12 Fascinating Facts About Girl Scouts You Never Knew


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Girl Scouts of the USA was founded in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low. The first troop was formed in Savannah, Georgia, and consisted of just 18 girls, but it kept gaining steam. The organization was chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1950, and as of 2020, it boasts 2.5 million members.  


The organization is best known today for its impossibly delicious cookies, but there’s more to it than that – a lot more. Read ahead to see our list of 12 fascinating facts about the Girl Scouts, and we’ll bet you a box of Thin Mints that many of these will be news to you.

Image Credit: SeventyFour/ istock.

1. I’m Proud to Be a Cookie from Muskogee

Let’s get this out of the way right now. In 1917, just five years after the Girl Scouts’ founding, the first-ever sale of Girl Scout cookies took place in Muskogee, Oklahoma, a town made famous over 50 years later by the Merle Haggard song “Okie from Muskogee.” We are sad to report that this factoid does not appear in the song’s lyrics.

Image Credit: PICRYL.

2. Girl Power

If you’re a little girl trying to figure out a path to entrepreneurship, forget about running a lemonade stand. According to the organization’s literature, 700,000 “cookie entrepreneurs” participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program annually, making it “the largest girl-run entrepreneurship program in the world.” The literature also says that selling these cookies teaches Scouts “goal setting, decision-making, money management, people skills, and business ethics.”

Image Credit: PICRYL.

3. Mark Your Calendar for March 12

In 1980, then-President Jimmy Carter declared March 12 Girl Scout Day. That date was chosen as it was the day Juliette Gordon Low officially registered the organization’s first members. The former president’s spouse, former First Lady Roslyn Carter, was a Girl Scout, a distinction she shares with numerous First Ladies, including Laura Bush and Michelle Obama.

Image Credit: Michelle Obama with a girl scout by NASA HQ PHOTO (CC BY-NC-ND).

4. Addressing the Gender Gap in STEM

Recognizing the gender gap in science and technology, the Girl Scouts introduced numerous Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) activities and badges. “In today’s world, STEM skills are critical,” their website says. “From coding to protecting our planet, today’s young leaders can use STEM skills to make the world a better place for animals and humans alike.” Between 2017 and 2021, the Scouts launched over 100 STEM programs.

Image Credit: Girl Scouts Exploring at NASA by NASA HQ PHOTO (CC BY-NC-ND).

5. Secretaries of Scout

Since the organization’s founding over 100 years ago, many former Girl Scouts have gone on to hold the position of Secretary of State in the U.S. government. These include Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, and Condoleezza Rice. Other notable Scouts in the U.S. government have included former Attorney General Janet Reno and former Secretary of Health and Human Service Donna Shalala.

Image Credit: ifeelstock.

6. The Girl Scouts Helped Out During World War II

Girl Scouts may not have stormed the beaches of Normandy, but according to the National WWII Museum, the organization was deeply involved in efforts to pitch in during World War II. Girl Scouts sold war bonds, collected scrap metal, and grew produce on farms known as “victory gardens.” They also put in thousands of hours of community service by holding food drives, working in soup kitchens, and volunteering for the Red Cross.

Image Credit: PICRYL.

7. Scouts in Space

For reasons that modern science has yet to unlock, many Girl Scouts went on to be trailblazers in space exploration by becoming astronauts. Indeed, most female astronauts with prominent names were Girl Scouts, with Dr. Sally Ride being the most well-known. She became the first American woman to go into space in 1983, and when she did it, she was only 32 years old, making her the youngest-ever U.S. astronaut at the time.

Image Credit: Sally Ride by GPA Photo Archive (None).

8. They Were Eco-Friendly Before it Was Cool

For as long as they’ve existed, the Girl Scouts have been environmental advocates and have the nature conservancy badges to prove it. The Environmental Stewardship badges that Scouts can earn start with “Eco Learner” at the beginning Daisy level, and from there the levels go higher, from Eco Friend to Eco Camper, Eco Trekker to Eco Explorer, and finally the Eco Advocate badge, which Scouts can earn at the Ambassador level.

Image Credit: flySnow/ istock.

9. Scouts of Stage and Screen

Since Girl Scouts have made their mark in almost every industry imaginable, it’s unsurprising that some went into show business. Scouts who became entertainers include Lucille Ball, Shirley Temple Black, and the great Lynda Carter, the only Wonder Woman we’ll ever acknowledge. More recently minted Scouts have included actor Abigail Breslin and the quite controversial Tay Tay herself, Taylor Swift.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos.

10. “A Force for Desegregation”

In 1956, no less an authority than Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. declared the Girl Scouts to be “a force for desegregation” when he learned that a racially integrated troop had formed in Kentucky. While the group had declared itself an equal opportunity organization open to every girl when it started in 1912, in reality, it took several decades and the relentless work of Black families and leaders to achieve parity with white troops. It also helped to have the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education and Bolling v. Sharpe Supreme Court verdicts, which declared desegregation the law of the land.

Image Credit: SeventyFour/ istock.

11. The Great Outdoors

From its earliest days, the Girl Scouts organization has always emphasized the importance of outdoor activities. The organization offers badges for such back-to-nature pursuits as camping, hiking, and horseback riding. They also created the Girl Scout Tree Promise, a reforestation effort to “make the world a better place as we plant, protect, and honor trees.”

Image Credit: Girl Scout holds a tree by USAG- Humphreys (CC BY).

12. They Have Their Own Research Institute

Everyone knows that the Girl Scouts are a force for good in the world, but few people without a daughter in the organization can give insight into that beyond the anecdotal. In the spirit of being prepared, the Girl Scouts have a research institute whose role is to study issues affecting girls and young women and offer data-driven reports that prove in plain numbers what kind of impact the organization is having. Their impact study is an interesting document that shows the group’s positive influence extending much further than many people may know.

Image Credit: PICRYL.

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