The Girl Scouts Their History and Practice
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"Be Prepared"

GIRL SCOUTS Incorporated NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS 189 Lexington Avenue New York City

Series No. 6


MOTTO "Be Prepared"

SLOGAN "Do A Good Turn Daily"


On My Honor, I Will Try: To do my duty to God and to my Country To help other people at all times To obey the Scout Laws


I A Girl Scout's Honor is to be trusted. II A Girl Scout is loyal. III A Girl Scout's Duty is to be useful and to help others. IV A Girl Scout is a friend to all, and a sister to every other Girl Scout. V A Girl Scout is Courteous. VI A Girl Scout is a friend to Animals. VII A Girl Scout obeys Orders. VIII A Girl Scout is Cheerful. IX A Girl Scout is Thrifty. X A Girl Scout is Clean in Thought, Word and Deed.


History of the American Girl Scouts. When Sir Robert Baden-Powell founded the Boy Scout movement in England, it proved too attractive and too well adapted to youth to make it possible to limit its great opportunities to boys alone. The Sister organization, known in England as the Girl Guides, quickly followed it and won equal success.

Mrs. Juliette Low, an American visitor in England, and a personal friend of the father of Scouting, realized the tremendous future of the movement for her country; and with the active and friendly co-operation of the Baden-Powells, she founded the Girl Guides in America, enrolling the first patrols in Savannah, Georgia, in March, 1912.

In 1913 National Headquarters were established in Washington, D.C., and the name changed to Girl Scouts.

In 1915 the organization was incorporated with the legal title, Girl Scouts, Incorporated.

In 1916 National Headquarters were moved to New York and the methods and standards of what was plainly to be a nation-wide organization became established on a broad, practical basis.

The first National Convention was held in 1915, and each succeeding year has shown a larger and more enthusiastic body of delegates and a public more and more interested in this steadily growing army of girls and young women who are learning in the happiest way to combine patriotism, outdoor activities of every kind, skill in every branch of domestic science and high standards of community service.

Every side of the girl's nature is brought out and developed by enthusiastic captains, who join in the games and various forms of training and encourage team work and fair play. For the instruction of the captains, national camps and training schools are being established all over the country; and the schools and churches everywhere are co-operating eagerly with this great recreational movement, which they realize adds something to the life of the growing girl that they have been unable to supply.

Colleges are offering fellowships in scouting as a serious course for would-be captains, and prominent citizens in every part of the country are identifying themselves with local councils in an advisory and helpful capacity. At the present writing, nearly 60,000 girls and more than 3,000 captains represent the original little troop in Savannah—surely a satisfying sight for our Founder and National President, when she realizes what a healthy sprig she has transplanted from the Mother Country!

Aims. While the aims of Scouting are similar to those of the schools, the church and the home, its methods are less direct and success depends upon the attraction which the program has for the girls. Belonging to an organization, the uniform, such novel activities as knot-tying, hiking, signalling and drilling, the chance for leadership, the laws to which they voluntarily subscribe and the recognition of ability by the system of giving badges are the distinctive elements of Scouting. They succeed in bringing about improved health, approved standards of behavior towards others, a general arousing of the imagination as well as practical knowledge.

The ideal background for the entire program is cheerful companionship in the open.

Standards. The standards of the Girl Scouts are expressed in their Laws and Promise, their Motto and Slogan which are as follows:


I A Girl Scout's Honor is to be trusted. II A Girl Scout is loyal. III A Girl Scout's Duty is to be useful and to help others. IV A Girl Scout is a friend to all, and a sister to every other Scout. V A Girl Scout is Courteous. VI A Girl Scout is a friend to Animals. VII A Girl Scout obeys Orders. VIII A Girl Scout is Cheerful. IX A Girl Scout is Thrifty. X A Girl Scout is Clean in Thought, Word and Deed.


On my Honor, I Will try: To do my duty to God and to my Country To help other people at all times To obey the Scout Laws.


"Be Prepared"


"Do a Good Turn Daily"

The best results are obtained by emphasizing the fact that these ways are the girl's own idea of the way to live, her choice. Success in expressing one's own ideas never fails to give satisfaction. Clever parents and teachers make use of this. "A Scout is cheerful" is a more effective method of influencing a girl, for instance, than any amount of advice on the subject.

It seems to be more and more difficult to induce girls to learn or practice housework. For the average woman this is still necessary, and the more advanced schools have taken it up. For the girl whom neither the home nor the school has been able to reach, Scouting offers a most successful and attractive means of getting the practical information to the young generation. They will do for "merit badges," in other words, what they will not do for their mothers or teachers.

An effective manner of upholding and exercising these standards, is, as has been abundantly proved by the great war, the uniform. Earning and proving worthy of it stimulates child, girl and woman alike. Uniform and ceremony, not overemphasized, but duly insisted upon, have a profound significance to the human race, and teach us to sink the individual interests and raise the standards of the group.

Leadership and The Patrol System. In general a troop should not contain more than thirty or forty girls. Many very experienced captains have larger troops when they have several lieutenants to assist them. The troops are divided into groups, or patrols of eight and treated as units, each under its own responsible leader. An invaluable step in character building is to put responsibility on the individual. This is done in electing a Patrol Leader to be responsible for the control of her Patrol. Leaders should serve a limited time and every girl in a patrol should have the experience of serving some time during her membership. It is up to her to take hold and develop the qualities of each girl in her Patrol. It sounds a big order, but in practice it works. With a friendly rivalry established between patrols a patrol esprit de corps is developed and each girl in that patrol realizes that she is herself a responsible unit and that the honor of her group depends on her efficiency in playing the game. The patrol system is an essential feature in Scouting. When this is lost sight of and the attitude of a teacher is adopted, making the troop a class, the vital spirit or meaning of Scouting is missed entirely. Although a powerful personality always can succeed with young people, in individual instances, it would be impossible to get enough of these people to make any impression upon the thousands of girls in the organization. Moreover, the average child is already overloaded with things to learn. What nobody teaches her is how to control herself, and thus learn to control others and take her share of responsibility. The whole Scouting technique is adapted to exactly this idea and the patrol leader is the key note of it.

The troop whose captain is (apparently) not managing it, but whose girls manage themselves under the Scout laws, is the ideal troop.

The Court of Honor. The Patrol Leaders and their "seconds" form the "Court of Honor," which manages the internal affairs of the troop. Its institution is the best guarantee for permanent vitality and success for the troop. It takes a great deal of minor routine work off the shoulders of the Scout captain, and at the same time gives to the girls a real responsibility and a serious outlook on the affairs of their troop. It was mainly due to the Patrol Leaders and to the Courts of Honor that the British Boy Scouts were able to carry on useful work during the war. The Court of Honor decides rewards and punishments, and interprets rules in individual instances.

Methods. Not only should the activities be those which they are not getting through other channels, but they should be presented in ways which attract the girls. It should never be forgotten that Scouting is chosen by the girls because it interests them. Use as bait the food the fish likes. If you bait your hook with the kind of food that you yourself like, unless you happen to have a natural affinity for young people, it is probable that you will not catch many. If the Scouting program fails to interest girls, they will find something that does.

The program should be varied, and never iron-clad, but adapted to fill the needs of the special girl. Examples: Few city girls have much chance to be in the country. An effort should be made to get them out on hikes, and week-end camping trips. Some homes and schools do not teach the girls such practical things as cooking, bedmaking, while some groups of girls have no conception of obligation to other people or any sense of citizenship. In each case, the wise captain attempts to discover the novel activity, which besides being helpful, will attract the girls. The wise captain does not expect girls to pay great attention to any one subject for very long, and does not teach or lecture. They get enough of that in school. The captain is rather a sort of older playfellow who lets the girl choose activities which interest her and she will learn for herself.

Most of the activities will be of the nature of play. Play is always a means to mental and physical development. The best play leads towards adult forms of leadership, co-operation, entertaining, artistic execution and community service.

Any captain who finds herself judging her troop's efficiency by the old fashioned system of examination marks based on a hundred per cent scale, shows herself out of touch not only with the Scouting spirit, but with the whole trend of modern education today. When the tendency of great universities is distinctly toward substituting psychological tests for examinations, when the United States Army picks its officers by such tests, it would be absurd for a young people's recreational movement to wear its members out by piling such work on captain and scout!

Examinations and tests should lay weight on what can be done within time limits and in first class form; also on the effort expended by the girls, and not on what can be written or recited. Young people love such tests—which relate closely to games—and they are of great practical value in daily life. They are the tests we meet every day. They interest the community to watch and experts are always ready and interested to judge them. But nobody is interested in examination papers, and school children and especially captains should not be taxed with more than the absolute necessity of proving a candidate's fair grasp of the subject.

In this connection great latitude should be allowed for the captain's knowledge of her girls and their real ability and attitude. The girls are also good judges of each other. Remember that the girl with the best examination paper is not necessarily the best Scout.

The Council. The Patrol System, under the captain, is the vital inside of Scouting: in order to tie the organization closely to the community, the council must be well selected, strong and active. An ideal council should represent the best homes in the community, the church and the school. Some leading woman, whose acquaintance is wide, should most certainly be on it, in order to help the captain out with a list of people qualified to judge the merit badges, for instance. Interested women who will help in camps, hikes, sales, moving picture benefits, rallies are most necessary, and the captain should feel no hesitation in asking advice or help from her council. At least one member whose daughter is in the local troop should be a practical link between the home and the troop, but all members should make a point of understanding the principles and distinctive methods of Scouting and see that they are carried out in their locality.

"Be Prepared"

Officers, National Headquarters Girl Scouts, Inc.

Honorary President MRS. WOODROW WILSON


First Vice-President MRS. ARTHUR O. CHOATE

Second Vice-President MRS. HERBERT HOOVER


Chairman, Executive Board MRS. V. EVERIT MACY




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