In 1939, all that Connie Darrah wanted for Christmas was a Girl Scout uniform. Her wish came true, and for more than a decade she learned valuable skills, went to camp, learned leadership skills, and made life-long friends.
Darrah was a sixth grader in Brewer when she received that first uniform, but she had been a Brownie scout prior to that. Darrah and her two sisters benefited from the skills and friendships acquired through Girl Scouting, she said.
“I loved all of it,” said Darrah, who now lives in Bangor. “I’m a people person. Scouting taught me so many things. I learned that if you follow the promises you make in the organization, they’ll help you throughout your life.”
During her 11 years in Girl Scouting, she learned skills that benefited her as a home economics teacher, and the organization instilled in her a love for learning. At age 83, she can still recite the original Girl Scout Promise and has her original uniform with badges sewn onto the sleeves.
In 2012, Girl Scouts of the USA celebrates a centennial anniversary. On March 12, 1912, Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low brought together 18 girls from Savannah, Ga., for the first Girl Scout meeting. Her intention was to provide all girls with the opportunity to grow physically, mentally, and spiritually in a supportive environment.
But it wasn’t all cookies and crafts. Low believed that girls needed to be provided with the support they need to become leaders, environmentalists, and independent women. Her dream was for a girl-centered organization.
Today, that dream has been realized through Girl Scouts of the USA. The organization has a membership of 3.2 million girls and adults. More than 50 million women in America are Girl Scout alumnae, including Sen. Susan Collins, Martha Stewart, Taylor Swift, Supreme Court Judge Sandra Day O’Connor, and Barbara Walters.
As part of that anniversary, the organization has named 2012 the Year of the Girl and has developed a special advocacy and fundraising campaign called ToGetHerThere.
According to France Shea, communications manager for Girl Scouts of Maine, Girl Scouts has always been about leadership.
“In honor of our centennial, Girl Scouts of the USA has declared 2012 the Year of the Girl and has pledged to every girl in this generation that wherever she lives, whatever challenges face her, however great the journey to what she can become, Girl Scouts will help her reach her fullest potential,” Shea said.
“As one of 211 councils nationwide, Girl Scouts of Maine remains rooted in the core values of the past and dedicated to providing a safe, supportive environment where each girl can sharpen her abilities and explore her interests,” Shea said. “We are about to celebrate a century of trailblazing, of leadership, of fun and friendship – and we’re just getting started. Just imagine what this generation of girls will do with the confidence, skills, and experience they need to make the world a better place!”
For more information about Girl Scouts of Maine, visit http://www.girlscoutsofmaine.org/ or call (888) 922-4763. To learn more about the ToGetHerThere Campaign, visit www.togetherthere.org.