Girl Scouts

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Excerpt from On the Trail; An Outdoor Book for Girls, 1922. Courtesy of the University of California via HathiTrust.

After helping to organize the Girl Guides in Britain, Juliette Gordon Low formed the Girl Scouts in the United States in 1912. Like the Boy Scouts, this program focused on nature and the outdoors. Scouting for Girls, the official handbook of the Girl Scouts published in 1927, included instruction in animal tracking, building fires, and Morse Code. Like the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts emphasized camping and sought to teach participants to be self-sufficient in nature.

Older organizations such as the Camp Fire Girls and the Girl Pioneers of America aimed for the same organized leisure activities as the Scouts. Despite its name, the Camp Fire Girls had a smaller emphasis on camping and outdoor skills than the Girl Scouts, and included more domestic pursuits instead. The Girl Pioneers of America, formed in 1910, taught its members to be like “pioneer girls”—well-rounded individuals who had an understanding of nature, survival, and laws that affected children.