Honoring Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts of America

A meeting with the founder of Boy Scouts inspired her to create a similar leadership program for girls Share Shares Copy Link Copy {copyShortcut} to copy Link copied! Updated: 11:44 AM EST Mar 1, 2018 Victoria Ottomanelli Honoring Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts of America A meeting with the founder of Boy Scouts inspired her to create a similar leadership program for girls Share Shares Copy Link Copy {copyShortcut} to copy Link copied! Updated: 11:44 AM EST Mar 1, 2018 Honoring Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts of America A meeting with the founder of Boy Scouts inspired her to create a similar leadership program for girls Share Shares Copy Link Copy {copyShortcut} to copy Link copied! Updated: 11:44 AM EST Mar 1, 2018 Victoria Ottomanelli March is all about celebrating womanhood, and throughout the month we'll be honoring influential women in history whose inspirational stories helped pave the way for female empowerment and progress. These advocates and pioneers have contributed incredible things to not only women's history, but to the history of the United States as a whole, and are an inspiration to young girls everywhere. Advertisement Watch the video above to learn the story of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts of America and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. See how Low realized her dream of empowering girls of all ethnic and social backgrounds. Continue Reading

If there’s a problem with the presidency, don’t blame the Founders

Visit The Boston Globe Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Comment on this Scroll to top of page Jeff Jacoby Globe Columnist  January 13, 2018 Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globes last Sunday set off a gusher of giddy speculation that the much-loved TV host could be a Democratic contender for president in 2020, and if the idea of electing to the White House a celebrity billionaire with no political experience or public-policy expertise might have seemed like crazy talk not all that long ago — well, after the 2016 election cycle, who would be so foolhardy as to rule out Oprah’s chances? With the next election nearly three years away, it’s hard to believe that any sensible American — a category that excludes political junkies and media pundits — already has an appetite for dissecting the pros and cons of potential 2020 contestants. But perhaps, as Bloomberg’s Virginia Postrel suggests, the Oprah-for-president hoopla has nothing to do with public interest in the election of America’s chief executive — its head of government. Perhaps what really explains the whirl of excitement triggered by her speech (and not only among Democrats) is a fascination with designating America’s preeminent citizen — its head of state.Among the world’s leading nations, only the United States doesn’t separate the roles of head of government and head of state. The framers of the Constitution combined the two. The president is expected to carry out not only substantive executive responsibilities — crafting foreign and domestic policy, proposing budgets and legislation, appointing judges, overseeing the military — but also symbolic and ceremonial ones: delivering an inaugural address, throwing the first pitch on Opening Day, leading the nation in mourning when tragedy strikes. Advertisement For 225 years, Americans have accepted this duality. But Donald Trump’s Continue Reading

President Monson an avid supporter of Boy Scout program, a ‘builder of boys’

1 of 14 View 14 Items Tom Smart, Deseret News President Thomas S. Monson at the Fourteenth Annual Great Salt Lake Council Boy Scouts of America Breakfast for Champions at the South Towne Exposition Center on April 13, 2002. Related Links Death of LDS President Thomas S. Monson sparks flood of tender tributes on social media President Monson's funeral scheduled for Friday, Jan. 12 25 literary favorites President Thomas S. Monson quoted in talks, devotionals How the LDS Church chooses its new president See photos from the life of President Thomas S. Monson On a bright and clear day in 1982, Elder Thomas S. Monson and his wife, Frances, visited London's Westminster Abbey and paused before the marble memorial of Lord Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts. "I pondered the thought, 'How many boys have had their lives blessed — even saved — by the Scout movement begun by Baden-Powell?'" he said in his October 1982 general conference remarks. "Unlike others memorialized within the walls of Westminster Abbey, Baden-Powell had neither sailed the stormy seas of glory, conquered in conflict the armies of men, nor founded empires of worldly wealth. Rather, he was a builder of boys, one who taught them well how to run and win the race of life." When it comes to building boys into men, Baden-Powell and President Monson are kindred spirits. For most of his life, Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was an avid supporter of the Boy Scouts of America. He attended meetings of the National Executive Board of BSA, national and international jamborees, conventions and Eagle Scout courts of honor; he spoke to large Boy Scout gatherings, served as a merit badge counselor and championed the benefits of Scouting, as chronicled in his biography, "To the Rescue," by Heidi S. Swinton. "His enthusiasm for Scouting has never been about tying knots; it has been about touching lives," Continue Reading

During WWII, Boys Town housed Japanese-Americans escaping forced internment. The homes are coming down, but the story endures

Until recently, a handful of small, white homes surrounded a tree-shaded cul-de-sac amid farmland west of Boys Town — a picture of the midcentury American Dream. The scene, now visible to those driving near 144th Street and West Dodge Road, looks very different today. Trees are now stumps, heaped in the middle of the street. The homes have been reduced to piles of concrete, splintered wood and twisted metal. Some are leveled entirely, and others are smoldering ruins after controlled burns conducted last week by the Boys Town Fire Department. The houses and surrounding buildings are giving way to a $1.2 billion entertainment, residential and retail district, currently being developed by Noddle Cos. Some pieces of the other structures will be incorporated into the new development. But the homes are to be cleared. They were simple dwellings built for simple reasons. The homes were completed in the early 1940s, meant to house extra hands who would be needed to work the farm as Boys Town grew. In later years, they were home to children and caregivers on campus. After a time, they stood empty. But hidden in their past is another story. Decades ago, shortly after they were finished, these homes would come to represent something important — security, comfort, welcome — for a group of people who had all three taken from them. During World War II, some of these houses sheltered Japanese-Americans escaping forced internment on the West Coast. They came here at the urging of legendary Boys Town founder Father Edward Flanagan, who found them jobs on campus or helped them establish new lives in cities outside of Omaha. In total, more than 200 relocated Japanese-Americans spent time at Boys Town during the war, said Tom Lynch, director of community programs at Boys Town. Some were just passing through, moving on to other opportunities. About 30 stayed on campus, living and working as barbers, bus drivers, farmhands, typists and gardeners. After the Continue Reading

Meet Tennessee’s first-ever Girl Scout troop for homeless girls

​​​​ For Nevaeh Mobley, it often wasn't safe to play outside.Even as her parents sometimes sat with the door open at night, letting in the fresh air at their long-term hotel room rental, they wouldn't let Nevaeh or her brother on the threshold."The kids could not go outside after dark," dad Carlos Mobley Sr. said. "Because of all the unsavory extra-curricular activities going on. I didn't want it around my kids."For four years, the family of four shared a single hotel room in the Hermitage Inn with two double beds, a small fridge and a bathroom.They pawned TVs, wedding rings, a couple of gaming systems from better times in order to pay for the hotel at first. Later, they found other ways.They brought in a crock pot and a deep fryer for family meals. They did their best to make their situation feel secure. But nighttime felt isolating for the kids, and — with gunshots and drug deals on the other side of that door — at times, frightening.Things needed to change.A little more than a year ago, it did. The Mobley family moved into Safe Haven Family Shelter where they found the safety and support systems they needed, and an opportunity they never expected — a chance for Nevaeh to become part of Tennessee's first-ever Girl Scout troop for homeless girls.All of the members of Nashville's Troop 6000 live or once lived at Safe Haven, a small housing unit on the south side of the city that provides a temporary home for families in need.The troop is modeled after a similar troop launched earlier this year in New York City. It is one of just a handful across the country.Through the patch-earning and cookie-selling tradition, Troop 6000 offers a consistent place in an often unsettled situation, a spot for the girls to go without worry for a little while."Our past lifestyles are kind of rough and ragged," Nevaeh's mom, Debra Stewart said. But, Nevaeh’s father adds, Continue Reading

Ex-state senator hired by Boy Scouts to lobby against Child Victims Act shows Albany swamp needs draining

When you're a crook, there are no limits to the depths you will go to cover up your filth. Just ask most of the New York politicians, including former Senator Craig Johnson, who is a key ally and fundraising partner for the Independent Democratic Conference, led by Senator Jeff Klein. Conveniently, Johnson is also a paid lobbyist, representing the Boy Scouts and opposing the Child Victims Act, the bill I have been advocating for since the start of the New York legislative session. The Child Victims Act seeks to eliminate the statute of limitations for children who have been sexually abused and provides a one year look back window in civil court for adult survivors. Just as with the tremendous lobbying efforts of the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts appears to be covering up some major pedophile actions. Why else would they be opposing a bill to protect children from sexual abuse? The opposition have been relying on excuses to delay the passing of the bill for ages now. First, there is the "one year look back" defense. But let me just throw that one out of the window. Senate Bill 813, the Justice for Victims Act, passed in California last year, but adults still have to go through a due process; there have been no flooded jails or courts filled with frivolous lawsuits. Then there was the "lack of public support," made by Governor Cuomo's spokesperson, Richard Azzopardi in a previous NY Daily News article. What a sham. Everyone from Reddit to the Women's March NYC, to an outpouring of survivors, advocates, and organizations have been sending in letters, tweeting and calling the Governor and legislators, demanding that the bill be brought to the floor for a vote. We have the public's support. What we lack is the moral backbone and decency in New York politics to protect children from sexual predators. Gary Greenberg, founder of Fighting for Children PAC, and I have tried repeatedly to get a meeting with Senator Klein and Senator Alcantara. After Continue Reading

Trump boasts of political conquest, cocktail parties during National Scout Jamboree

President Trump stuck to what he knows best while entertaining thousands of boy scouts: boasting of the 2016 election victory, threatening his cabinet’s job security and mingling with New York’s hottest. Trump on Monday encouraged a sea of 40,000 young scouts and volunteers to not lose “momentum” during the annual National Scout Jamboree in Glen Jean, W.V. That meandering lesson involved a scary campfire story of Trump meeting “Levitt & Sons” president William Levitt, whose real estate empire kicked off the nation’s suburban growth spurt after World War II. Trump said he encountered the aging Levitt sitting alone at a cocktail party hosted by Time Warner founder Steve Ross, who died in 1992. “It was very sad because the hottest people in New York were at this party,” Trump said of Levitt, who died in 1994 at age 86. Trump toyed with telling a possibly inappropriate anecdote about Levitt’s life aboard his yacht. He instead recalled Levitt blaming his ruin on the loss of momentum after selling off his multi-million dollar business. The speech was not intended to be political, especially since the vast majority of the audience is unable to vote and the Boy Scouts Organization shuns hints of political endorsement. Trump said he would teach the nation’s future leaders about “success.” “Who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the boy scouts,” Trump asked. But Trump’s speech soon devolved into familiar territory as it morphed into one of his volatile campaign-style rallies with repeated chants of “U.S.A.” and “We love Trump.” Audible jeers could be heard as Trump slammed the press, former President Barack Obama and his Affordable Care Act. Trump issued a thinly-veiled threat to fire Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price should the Continue Reading

Boy Scouts of America open door to gay scouts with new policy

The Boy Scouts of America kick off the new year with a new pledge to allow openly gay scouts. The change takes effect Wednesday, and the organization is expected to acknowledge a gay Eagle Scout for the first time before the month is over. “While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting,” the Boy Scouts said in a statement to ABC News. The controversial policy change spurred strong reactions from all side. Some supporters argue the policy, which leaves a ban on gay adults intact, doesn’t go far enough, while conservative groups claim the 103-year-old youth organization has abandoned its core values. “Any sexual activity outside the context of the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman is sinful before God,” conservative scouting alternative Trail Life USA said in a statement. The lifted ban clears the way for 17-year-old Pascal Tessier of Bethesda, Md., to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. The openly gay high school senior has said he was previously denied the award because he publicly acknowledged his homosexuality. "I love Scouting and always have, so I really want to become an Eagle Scout," he said. He’s expected to become the first openly gay Eagle Scout on Jan. 15. The Scouts’ National Council approved the policy change in May 2013, but the resolution didn’t take place until Wednesday. "The Boy Scouts of America does not have an agenda on the matter of sexual orientation," the Boy Scouts said in the resolution. "Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting.” Gay rights advocates say the change is the first step toward an inclusive Scouting program they hope will one day welcome gay Scout leaders and adult volunteers. "We know that change Continue Reading

Girls are stars in Girl Scouts. They’d be supporting players in Boy Scouts.

Girl Scouts is the premier girl leadership organization in the world, and I am proud to serve as its 20th chief executive officer. Every day we work to carry out the vision of our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, who believed in the power of every girl to make a positive impact on the world. We are disappointed that Boy Scouts of America has chosen to open its program to girls in contravention of its charter, rather than focusing on the 90% of American boys not being served by Boy Scouts. We believe strongly in the importance of the safe, all-girl, girl-led and girl-friendly environment that Girl Scouts provides.  More: Megyn Kelly had a hard-hitting brand. Why is NBC making her dance? More: 'Front Row Kids' and values have taken over our courts: Glenn Reynolds At Girl Scouts, girls aren’t the ancillary tag-along or supporting player — they are the central character. For more than a century, Girl Scouts has delivered unparalleled experiences that allow girls to discover their passions, develop leadership and people skills, explore their worlds, and embark on new adventures. Adult mentors and strong female role models show them they can be anything they want to be.Through earning badges, including the science badge, for which I built an Estes model rocket and launched it into the sky, I learned to persevere — to create a plan, to regroup when things did not go as planned, to learn from failures, and to try again. My pursuit of engineering and rocket science, at a time when girls like me were not encouraged to do so, is a direct result of my experience as a Girl Scout. It taught me to identify opportunities and to seize them.The culmination of the Girl Scout experience is the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting — and the most difficult to earn. The Gold Award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable “take action” projects Continue Reading

Former Boy Scout leader of Ohio troop believes he lost membership for being openly gay

The Boy Scouts of America revoked the membership of an Ohio scout leader nearly a year after he identified himself as an openly gay Eagle Scout on television. “I had the option to lie about it,” Brian Peffly revealed to the Columbus Dispatch. “The first part of Scout law is that a Scout is trustworthy. I went with Scout law.” Peffly, the founder of a local Scouts for Equality chapter, served as a 35-year-old volunteer assistant scoutmaster to a Westerville troop. There has been progress to reverse discrimination against homosexuality within the highly conservative youth organization especially in New York where a defiant chapter hired Pascal Tessier, an openly gay 18-year-old Eagle Scout. But in Ohio, where the Simon Kenton Council adopted a diversity clause in Sept. 2014 defending the membership of youth or adult leaders regardless of sexual orientation, Peffly still lost his position. “What happened to Brian is still part of a national pattern of discrimination,” Zach Wahls, Scouts for Equality’s executive director, told the Plain-Dealer. The Supreme Court has upheld the Boy Scouts of America’s right to ban gay troop leaders. Even in Utah, a clause within the state’s new non-discrimination law allows the Boy Scouts of America to enforce its anti-gay hiring practices. Peffly spoke out against the disbandment of a Seattle troop on behalf of Equality for Scouts . He supported the Seattle troop for refusing to oust a gay leader, he said during an April 2014 interview with WBNS-TV. In the time between that interview and a fateful voicemail left by the Boy Scout’s national office in March, Peffly received a card in the mail noting his official membership. “They didn’t care about my orientation,” Peffly thought for a time. After all, “Why does that need to come up if you’re teaching fire-building or first aid or whatever,” Pleffy asked the Continue Reading