When I think of the Girl Scouts, what immediately comes to mind are cookies. Thin mints, shortbread, and samosas abound. Baked goods, however, are only one of the many fundraising campaigns the scouts will take on this year. Girl Scout Law, recited at every formal meeting, reminds girls to “make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout.” This year, Missouri Girl Scouts of all ages will actualize this pledge by skipping the cafeteria lines and packing simple meals of noodles, beans, and carrots as they taste extreme poverty for themselves as participants of Live Below the Line 2012.
The Girl Scouts were originally started by Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low with at troop of 18 in Savannah, Georgia, on March 12, 1912. Today, Girl Scouts of the USA has a membership of over 3.2 million girls and adults, with 50 million women Girl Scout alumnae. Prominent Girl Scout members have included Diane Reynolds and Supreme Court Judge Sandra Day O’Connor. Their original mission was to bring girls out of isolated home environments and into community service and the open air. Girl Scouts hiked, played basketball, went on camping trips, learned how to tell time by the stars, and studied first aid.
Looking back on this rich history, the Global Poverty Project couldn’t be more excited to have them as part of the campaign. A portion of the funds raised will contribute to programs that empower women in the developing world though entrepreneurship. This seems appropriate, as the Girl Scouts have consistently encouraged women and girls to become activists, from hosting training programs for young nurses in WWI to technology and science programs today. There is even a badge available for global awareness and social entrepreneurship.
Olivia Rowland, Senior Girl Scout and Gold Award Candidate, plans to Live Below the Line for the Global Poverty Project. “Girl Scouts has taught me to unite with others, help people at all times, and to be a sister to all. I have been encouraged to pursue global issues through events that analyze global cultures and create international bonds. I want to Live Below the Line because together we can make a difference,” Olivia explained.
The Girl Scouts will raise money for this year’s partners: Malaria No More, UNICEF, Global Syndicate, Rainforest Foundation US, and the Global Poverty Project. Girl Scouts are encouraged to take part in the campaign by registering at www.livebelowtheline.org/us. Each participant will be able to establish a personal fundraising page and track their progress online.
This year, when I think of Girl Scout cookies, I’ll also be thinking about the incredible strides being made to eradicate extreme poverty, and how the Girl Scouts have contributed to that effort.