The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace is the Great Pilgrimage for all Girl Scouts, because it's the home of our founder, and still contains many artifacts from her life and from the early period of Girl Scouting.
Oh, my goodness. My heart.
The tour that you go on is technically your bog-standard historical house tour, but all the rooms were peppered with Daisy's artwork--because Daisy was an artist who dabbled in a LOT of media!--
--and interesting clues into her life--
--and artifacts from the early days of Girl Scouting--
|This is Daisy's own Girl Scout hat.|
|Nina Pope is the friend to whom Daisy first told her big idea. What she said is Girl Scout history: “Come right over! I've got something for the girls of Savannah and all America and all the world, and we're going to start it tonight!”|
One thing: Daisy's family kept enslaved people when she was very small--she *was* born in 1860 in Savannah, after all... Her father was a Confederate soldier, although her mother was from the north, and received the protection of Sherman himself to flee the area after that whole "March to the Sea" business. Daisy and the rest of the family almost starved during the Union Army's occupation of Savannah, and one of their enslaved people actually saved their lives because she could go out and sell and barter things to the army. That's the sum total of information that we were given about the enslaved people of the Gordon family, and that was a bummer, because they deserve a lot more. If you're reading this and you're a history major, there's your senior thesis project! Heck, go to grad school and make that the topic of your PhD thesis!
I found that I really enjoyed seeing what Daisy, herself, said and wrote about Girl Scouts. She was a true philanthropist, and so it's good to be guided by what she thought Girl Scouting should be. Look, for instance, at what she said about badges:
This badge is not a reward for something you have done once or for an examination you have passed. Badges are not medals to wear on your sleeve to show what a smart girl you are. A badge is a symbol that you have done the thing it stands for often enough, thoroughly enough, and well enough to BE PREPARED to give service in it. You wear the badge to let people know that you are prepared and willing to be called on because you are a Girl Scout.
How often do we treat something that we've earned as a reward, something designed to show off what smart girls we are? But in Daisy's mind, everything that you earn is a symbol to the world that in that thing, you are able to give service. A Girl Scout badge means that you know that skill so well that you can use it to give back. That's why the end of every badge book encourages the Girl Scout to use her skill to give service, and offers suggestions for how she might go about it.
The garden is ahistorical--landscaped with non-natives, in fact--and one of the Birthplace's future goals is to have it remade into a more accessible and welcoming spot. Nevertheless, it's beautiful:
|Daisy forged the decorative bits of this gate. FORGED them. Because she did everything!!!|
One of the reasons why I love seeing my girls look up to Juliette Gordon Low so much is how highly I look up to her, myself. I strongly believe that she did give something invaluable to the girls of Savannah and all America and all the world by founding Girl Scouts. It's a truly special organization, empowering and engaging, welcoming and embracing diversity, ready to encourage girls wherever they are to lead and learn and do.
I'll stop fangirling now and just leave you with this, a photo of my daughter and Daisy, both in their Girl Scout uniforms: