The Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) is a youth organization for girls in the United States and American girls living abroad. It was founded by Juliette Gordon Low in 1912 and was organized after Low met Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, in 1911. Upon returning to Savannah, Georgia, she telephoned a distant cousin, saying, “I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we’re going to start it tonight!”
GSUSA aims to empower girls and to help teach values such as honesty, fairness, courage, compassion, character, sisterhood, confidence, and citizenship through activities including camping, community service, learning first aid, and earning badges by acquiring other practical skills. Girl Scouts’ achievements are recognized through rank advancement and by various special awards such as the bronze award. Girl Scouts welcomed girls with disabilities early in their history, at a time when they were not included in most other activities.
Membership is organized according to grade with activities designed appropriately for each level. The GSUSA is a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), and has an extensive history of accepting girls from any background.
In 1994, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, an industry publication, released the results of the largest study of charitable and non-profit organization popularity and credibility. The study showed that the Girl Scouts was ranked as the 8th “most popular charity/non-profit in America” of over 100 charities researched with 41% of Americans over the age of 12 choosing Love and Like A Lot for the Girl Scouts. It describes itself as “the world’s preeminent organization dedicated solely to girls”.