Every Girl Scout is part of a special group of girls that stretches
not just across the United States, but around the world. Girl Scouts
of the USA (GSUSA) is a member of the World Association of Girl Guides
and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), which includes 10 million girls in 150
countries. All those girls, in all those countries, are working to
make the world a better place.
Throughout the year, girls have the opportunity to work together and participate in Girl Scout programming that relates to different global issues affecting women and girls. This toolkit describes nine international days and is designed to help volunteers engage with Girl Scouts on these global days of action.
What Is Global Girl Scouting?
Global means relating to the whole world. A global organization is worldwide and international, and from our very beginning, the Girl Guide and Girl Scout Movement has been international in nature.
In 1909, Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts in the United Kingdom, held the first Boy Scout rally at a park in London called the Crystal Palace. As they gathered, a group of girls marched onto the Crystal Palace and demanded to be able to participate. Seeing the passion and commitment of these girls, Baden-Powell turned to his sister Agnes Baden-Powell to begin the Girl Guide/Girl Scout Movement. Soon after, groups started in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, and South Africa.
A few years later, in 1912, Juliette Gordon Low met Baden-Powell and discovered her life’s purpose in Girl Scouting. She founded three troops of Girl Guides in London and Scotland before returning to the United States to found Girl Scouts of the USA, and start the first Girl Scout troop in Savannah, Georgia, on March 12, 1912.
From that first meeting of 18 girls, Girl Scouts pushed boundaries—welcoming girls across class, cultural, and ethnic lines to ensure all girls, including those with disabilities, had a place to grow and develop their leadership skills. They played basketball. They hiked, swam, and camped. They learned to read the world around them for instance, earning badges by studying a foreign language or learning to tell time by the stars.
Girl Scouting continued to expand its reach to more and more girls,
with the first Girl Scout troops launching outside the United States
in China, Syria, and Mexico. Lone Troops on Foreign Soil (now called
USA Girl Scouts Overseas) registered its first Girl Scout troop in
Shanghai, China, with 18 girls in 1925.6 Today, Girl Scouts of the USA
includes 2 million Girl Scouts in 92 countries around the world.
Juliette Gordon Low said it best when she declared, “Girl Scouting and Girl Guiding can be the magic thread which links the youth of the world together.”
For over 100 years, the Girl Scout and Girl Guide Movement has
brought girls together in a global sisterhood to make the world a
better place. There are many ways for girls to engage with this global
sisterhood throughout their Girl Scout experience. Whether it
is exploring global issues through a Girl Scout Journey, earning their Global Action award, or traveling with a Girl Scout Destination, girls can engage with global issues at every program grade level.
This toolkit—for learning about or taking part in nine global action days—is a resource for councils and volunteers to help girls connect to our global Movement and to the issues that affect girls around the world.