Lu Gaetje: A Proud Girl Scout

Posted: Dec 15, 2011

Lu Gaetje (1976)
Lu Gaetje used to proclaim that she shook Juliette Low’s hand (the founder of the Girl Scouts) in 1925, shortly after beginning her Girl Scouts journey. For years to come, after meeting someone new, she would inform them that they had just “shook the hand that shook the hand of Juliette Gordon Low.”

Lu Gaetje was a proud Girl Scout, dedicating over 75 years as a Girl member, a leader, and staff member. 

Lu was 12 years old when she joined Girl Scouts in 1923—the youngest age you could be to register at the time. Her youth did not inhibit her excitement for the program. In fact, she loved scouting so much that she joined two troops at one time, even travelling by train to attend evening meetings in Chicago.

Her dedication to the Girl Scouts movement persisted throughout her years:  She continued scouting through college, and after graduation, became a Girl Scout leader.  During this time, she founded a senior level troop that later gave 52 Depression-era girls the benefits of Girl Scouting.

In 1961, Lu came to Arizona and joined GSACPC, and held many positions during her years with us: from a position with field staff, to acting as interim Executive Director and a member of the Board of Directors in the early 1980s (which, by the way, was after her retirement from the council in 1977), Lu brought kindness and hard work to the council every day.

Lu Gaetje and GSACPC Staff (1976)

On April 25, 1981, GSACPC presented Lu with the first “President’s award” for her many years of service both as a staff member and volunteer. Lu received her 75 year pin in May 2005.

She passed away on February 26, 2007.

Although Lu achieved and contributed greatly to the Girl Scouts movement, her list of accolades and good deeds outside of the Girl Scouts is miles long. During her beginning years as a troop leader, Lu volunteered at the famous Hull House, founded by Jane Addams as a center for the care and education of the poor in Chicago.  Lu earned a physical education degree from the University of Illinois, and a Master’s degree in counseling from Arizona State University in 1968.  As an adult, Lu volunteered with the Desert Botanical Gardens for more than 15 years, and spent seven years working for the Arizona State University Sociology research department. She also spent five years counseling at-risk youth.