The Girl Scouts of America turns 102 on March 12, and everywhere you look, girls dressed in green vests or sashes are selling boxes of Thin Mints and Samoa cookies. In honor of national Girl Scout week — March 9-15, 2014 — here are 12 facts from girlscouts.org that you may not know about the world’s largest organization for girls.
• The Girl Scouts of America was founded in 1912 by Juliette Low in Savannah, Ga. Her goal was to “ … bring girls out of isolated home environments and into community service and the open air.”
• The Girl Scouts is not an American creation. Miss Low based her group on the British organization Girl Guides.
• The first Girl Scout troop had 18 members. Today, more than 10 million women and girls worldwide participate in Girl Scouting with troops in more than 92 countries.
• More than 59 million women in the U.S. were once Girl Scouts. Prestigious alumna include First Lady Michelle Obama, television personality Katie Couric, tennis great Venus Williams, and the first American woman in space, astronaut Sally Ride.
• Seventy percent of all women serving in the US Senate and three former Secretaries of State were once Girl Scouts.
• Badges have been an integral part of Scouting since the beginning. Today, girls can earn more than 100 different badges, including the original badges: cooking, athletics, and first aid.
• Girl Scouts started selling cookies in 1917 in Muskogee, Okla. Shortbread cookies were baked at home by each girl and sold to pay for troop activities.
• The first cookies were sold for 25 to 30 cents per dozen. Today cookies cost $4 to $5 per box.
• More than 200 million boxes of cookies are sold from January to March each year, generating $785 million in sales.
• Thin Mints were first sold in the 1950s, and are the third best-selling cookie in the United States with 50 million boxes sold each year.
• The record for most cookies sold goes to Jennifer Sharpe of Dearborn, Mich. She sold 17,328 boxes during a single three-month selling period. Her troop used the money earned to go on a trip to Europe.
• In 2012, the Girl Scouts released a cookie locator app for smartphones, making it easy to find your favorites.
For more than 100 years, the Girl Scouts have helped girls develop confidence and leadership skills, and sell a ton of cookies. Happy birthday, Girl Scouts!
Janine Queenin is a writer and mom of two kids, ages 9 and 11. A former Girl Scout and Girl Scout leader, she always has a box of Thin Mints stashed in her freezer.
Neil’s shortbread cookies
In 1922, Miss Florence E. Neil published her shortbread cookie recipe in the Girl Scout magazine “The American Girl” and the annual cookie sale was born. Try making this recipe with your favorite girl (or boy).
Girl Scout Cookie
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
Additional sugar for topping (optional)
2 tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
DIRECTIONS: Cream butter and 1 cup sugar; add well-beaten eggs, then milk, vanilla, flour, salt, and baking power. Refrigerate for at least one hour. Roll dough, cut into trefoil shapes, and sprinkle sugar on top, if desired. Bake in a quick oven (375°) for approximately eight to 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Makes six to seven dozen cookies.