And a very happy birthday

Girl Scouts have spent the past 100 years enriching America

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It is so much more than those delicious cookies.

On this day in 1912, Juliette Gordon Low assembled the very first troop of Girl Scouts. Today Girl Scouts number more than 2.3 million – and in that 100-year span it has elevated generations of young women and, really, this entire country.

With so many ideas and trends today competing for our children’s attention, it can be hard for parents to keep their kids focused on a positive path toward becoming upstanding citizens.

We can’t promise you that enrolling your daughter in Girl Scouts is a magic ticket to her becoming a better young person. But we can tell you that a girl who truly commits herself to the Girl Scouts’ tenets of respect, self-reliance and hard work will feel the benefits and pass them along to her community.

Girl Scouts of the USA isn’t content merely with pointing out role models for its young members to look up to. This organizations builds role models from scratch.

From their ranks, a girl can rise to become a powerful player in national and international politics, like Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Or the queen of a domestic empire, like Martha Stewart.

Or one of the fastest athletes on four wheels, like auto racer Danica Patrick.

Or one of the brightest voices in music, like singer Taylor Swift.

Or, for that matter, a legendary opera singer like Augusta’s own Jessye Norman.

All outstanding in their fields. And all Girl Scouts.

Out of all the women who have ever served in Congress, two-thirds of them have been Girl Scouts. More than 20 U.S. astronauts – including the first woman to command a space shuttle mission and the first American woman to walk in space – were Scouts.

Ambassadors, judges, CEOs – the size of this page simply doesn’t permit listing the full scope of the success stories. Countless women in America have built remarkable lives from a firm foundation that was constructed in Girl Scouts.

From its inception, the Girl Scouts have been bravely and relentlessly inclusive. The first troop in 1912 united Protestant, Catholic and Jewish girls. Just a year later, the first African-American Girl Scout troop was founded. And in the 1920s Low, herself mostly deaf, paved the way to assure that Girl Scouts could attain the organization’s highest status even if they weren’t able to perform the physical requirements.

The organization’s history is beautifully intertwined with America’s history. Girl Scouts have sold war bonds and helped in hospitals during wartime, fed and clothed the poor during the Great Depression and advocated civil rights. For decades the group has been a tireless advocate for girls and the issues that affect them.

Augusta’s first Girl Scout troop was founded April 9, 1917. By the end of that summer, according to The Augusta Chronicle’s archives, 15-year-old Beryl Hilton became the first Augusta girl to complete all the requirements to become a full-fledged Scout.

Every Girl Scout you see in the CSRA is Beryl’s spiritual descendant. If you see one today, or any day, thank her and encourage her. They comprise one of this country’s most valuable resources.

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