More than 50 million women have enjoyed a childhood that included Girl Scouting, from alumnae Hillary Clinton and Mariah Carey to Dakota Fanning, Condoleezza Rice and Katie Couric (pictured here in uniform). Juliette Gordon Low of Savannah, Ga., couldn't have imagined 100 years ago today, when she organized the first Girl Scout troop, that her legacy would span 145 countries. Here are recollections from a few prominent women who experienced first-hand the mission of building "girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place."
Katie Couric category: Girl Scouts' 100th Anniversary
Troop No. 2165; Arlington, Va.; fourth through sixth grades.
"Girl Scouts taught me some of the basic and essential principles and values that I still hold dear today, like being truthful, helpful and independent. But it taught me some hard lessons, as well.
"One Sunday the girls in my troop were instructed to bring something fun to prepare for a cookout. My mom and I went to the grocery store for supplies, and I was very excited about cooking a steak sandwich. That seemed almost exotic to my fifth-grade self," said Couric, a special correspondent for ABC News and former CBS "Evening News" anchor.
"My friend Janie McMullan didn't have anything to bring, so I told her, 'Don't worry! I have enough for two!' Like a good Scout, I shared my groceries and we both were able to whip up steak sandwiches. As my mouth watered, my chest puffed up with pride.
"But when it was time to vote for the person who brought the most creative dish, much to my chagrin … Janie McMullan won. My bubble burst like one of the balloons tied to the picnic table, but I kept my feelings to myself.
"The lesson I learned that day is a simple one: Sometimes life isn't fair. It can be tougher to swallow than a steak sandwich, but that's the way the hoagie roll crumbles."
Cathy Rigby category: Girl Scouts' 100th Anniversary
Born in Los Alamitos, Calif.
"The thing I received from Girl Scouts more than anything else was a sense of real teamwork and working for the community, helping others, and it was not competitive," the former Olympic gymnast and TV commentator said, according to the Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana website. "I remember working as a group to achieve a goal or to help the community. There was a great sense of accomplishment in that."
Hillary Clinton category: Girl Scouts' 100th Anniversary
Born in Chicago.
"As a Brownie and then a Girl Scout, I participated in Fourth of July Parades, food drives, cookie sales and every other activity that would earn a merit badge or adult approval," Secretary of State and former first lady Hillary Clinton wrote in her memoir, "Living History" (2003).
Lisa Ling category: Girl Scouts' 100th Anniversary
Born in Sacramento, Calif.
"The Girl Scouts is where I became acquainted with the idea that a woman can do anything," journalist Lisa Ling said, according to the Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana website. "Learning that early on has a tremendous impact on the development of a young girl's personality. It had a huge impact on me. Girl Scouts is where I first learned about philanthropy and fell in love with the concept of helping others, in my troop this was very important. We did a lot of community service like picking up trash and feeding the homeless. Loving humankind was something that echoed throughout my time at Girl Scouts."
Natalie Merchant category: Girl Scouts' 100th Anniversary
Born in Jamestown, N.Y.
"I think the most enduring lesson I was taught through my experiences of being a Girl Scout was that I was a member of a larger community," singer-songwriter Natalie Merchant said, according to the Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana website. "I out-grew my uniforms and badges years ago, but the memories of visiting nursing homes or organizing Earth Day tree plantings or my summers camping with girls from all different backgrounds will stay with me always."
Judy Woodruff category: Girl Scouts' 100th Anniversary
Born in Tulsa, Okla.
"Girl Scouts offered a wonderful group of girls where common concerns and interests could come together," journalist Judy Woodruff said, according to the Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana website. "We could learn, be challenged, and support one another. It was a very positive aspect of my life and played an important role in shaping who I am today."
- Girl Scouts
- Hillary Clinton
- Katie Couric