The Daisy That Changed Our World – Happy Birthday
Girl Scouts have two reasons to celebrate today. Aside from being Halloween, a day for us to share a bit of fun and camaraderie, October 31st is also Girl Scouts Founder’s Day. On this day in 1860, Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low was born in Savannah, Georgia.
As those of us in Girl Scouting know, family and friends fondly called our founder Daisy. After learning about Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, Daisy committed herself to starting a new youth movement in America for girls. She wanted girls from all backgrounds to have the opportunity to learn about nature and develop courage, confidence and character. She encouraged girls to plan for careers in the arts, sciences and business. Being deaf herself, Low made special efforts to encourage girls with disabilities to participate in activities.
Daisy had a dream—a big dream—and was determined to do whatever it took to make it come true. In 1914, she sold an extremely valuable heirloom necklace of rare matched pearls to finance Girl Scout operations and expand the movement across the United States. Valued in 1914 at about $8000, based on inflation those pearls would be worth more than $180,000 today.
There’s been much speculation and research over Girl Scouting’s past century about what eventually became of those valuable pearls. In Juliette Gordon Low: The Remarkable Founder of the Girl Scouts—a terrific book by the way— Stacy A. Cordery writes that the necklace was bought by Girl Scout supporter Ted Coy for his wife, Edith. The Coys later divorced, and the history of the pearls becomes lost.
No one knows what happened to those prized pearls, but clearly the value of the legacy Daisy left for all of us is infinitely more valuable than anything she could have ever imagined. At a time when women didn’t even have the right to vote, Juliette Gordon Low made a stand that said: Girls and women matter. Just look at what her example teaches us. Through sheer determination, boundless optimism, clear vision and irrepressible resiliency she changed our world for the better. She showed us what it takes to stay the course—even when times get tough—and get things done.
So on Daisy’s birthday we would do well to remember the astonishing gift she gave not just girls and women, but our entire society. Happy birthday, Daisy … and thanks!