Why is there a Pearl Award for volunteers?
In the early years of the Girl Scout movement in the United States, Juliette Low sold a strand of pearls that she had received as a wedding present from her husband. The pearls were perfectly matched and rare and thus were sold for $8000 ($200,000 in today's dollars) so that the rent could be paid for the Girl Scout's national office, which was in Washington DC at the time. The national headquarters moved to New York in 1916.
At the time of the sale, Low was reported to have said "Jewels are not important but my Girl Scouts are, they need the money more than I need pearls.”
Here is a story about the where the pearls went after the sale (Page 46 from American Girl Magazine, March 1970, "A String of Pearls").
If you'd like to tell this story to your (young) girls, here is a coloring page to support the activity.
For older girls, pearl swaps are a fun way to honor and share our history. Here are a few examples.