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Girl Scouts Founder’s Birthday is Celebrated on October 31st


Hello from the Girl Scouts of Colorado History Center in Loveland! As you probably already know, we are a Girl Scout history museum and archival center run by volunteers (see https://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/en/events/anytime-activities.html#Activities  and previous GSCO Blog ). This month’s blog is looking at the history of Girl Scout Founder’s Day, and traditional celebrations held annually.  In November’s blog we will share more about Juliette Gordon Low’s life, her accomplishments, and humorous antics from the Gordon family perspective. 

Juliette Gordon Low (Daisy), was born on October 31, 1860, and founded of Girl Scouts in the United States on March 12th, 1912. Her birthday is celebrated annually as Girl Scout Founder’s. Starting in 1919, the first nationwide Girl Scout Week was celebrated in a week that included Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday and then in 1920, October 31st was officially designated Founder’s Day. The focus of this celebration was to recruit sustaining members at $1.00 each, and to create a greater community presence.  In 1932, March 12 was designated as the official Girl Scout birthday with Girl Scout Week occurring annually on the Sunday including March 12. Starting in 1953, recommended by the delegates to the national convention, Girl Scout Week in October, and Girl Scout Birthday (anniversary) Week in March were to be combined and celebrated in March. October 31 was to continue to be celebrated as Girl Scouts Founder’s Day.

Acknowledging the 100th anniversary of Juliette’s birth (1960) and the 50th anniversary of Girl Scouting starting in the United States, Girl Scouts celebrated a 3-year triennium (October 1960 – 1963.) The Birthday Years theme announced by the 35th National Council meeting was “Honor the Past –Serving the Future.”  Among the celebrations were Heritage Hikes, a gala was held at the at Juliette’s birthplace in Savannah, a Centennial patch, and as a tribute to Girl Scouting, a special floribunda yellow rose was developed by Jackson and Perkins.


The Centennial Patch was issued in 1960 to celebrate Juliette Low’s birth 100 years earlier.  The patch worn by girls and adults, was to be sewn on the center right side of the uniform next to the World Association Pin.


The 50th Anniversary Pin was issued in 1962 for both girl and adults and to the right of the membership pin. This pin replaced the above patch and they not worn together.

Traditional activities to celebrate Founders Day range from singing songs, performing skits, arts & crafts, playing games, or having a birthday or tea party.

Kim’s Game, is classic Girl Scout game, is based on an activity from Rudyard Kipling’s (who was a friend of Juliette Low’s) novel, Kim. In the book, Kim is training to be a spy. He plays this game to practice his observation skills. https://sites.google.com/site/gsleaderinfo/traditions/games-to-teach/kims-game

Here are some suggestions from the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio.

  1. Host a “throwback” Girl Scout meeting or event. Check out some old Girl Scout badges or watch The Golden Eagletwith your girls and try out some of the activities the first Girl Scouts might have learned from Daisy. You could also invite a Girl Scout alumna to your meeting to share some of her stories about badges and activities she did as a young Girl Scout.

  2. Go fishing. Daisy loved to fish and was not one to let her attire stop her from one of her favorite outdoor hobbies. She once talked Rudyard Kipling into going salmon fishing with her during a large formal party despite the fact they were both dressed in evening clothes.

  3. Stand on your head! One of Daisy’s special skills was standing on her head. She stood on her head every year on her birthday to prove she could still do it, and celebrated nieces’ and nephews’ birthdays by standing on her head. Once, she even stood on her head in the board room at National Headquarters to show off the new Girl Scout shoes.

  4. Throw a birthday bash. Need ideas? Google Juliette Gordon Low birthday party ideas or check out Pinterest. You’ll find songs, crafts, stories, ceremonies, and many more ways to celebrate this important day. Let the girls get involved in planning the party. Daisy was the first to promote girl-led in Girl Scouts. She famously replied when asked what the girls should do, “What do the girls WANT to do?” We like your style, Daisy!

  5. Help someone else. Daisy was an advocate of doing a good turn daily and she would be ecstatic to know that girls and women the world over still consider helping others a part of their essential Girl Scout duties. So lend a helping hand in her honor this year.

  6. Give a gift basket to the first girl born on October 31! Put together gift baskets for the first girl born on October 31 at your local hospital. Check with the hospital to make sure it’s okay, and either drop the basket off in advance or make preparations for some of the girls to deliver it in person that day.

  7. Wear a strand of pearls. Have you heard the story of Juliette’s pearls? In 1914, she sold a strand of rare matched pearls to pay the rent for the national Girl Scout office. She said, “Jewels are not important, but my Girl Scouts are, they need money more than I need pearls.” In her honor, wear a strand of pearls for her birthday (fake ones are perfectly fine)!

My favorite collection of ideas comes from the Girl Scouts of Maine with how to host a Virtual Founders Day complete with BINGO centered around the history of Juliette’s life. https://www.girlscoutsofmaine.org/content/dam/girlscouts-girlscoutsofmaine/documents/Virtual-Founders-Day.pdf

Happy founders Day from the GSCO History Center in Loveland!  We have vintage uniforms to lend should your Service Unit want to host a “fashion show” while you serve birthday cupcakes to celebrate Founders Day. Email the GSCO History Center at gscohistory@gmail.com.

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