13 Fascinating Facts You Never Knew About the Girl Scouts
This Girl Scout trivia is sure to surprise even the biggest cookie connoisseurs.
For more than 100 years, the Girl Scouts have been a fixture of American culture, providing generations of young women with the social, entrepreneurial, and tactical skills they need to succeed—and amassing 10 million global members in the process. However, there's a lot more to this beloved organization than cookie sales and camping trips.
From famous members of the Scouts to the organization's long history of social activism, we've rounded up 13 amazing facts you never knew about the Girl Scouts.
The Girl Scouts have championed diversity for over a century.
As early as the Great Depression, the Girl Scouts have been printing their literature in other languages—specifically Italian, Polish, and Yiddish, initially—in the spirit of inclusiveness, according to the Girl Scout History Timeline. The Girl Scouts also welcomed girls from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds to join their ranks from the very beginning, with the organization admitting African American members as early as 1913 and one of the first Latina troops forming in 1922. The Girl Scouts' first African American board president, Dr. Gloria D. Scott, was appointed in 1975.
The Scouts' message of inclusivity was inspired by their founder's hearing loss.
Juliette Gordon "Daisy" Low, who founded the Girl Scouts in Savannah, Georgia in 1912, went deaf in one ear following an ear infection, later experiencing hearing loss in her other ear as well. "This is one of the main reasons that Girl Scouts as an organization is inclusive and welcoming to all girls and ensures accommodations for kids with special needs," explains Girl Scout leader Nicole Black, founder of Coffee and Carpool: Raising Kind Kids.
Cookie sales have been part of the organization's history for over 100 years.
You and your great-great-grandmother could have easily had the same taste in Girl Scout cookies. That's because the very first Girl Scout cookie sale was held back in 1917 in Muskogee, Oklahoma, according to the Girl Scout Cookie History.
However, at the time, the organization didn't have the production facilities to produce box after box like it does today—instead, the Scouts made the baked goods themselves. It wasn't until 1935 that Girl Scout cookies were commercially produced.
The Girl Scout cookie program is the largest girl-run business in the world.
Yup, you read that right. The Girl Scouts sell nearly 200 million boxes of cookies each cookie season, making it the largest girl-run business on the planet.
However, it's more than just the joy of delivering Thin Mints that the Scouts get from cookie sales: "Girls learn business skills [like] setting goals, sales strategy, budgeting, planning, and money management," says Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania board member Anne Baum, author of Small Mistakes, Big Consequences: Develop Your Soft Skills to Help You Succeed.
The proceeds from cookie sales enable many members to realize their academic dreams.
The proceeds from Girl Scout Cookie sales aren't just funneled back into the organization's administrative costs.
According to Baum, the funds are used "for anything from adventure trips to prom dresses and college visits."
More money is generated from the sale of Girl Scout cookies than Oreos.
According to the World Economic Forum, $675 million worth of Oreos were sold in the United States in 2017. The Girl Scouts' sales dwarf that figure, however, with troops across the country selling an average of $800 million worth of their confections to cookie connoisseurs every cookie season.
The same cookie can have different names, depending on who you buy it from.
The difference between getting a box of Peanut Butter Patties or Tagalongs isn't a regional distinction—and it certainly doesn't mean you'll get an inferior product under one name or another.
According to GirlScouts.org, Girl Scout councils have a choice between two licensed bakers—ABC Bakers or Little Brownie Bakers—thus resulting in the differences in the cookies' names (as well as some slight variations on each recipe). The only two treats that are always called the same thing by both bakeries? Thin Mints and Girl Scout S'Mores.
The Girl Scouts offer medals for saving someone's life.
Think you've got what it takes to become a Girl Scout? Let's hope you're plenty brave. The Girl Scouts have not one, but two medals for heroic behavior.
"There's the National Medal of Honor, awarded to a Scout who saves someone's life while their own is not at risk … The other is the Bronze Cross, awarded to a Scout who saves a life at risk to their own," explains former Girl Scout, Scout leader, and author Kimberly Davis Basso, whose own daughter earned the former for saving Basso's life when she had a stroke.
The Girl Scouts announced 23 STEM-specific badges in 2017.
The Girl Scouts' biggest merit badge rollout in nearly a decade occurred in 2017, when the organization debuted 23 new STEM badges. The badges include everything from outdoor data collection to designing robots!
Girls Scouts have been instrumental in helping civilians during wartime.
Girl Scouts have long been a major part of wartime relief efforts, per the Girl Scout History Timeline. During World War II, members of the Girl Scouts collected goods, grew fruits and vegetables, ran bicycle courier services, and provided survival skill training to women. Just five years later, the Girl Scouts were providing wartime aid once again, creating packages of essentials for Korean families affected by the Korean War.
Some of the world's most famous media figures were Girl Scouts.
Want to join a club that includes Taylor Swift, Mariah Carey, Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Katie Couric, Robin Roberts, Dakota Fanning, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Venus and Serena Williams?
That's right—all of those impressive women were members of the Girl Scouts, according to "Girl Scouts: Fun Facts and Figures."
The majority of female senators were Girl Scouts.
What do most female senators have in common? They were Girl Scouts! In fact, a whopping 69 percent of the female senators in the United States—including Tammy Duckworth—were members of the Girl Scouts, per "Girl Scouts: Fun Facts and Figures."
The Girl Scouts are well represented in the House, as well: 57 percent of the House of Representatives' female members count themselves among the Girl Scouts' ranks.
The Girl Scouts' founder was buried in her uniform.
When Low passed away in 1927 at the age of 66, she was buried in her Girl Scout uniform. According to her 1988 biography, Lady from Savannah: The Life of Juliette Low, she was buried with a telegram in the pocket of her uniform that read, "You are not only the first Girl Scout, you are the best Girl Scout of them all."