #15

Photograph, Richmond Girl Scout Troop #12.

Richmond Girl Scout Troop #12.

Today, Girl Scout alumna includes such famous women as Mariah Carey, Shirley Temple, Grace Kelly, Dionne Warwick, Gloria Steinem, Katie Couric, and former First Ladies Nancy Reagan, Laura Bush and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Scouting is more than just annual cookie sales; it is about producing future leaders and lifelong friendships.

Check out these impressive stats from the GSUSA website:

• Ten of seventeen women (59 percent) in the United States Senate are former Girl Scouts.

• Forty-five out of seventy-five women (60 percent) in the House of Representatives are former Girl Scouts.

• Fifty-three percent of all women who own businesses are former Girl Scouts.

The Virginia Historical Society and Virginia House both offer programming for Girl Scouts that range from special patch days to sleepovers.

Girl Scout Try-It and Badge Programs
• April 21, 2012
• May 12, 2012
• June 2, 2012
Girl Scouts now have the opportunity to earn badges and try-its from Virginia House. Girl Scouts will explore the gardens, wildlife, and history of Virginia House while participating in the specially designed programs. Each Girl Scout program costs $5 per child. Times and programs vary by date. Advance registration is required.

Girl Scout Programs for Older Girls
Last call for Interest Projects!
• March 25, 2012 – All About Birds IPP
• April 15, 2012 – Collecting IPP
• May 6, 2012 – Plant Life IPP
• June 3, 2012 – Wildlife IPP
Virginia House will offer the above IPPs during the spring of 2012. The patch is included in the registration fee for the program. In addition to the individual programs, we will offer an IPP Blitz on February 24. This sleepover will give Girl Scouts the opportunity to complete activities towards the Textile Arts, Folk Arts or Paper Works Interest Project Patch. Advance registration is required.

A Night at Virginia House
• May 4, 2012
Have you ever wondered what happens at night in the museum? This educational and interactive experience allows Junior Girl Scouts to participate in activities throughout the museum in order to earn Drawing, Flowers or Playing the Past Badge. Girls will have the opportunity to work on requirements for the badges while learning about the museum and its history.

Girl Scout Patch Days at the Virginia Historical Society
• April 14, 2012
At the VHS’s Girl Scout Patch Day, Girl Scouts must complete three special activities to earn their signature VHS patch.

For more information about our programs at Virginia House, please contact Tracy Bryan at 804.353.4251. You may contact Caroline Legros at 804.342.9652 for information about programs at VHS.

What are your favorite Girl Scout memories?

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Jennifer Rohrbaugh Nesossis is the programs officer with the Virginia Historical Society.

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