Our community, nation and world are currently on their heels as we fight an invisible health threat, the coronavirus. For Girl Scouts Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho, we are threatened in a manner like never before since our founding in 1933. Hitting our two states territories right as cookie season shifted into high gear, we are hobbled like never before in doing what Girl Scout excel at--entrepreneurship. We are the #1 Girl-led business in the world and our Girl Scouts are CEOs of their lives in leading cookies sales.
Since our Council's founding at the depths of the Great Depression in 1930s, we have never been slowed like we currently are with the suspending of booth sales. Even during the challenges of Council merger in 2007, cookie sales moved forward contributing to revenue income. Knowing this is our birthday month, I reflected on our founder Juliette Gordon Low and her determination through her whole life to overcome challenges. Even as a youngster, Juliette was very accident-prone but she mustered through becoming a master of the outdoors as she grew older. How would she respond to keep her movement blossoming if she was here to give us support?
First, she would keep the long game in mind. Juliette always knew her dream would flourish. On the eve of forming her first troop, Juliette exclaimed: "I've got something for the girls of Savannah , and all America, and all the world, and we're going to start it tonight." She had a deep faith in her noble mission and even as World War I and other world events got in the way, Juliette knew her vision would succeed. She knew stop believing to coin a modern term.
Second, Juliette had unique ways to approach life. When left alone by her husband, she traveled around Europe solo and learned how to do metalwork and other rare hobbies. Facing a terminal cancer disease, she traveled to Europe for experimental treatment taking a lead-based treatment. She always through caution into the wind. She made outdoors special for girls when girls traditionally shied away from the outdoors. She had the ability to see the world in a way that opened horizons. Her lens were lens of opportunity in a time when women and girls were denied opportunity routinely.
Finally, besides being knocked down metaphorically many times in her difficult life, Juliette always got up. She never gave up. Indeed, in her last months of her life, she disobeyed her doctor's advice and traveled to Philadelphia to deliver a final speech on her beloved movement. She sold her pearls to keep the movement viable. ‘Quit’ was not in her vocabulary.
Today, as we keep hope alive that our community and nation will heal together, I take inspiration from our founder in our Girl Scout month to follow her lead. ‘This too shall pass’ will be our focus as we look at the long game. Even as we support more digital means of selling cookies in our social distancing environment, we will look for new and creative ways to address the challenges. And we won't quit. We won't quit. 3,500 Girl Scouts are counting on us to keep our 108th year movement alive.
What drove Juliette most was her love of her fellow Girl Scouts. Written on her tombstone: "Now abideth faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love." Juliette loved seeing Girls of courage, confidence and character blossom in her springtime of life. As spring arrives to Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho, may our long view, innovation and perseverance be the answer to keep us the Council of Distinction we are. What would Juliette do if she was here today? She would believe in us, and she would be right to. Because like our 2020 cookie motto says, we will always dare to soar!
--Brian Newberry, GSEWNI CEO