As sun sets on Veterans Day 2018, I reflected on the Girl Scouts strong legacy of service which parallels the military's commitment to things greater than self. America warmly embraces its veterans, I believe, for two reasons. First, America has a strong culture of service that harkens to our common traditions where we as nation eschewed nobility. We grew to believe that to get ahead you had to help your neighbors and a tradition of service started that grew in the 18th and 19th century and blossomed in the 20th century. Our strong American tradition of nonprofits exponentially expanded in this time period too. A second reason America celebrates it veterans so loudly is their appreciation of liberty and what the veteran does to preserve it.
Girl Scouts is an iconic organization because our 106 year legacy of excellence meshes perfectly with the American experience. Juliette Gordon Low was committed to service and so were the first Girl Scouts. World War I started shortly after our founding and Girl Scouts were committee to helping in towns facing the challenges of sending soldiers to war. This was even more pronounced in World War II where every township needed help and Girl Scouts were there to support families and help with needed good deeds. The original badges were established in large part to serve as training tools to prepare girls to helping others in some form or fashion. Every year thereafter, Girl Scouts commitment to their communities grew and we flourished to become the organization we are today.
That Girl Scout commitment to others is deep. Recently, I attended a service unit in Spokane that built "boxes of support" for foster children needing much support. Over 60 outstanding girls attended and typically built one or two boxes which contained hygiene items, games and other items. What was truly inspiring was all these items were donated by the troops themselves through their hard works and each box was sealed with a kind letter from a Girl to brighten the day of a foster child going through hard times. The inspiring project was in support of the wonderful Washington nonprofit Embrace Washington. The picture in this blog shows the august and caring group gathering for one purpose, to fulfill our noble mission Juliette established long ago--to make our world a better place.
I am so heartened that our legacy of helping others is fulfilled in our most important journeys, the Precious Metals journeys. Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards are earned by projects of distinguished service. I am struck that this year the requirements for Gold Awards were opened up to allow Girl Scouts to help other Girl Scouts. That is a welcome change, but it reminds me of how steeped in service we are as an organization that we wanted to ensure that past Gold Award Girl Scouts helped others first outside Girl Scouts. Service from Juliette forward is in our DNA.
What a Council of service we have. Dr Martin Luther King proclaimed "Every one is great because every one can serve." Girl Scouts is indeed great because service is our middle name!
-Brian Newberry, GSEWNI CEO