The Girl Scouts are Coming!

Wilmington's first African-American Troop #60 met in at St. Matthews Episcopal Church with Martha Evans as leader in 1944. Delaware Historical Society Collections.

Girl Scout cookies, Girl Scout camp, Girl Scout badges—all this and much more will be featured in A Circle of Friendship United by Ideals, an exhibition on the history of Girl Scouts in Delaware and the Delmarva Peninsula that will be on display in the Delaware History Museum from February through June 2012.  We will be joining the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay Council to celebrate the centennial of girl scouting in the U.S. and the council’s 50th anniversary.  Filled with objects and photographs in the Council’s extensive collection, the exhibition is sure to be a trip down memory lane for every current and former scout! 

Inspired by her meeting with Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts and Girl Guides in England, Juliette Gordon Low gathered a group of girls in Savannah, Georgia, on March 12, 1912, for the meeting that began a movement that has involved millions of girls all over the world.  Scouting spread to the Delmarva Peninsula with a troop founded in Cambridge, Maryland, in 1914.  The first Delaware troop started in Wilmington in 1915.

Girls prepare a meal around a fire circle during overnight tent camping at Grove Point in the 1980s. Courtesy of Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay Council.

The ideals of scouting—learning through action, exploring the outdoors, serving the community, and developing leadership skills–have remained constant but the program has changed with the times.  Badges, uniforms, and handbooks from different eras will be on display.  The dairy maid badge is obsolete—today’s scouts attend STEM programs at the Lynn W. Williams Science and Technology Lodge at Camp Country Center in Hockessin. A campfire scene will be a focal point of the exhibition, and maps will show the many sites that have been used for camping over the years. 

Scouting’s goal has always been to help girls grow into strong, capable women.  A Circle of Friendships United by Ideals will honor the scouts and leaders of the past, and inspire those who will take scouting into its second century.  Plan now to visit the exhibit and “make new friends but keep the old!” 

Joe Biden, then a U.S. Senator from Delaware, poses with local Girl Scouts in 2000. Courtesy of Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay Council.

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