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"On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight." (Scout Oath)

“Girls must be partners and comrades, rather than dolls.” (Attributed to Agnes Baden-Powell)

Given the prominence of scouting culture in the United States, many assume that the movement is rooted in North America. On the contrary, the movement was initiated in and spread forth from the United Kingdom, more specifically in England. It was the brainchild of the 1st Baron Baden-Powell, a beloved and decorated war veteran armed with not only Martini-Henry rifles and Lee-Enfield carbines but a vision that would one day be espoused by every nation on earth except Andorra, China, Cuba, North Korea, and Laos.

Baden-Powell had honed his tracking and scouting skills in war, and in the course he published books about those skills that he anticipated would have a limited audience. Instead, he was astounded by the popularity of Aids to Scouting, which had sailed to the top of the best sellers list in his absence. Parents, teachers, and youth groups alike who purchased the book for their children and students responded with rave reviews. Invigorated by the UK’s seemingly blossoming interest in the outdoors, Baden-Powell traveled to Glasgow, where he attended the Annual Drill Inspection and Review of the Boys' Brigade. Before long, he had put together a scouting organization, and its influence would spread across the globe in a few short years.

Inevitably, Lord Baden-Powell’s sister, Agnes Baden-Powell, took note of her brother’s activities and fledgling organizations, and she would help create similar opportunities for girls. Thus, it was somewhat inevitable that Girl Scouts are, more often than not, perceived as the more harmless companion of the Boy Scouts, forming an industrious and upstanding force of young men and women. With their colorful collection of patches, matching hats and uniforms, and Colgate smiles, they are often written off as naive do-gooders doing their best to spread cheer to those in their communities. However, contrary to popular belief, the Girl Scouts are far more than just adorable cookie peddlers and volunteer crossing guards for senior citizens. In fact, 73 percent of the women in the US Senate and 51 percent of the women serving in the House of Representatives are former Girl Scouts. The same applies to a majority of the women governors across the country.

Dan Gallagher
hr min
December 31
Charles River Editors