Founder of Girl Scouts of the USA.
Born Juliette Margikk Kinzie Gordon in Savannah, Georgia, to a well-established family and was affectionately called “Daisy”. In 1911, she met with the founder of Boy Scouts and was inspired to establish the Girl Scouts of the USA in 1912, a movement she originally initiated with the name “Girl Guide”, similar to the one in England at that time.
Gordon Low set herself a mission to assure girls in their capability, power to contribute to society, and to become self-sufficient. Her goal was to teach them skills, empower them, and help to “build their character”.
The girls were taught to manage a household and care for livestock, but also practiced knot tying, map reading, first aid, and drilling, signaling, and camping.
The first troop was of only 18 girls and was culturally and ethnically diverse, breaking the social conventions back then.
Not only did the movement reach out to all girls from all backgrounds, but it also welcomed girls with disabilities which were often isolated.
Low strove for the cause with determination and enthusiasm, and had a vast network of supporters. With her natural talent for public relations, she used those sources to raise funds to open more Girl Scouts programs across the nation and eventually worldwide.
By 1925, there were over 90,000 active Girl Scouts in the US, and based on the girl scout organization, in 2019, there are 2.5 million(!) Girl Scouts — 1.7 million girl members and 750,000 adult members working in the USA. And always “Girl Led”.
Juliette Gordon Low died of breast cancer in 1927. She kept her illness a secret and continued to present “business as usual” throughout her struggle.
Her home, now called “Birthplace”, was bought by the Girl Scouts, became a museum of the movement, and is run by them to this day. The house is a registered national landmark.
“A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed” (1947 Girl Scout Handbook).
More Interesting Anecdotes:
- Juliette was very artistic, as a young girl she wrote poetry and plays.
- The Girl Scouts celebrate “Founder’s Day”, a day to celebrate Gordon Low and her accomplishments.
- In honor of her memory, the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund was established.