The 1960s began with a bang, as the Girl Scouts celebrated its 50th birthday in 1962.

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Leader Magazine, October 1963

One year later, the organization dramatically reimagined age levels, badges, and more. The Intermediate age level split into Juniors and Cadettes in 1963. Intermediate level badges were divided between the two groups, with green borders for Juniors and gold borders for Cadettes.

For the first time in history, new handbooks for all levels were released at the same time. The new books featured a consistent design and were small enough to comfortably fit in a girl’s hand. (A second new-handbooks-for-everyone release came in 2011 with the current Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting, which are the size of the average Daisy.)

Also in 1963, the small councils and Lone Troops in the greater Washington region combined to form the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital. The council grew again in 2006 and 2009, adding Frederick County, Maryland, and parts of West Virginia and western Maryland.

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Councils before 1963
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Piper Debbie Reynolds

Actress Debbie Reynolds, an accomplished Girl Scout herself, led the multi-year Piper Project to recruit new members.

Travel opportunities flourished, as well. In 1968, GSUSA purchased 15,000 acres of rugged land in Wyoming to create the first Girl Scout National Center west of the Mississippi River. National Center West hosted thousands of girls for primitive camping, archaeology studies, and horseback opportunities until it closed in 1989.

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National Center West patches from the Vintage GS Online Museum

The World Association for Girl Guides and Girl Scouts opened a fourth world center, Sangam, in Pune, India, in 1966. Traveling troops now had an Asian destination in addition to Our Chalet (Switzerland), Olave House (London), and Our Cabana (Mexico).

The 1969 National Council Session in Seattle, Washington, established the priorities for the 1970s. These included remaining a uniformed movement, creating a membership that reflected society, updating the Promise and Laws, and eliminating prejudice. The Council also approved an increase in annual membership dues, from $1 to $2.

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History by Decade 1960s
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Girls hang a sign at Weston Lodge

5 responses to “Girl Scouts Look Back 110 Years: 1960s”

  1. Was Saint Mary’s County not part of Southern Maryland at the time of the merge?

    1. Yes, you’re correct!!! Thank you for catching this. I’ll update the map ASAP.

  2. “Size of an average Daisy” made me laugh ! After on catastrophic drop, break open and girls sliding on slippery paper episode. We used only segments at a time, never whole notebooks

  3. My senior troop went to Rockwood on Nov. 22d 1963. We had scheduled an overnight and when jfk was killed, we went anyhow. Radios came out and we cried and listened to the news for two days. Nancy McDaniels

  4. […] An extensive program study by the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center reported that the three-level program no longer reflected the developmental stages of modern girls. GSUSA responded by dividing the Intermediate level (ages 10-13) into Juniors )ages 9-11) and Cadettes (ages 12-14), beginning in October 1963. […]

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