March celebrates Women’s History Month. It makes me think of the many incredible women in history who have changed the world for the better, or maybe even just made your day.
Juliette Gordon Low was one woman in particular who stands out in my mind. She founded the Girl Scouts of the USA with just 18 girls in Savannah, Georgia on March 12, 1912. Now, more than 2.8 million girls and women are members. More than 59 million women in America today enjoyed Girl Scouts during their childhood. With each year as the membership grows, more girls are able to grow their courage, confidence and character making the world a more pleasant place to be. The organization’s very foundation has created such a wonderful domino effect as each Girl Scout can not only feel empowered herself, but is able to harness the power to make a difference in other people’s lives.
Low, whose nickname was “Daisy,” was born in 1860 in Savannah, GA and died of breast cancer in 1927. She has been quoted as saying, “The work of today is the history of tomorrow and we are its makers.” Growing up, the Girl Scouts played a major role in my life. I earned a hefty amount of badges and made many friends in the process. Earning badges did not come easy, but what I learned from years of experience has lasted me a lifetime. Whether it was learning to cook, camp, sew or volunteer, I became a well-rounded person with each lesson.
My volunteering alone made a difference in someone’s day as well. Our troop would visit the elderly and I played the piano while the others sang. During one particular performance I recall a very withdrawn, depressed elderly woman when we first arrived, looking like she was staring into nothingness. At the end of our performance I asked her if she enjoyed herself, and tears welled up in her eyes. When I asked if she was OK, she told me how hearing me play reminded her of when she used to play the piano when she was young. Those words meant a lot to me because I discovered that even as a 13-year-old I had the power to make a difference in someone’s day.
Our mothers also made a difference, taking time out to be our leaders so we could grow into women not riddled with anxiety and fear, but rather passion and courage, which was no small feat. We were a group of 20 girls packed into mini-vans on camping trips, community service and selling cookies.
My favorite part about being a Girl Scout was participating in the International Fair. Once a year we were given a country and we learned everything we could about it. We would help our mothers make costumes from that country, build and paint a booth to represent our country, make food from the country and then put on a performance to represent the country’s essence. The project took me outside of my small town and truly opened my eyes up to the world and made me more aware of my own surroundings. It also gave me the opportunity to try new things. Instead of simply reading about a country in order to learn about it, it became a 4D experience. With that kind of influence, who needs Xbox?