Despite being demonized by members of the religious right, who question whether the Girl Scouts program is godly enough and in one case, actually banned Girl Scouts from church, the organization will turn 100 this year and is still strong.
The organization teaches the "three Cs" of courage, confidence and character.
In celebrating its 100th anniversary, the organization has called 2012 "the Year of the Girl." It has also launched the "To Get Her There" campaign, with a $1 billion fundraising goal to foster girl leaders.
The Associated Press (see video embedded below) reports that when she was in her 50s, a wealthy woman named Juliette Gordon Low wanted something more for her life. It was at a time when women couldn't vote or easily determine their own future. She called a handful of girls into her Savanna home on March 12, 1912, and convened the first "Girl Guides" meeting — soon to be called the Girl Scouts.
Low taught girls to be self-reliant and resourceful, showing them how best to clean house, but also got them out of the house, encouraging camping outings.
In what has been characterized as the largest entrepreneurial endeavor for girls in the country, the Girl Scouts raise $760 million each year from cookie sales.
Cooking and sewing grew to forensic science and web design.
From its earliest days, the Girl Scouts pushed boundaries, welcoming different races and religions and now, sexual orientation. There are 2.3 million Girl Scouts nationwide and exists in 92 countries. Some 50 million American women have enjoyed scouting, and some of them have become leaders.
The Girl Scouts commissioned a study and found that nearly 60 percent of girls, aged 8-17, believe that women can excel in an organization, but rarely to top leadership. In the top ten job sectors in the United States, only 18 percent of the leadership positions are held by women. The "To Get Her There" fundraising effort will go to programs to propel more girls to senior positions in science, finance, technology and other fields.