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Girl Scouts: Are you prepared? (1919)

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Girl Scout week is here — are you prepared?

Do you believe one dollar’s worth in teaching our girls to be self-reliant women who use their strength in skillful service?

A “good scout” is a good homemaker and citizen, strong and poised of body! Clear and clean of mind — she “knows how”

Girl scouting in America is about seven years old. The first five years, it had a following of about 12,000. Last year the membership jumped to 35,000, and this year it had reached 63,000 by the beginning of the summer, and has been jumping ever since at the rate of 5,000 a month.

All of this shows that a really big idea will grow like a snowball when enough people get behind it to give it the proper impetus. The big idea in scouting is in girls learning how to govern themselves and how to organize and work for the common good. The laws and vows of the scouts have a direct bearing on every department of life.

Josephine Daskam Bacon on scouting

The nationwide campaign drive which the Girl Scouts began yesterday is a drive to awaken the public consciousness to just what the Girl Scout organization is — what it going to mean to have broadly trained girls and women for our future mothers, for a voice in civics and in every department of our national life.

The Manhattan quota is $100,000 and 100,000 associate members. And out of this new associate membership, it is hoped to draw enough material to provide leaders for the girls who are anxiously waiting to come into the organization. Also headquarters must be enlarged to provide for the new members; and camps must be provided for their training. In fact, the organization must expand in fair proportion to the increasing membership.

The psychological age for a girl to become a scout is somewhere between twelve and fourteen. So thinks Mrs Josephine Daskam Bacon, who is a scout herself, has a scout daughter and has been captain of a scout troop for three years.

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“I am not exactly setting an age limit,” she explained, “but I do think a girl is so unslushy, so unsentimental at that stage of her growth that she is exactly ripe for scouting experience. And should she get it in time — just in the dangerous period between boy playmates and boy heroes — she will grab it and make it a safe and healthful vehicle for all of her animal spirits and activities.”

More than just “camping out”

“So many folk have looked upon scouting as just a mere healthful diversion, a sort of clearinghouse for youthful spirits and restive legs, without realizing what the organization as a body stands for.

“To begin with, it is a profession — and one of the coming professions of the day. Big universities like Johns Hopkins, Columbia and Boston include scouting in the list of vocations and offer summer school preparation.” And the first national training school for Girl Scout leaders is in its fourth year.

The Girl Scouts had a chance to prove themselves during the war. They practiced self-government and cooperation and teamwork in a marvelous way. During the influenza epidemic, the Girl Scouts went into the influenza hospitals, unheralded and unsung, and scrubbed floors, washed dishes, made beds, ran errands and operated telephones.

Mothers appreciate such teamwork

Mothers who have missed something out of their lives are finding that their girls are getting out of girl scouting what they had missed.

The women of small means and many cares sees that her Girl Scout daughter has learned many things about nursing and first aid, about cooking and sewing, child care, backyard gardens and such that she never had time to teach her, let alone to practice herself with any degree of comfort or joy. But the scout daughter is getting joy out of it. Because there are thousands of other girls learning to do the same things — and it’s fun doing tiresome, everyday things in this new way of teamwork.

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Even the wealthy mothers of ‘poor little rich Girl’ Scouts are witnessing a growing spirit of independence, thoughtfulness and unselfishness in their offspring.

Salvaged scouts

This is the story of a “rough” troop of Girl Scouts — not a “tough” troop, mind you, but decidedly a “rough” troop. They were organized on the East Side, through a settlement house. Some of the girls were nice girls, but some of the others were not. They were none of them really bad; that is, they hadn’t become bad yet, but they were on the way…

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