Book Review / Girl Scouts: A Celebration of 100 Trailblazing Years
Betty Christiansen and The Girl Scouts of the USA

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts founding, and the confidence-building, cookie-selling organization has released a coffee table book to celebrate the occasion. With an introduction written by Michelle Obama (all the First Ladies since Edith Wilson have served as the group’s Honorary National President), the book chronicles the history of the Girl Scouts’ from its founding in 1911 by Juliette Gordon Low to the present. Seeing the program evolve and adapt to each new decade is quite interesting; the Girl Scouts were dedicated to the social programs of the 30s and the war effort of the early 40s. They embraced the women’s and environmental movements of the 60s and 70s and the technological advancements of the 90s. Despite the changing times, the Scouts remained devoted to provide all girls with leadership opportunities and real life experience—all girls. Committed to total inclusivity, early brochures were printed in Polish, Yiddish, and Italian to encourage immigrants to join, troops were created specifically for physically disabled girls, and the Scouts were integrated 40 years before the Civil Rights movement: Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to them as a “force for desegregation.” (Christiansen does not address a stance on gay or transgendered members, but the organization does have an official non-discrimination policy in place.) Besides a comprehensive history, the book is filled with photos of Scouts throughout the years and other fun facts. This lighthearted look at the Girl Scouts is bound to invoke nostalgia and pride in former members and make you crave some delicious Thin Mint cookies.

Labell, Molly. "Girl Scouts: A Celebration of 100 Trailblazing Years." BUST Magazine Feb. 2012: 80. Print