This Friday morning I am in Houston, Texas, at the 52nd Biennial Girl Scouts Convention. There are literally thousands of Girl Scouts and Girl Scout leaders here, including several celebrities such as Katie Couric, Robin Roberts, Sara Bareilles, Marlee Matlin, and Maj. General Patricia McQuistion. It’s all happening here: the History Conference, Girl Scouts University, the Girl Scouts Leadership Institute, “Conversations of Consequence,” National Council Session meetings, awards ceremonies, and more. Topics of study include everything from “Building a Culture of Philanthropy,” to “Moving Beyond Diversity to Inclusion,” to “Surviving and Thriving in a Thin-Is-In World,” to the Juliette Gordon Low Bowl where I’m going to be a special judge.
The energy is palpable. If we weren’t all identifiable by our green lanyards, we would be easy to spot from our smiles.
My talk concludes the History Conference, where the attendees–Girl Scout archivists and historians–have been discussing the importance of making sure that Girl Scout archives are available for research. When they say available they mean it: open for elementary school students to scholars with Ph.D.s. My talk will explain, from my perspective as a woman’s historian, how we can work toward getting Juliette Gordon Low and the Girl Scouts their well-earned place in the history books.
As her biographer, I cannot help wondering what Juliette Low would think if she could materialize here to ponder the similarities and the differences between the first convention she called together and this remarkable gathering. I think she would be thrilled–especially to see so many girls present and actively involved.