Across the United States today, many will sit down and enjoy a warm, gooey brownie in honor of National Brownie Day.
While we do love our sweet treats here at Girl Scouts (cookie season begins December 26!), we want to take this day to honor a different kind of Brownie – Girl Scout Brownies!
Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee’s Archivist and Historian Cindy Robinson provided some fun facts about how the grade level of Brownie came to existence:
Soon after Girl Guides and Girl Scouts were established, the girls’ younger sisters and friends began clamoring to be allowed to join. Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, agreed to this and suggested the younger girl group be called “Rosebuds.” This name did not prove popular with the girls and a new name had to be found. Lord Baden-Powell was familiar with the folk tales about helpful, magical “little people” called Brownies. They did good deeds in secret, and Baden-Powell thought that “Brownies” would be a fitting name for young girls who could learn to help their families and communities.
A popular 1870s children’s book by Juliana Horatia Ewing, called “The Brownies,” told the story of children who discovered that they could be helpers. They learned the secret from a wise old owl, and found “Brownie magic” by “twisting and turning” themselves around and looking into a pool they found in the woods. Versions of this story have been in Brownie handbooks through the years, and it is the basis for the traditional Brownie investiture ceremony. Many Brownies in other countries use owls and woodland settings as part of their traditions, along with this story.
The Brownie program began in 1914 in England, and the first Brownie-age troop in the United States was organized in Marblehead, Massachusetts in 1916.
In 1928, Middle Tennessee registered its first Brownies. They met at the Nashville Council of Jewish Women’s Bertha Fensterwald Social Center.
A popular Brownie rhyme went: “We’re the Brownies, here’s our aim – lend a hand and play the game!”
Today on National Brownie Day, we celebrate Girl Scout Brownies and their efforts to do good deeds in the community and make the world a better place!