Twenty five years ago today, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. It protects against discrimination similar to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which made discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origination, and other characteristics illegal. In addition, the ADA requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities such as providing ramps for employees who are confined to wheelchairs. Any public and/or commercial facility, such as restaurants, hotels, stores, and public transportation, must also provide access.
Did you also know that, long before any such act as the ADA, the first Girl Scout troop for the physically handicapped organized here in Atlanta was in 1947? Mrs. Charles B. Brown organized the troop of six wheelchair bound girls at Aidmore Hospital for Crippled Children. Under the name Crippled Children’s League of Georgia, the first clinic for crippled children was held in Marietta, Georgia, and from 1941 to 1954 the successful institution was in operation at 918 Peachtree Street. Today it is known as Elks Aidmore, Inc. and is not limited to helping young people with just physical handicaps, but those with mental disabilities as well. It is now located on 141 acres in Conyers, Georgia.
Do you want to learn more about what it would be like to live as someone with a physical disability? Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta has two awesome Council’s Own badges that will allow you to do just that: “What If I Couldn’t” and “Georgia Rocks and Rolls.”
(Click on the names of the above badges to get the requirements for them.)
Memorial Day, a United States federal holiday for remembering the brave men and women who died while serving our country, is observed each year on the last Monday of May. This year it is today, May 25, 2015. People around the nation visit cemeteries and memorials and place American flags on graves to honor those who have died in military service.
Girl Scouts have always been involved in volunteerism on and around Memorial Day. In the above picture from 1976, flags are placed on graves by Girl Scouts in Andersonville National Cemetery in Andersonville, Georgia. As well as placing flags, there are so many things you and your troop can do to celebrate and honor Memorial Day! Learn the history of Memorial Day (did you know that it was originally called Decoration Day?), or make a wreath for your troop to place at a local war memorial. Also, make sure to participate in your community’s Memorial Day parade, waving your flags high and proudly wearing your Girl Scout uniform!
Whatever you do on this unofficial start of summer, don’t forget to honor the men and women who died serving our country. And don’t forget that important part of the Girl Scout Promise:
“On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.”
Every year on May 22, The United States observes National Maritime Day, a holiday created in 1933 to recognize the maritime industry. It was May 22, 1819 that the American steamship, Savannah, set sail from Savannah, Georgia on the first ever transoceanic voyage under steam power. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Division, “The United States has always been and will always be a great maritime nation. From our origins as 13 British colonies, through every period of peace and conflict since, the Merchant Marine has been a pillar in this country’s foundation of prosperity and security. They power the world’s largest economy and strengthen our ties with trading partners around the world, all while supporting our military forces by shipping troops and supplies wherever they need to go.”
So what exactly is the Merchant Marine? The Merchant Marine is the fleet of ships which carries imports and exports during peacetime and becomes a naval auxiliary during wartime to deliver troops and war material. People who are in the Merchant Marine are referred to as mariners, seamen, seafarers, or sailors, but never Marines. People who are in the Merchant Marine are not military! They are civilians, just like us, and they were crucial to victory in World War II.
The Mariner Girl Scout program was officially launched in 1934, just one year after National Maritime Day was created in the United States. It was created for Senior Girl Scouts who were interested in nautical activities and whose troops had access to a body of water large enough to permit a comprehensive program of Mariner activities. By 1938, only one year before the launch of WWII in Europe when Germany invaded Poland, the Mariner Scout program had swept quickly throughout the country reaching a total registration of 3,484.
Although the Mariner Scout program was officially discontinued in 1963, today it has been re-instituted in a much smaller form.
Fun fact: Juliette Gordon Low was born and raised in Savannah, Ga., the same place from which the steamship Savannah set sail for the first ever transoceanic voyage. As a child, Juliette Low was sometimes affectionately called “the little ship under full sail” by her family!
…and EVERY day!
The month of April is National Volunteer Month, the week of April 12-18 was 2015’s National Volunteer Week, and today is Girl Scout Leader Day!
All the women and men across the country and across the world who give their time to selflessly guide and mentor millions of young women, we here at the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta want to say THANK YOU! All the work that goes into planning and executing weekly meetings, camping weekends, community service events, and ALL the unseen work that you do has not gone unnoticed. You are helping these girls realize their goals and become leaders themselves one day. Did you know that approximately 80 percent of female entrepreneurs were once Girl Scouts? So keep doing what you’re doing- making a HUGE difference in the world!
Check out these vintage photos of some Girl Scout leaders throughout the years:
This Sunday, April 5th is Easter Sunday… My, the year is just flying by, isn’t it?? Do you have plans for the Easter weekend?
My daughter’s birthday falls on Easter this year. I have a handful of Girl Scout themed birthday gifts that I’ve planned to hide in some of her Easter eggs this Sunday and that got me thinking… it’s not too late to plan an Easter community service project with your troop! I think I’m gonna run to the dollar store this week and scoop up a bunch of baskets, plastic grass, candy, and trinkets, and my daughter and I can deliver some baskets to the local women’s and children’s shelter this weekend!
If you do a quick Google search of “Girl Scouts Easter basket” there are tons of examples of girls doing their part for the community at this time of year.One particular photo that caught my eye was of some Junior Girl Scouts loading up the back of a minivan/SUV with baskets:
The girls above are from Middletown, Ohio and you can read all about their awesome community service project here in this article from the Journal-News.
Another great idea comes from this Glasgow, NY Junior troop who were working on their Bronze Award! As their Take Action project, these girls made Easter baskets for pups to help raise money for their local animal welfare association. Check out these amazing girls here at the Glasgow Daily Times.
Girl Scouts making Easter baskets as a community service project is a wonderful idea, but it’s certainly not only a contemporary one. Here’s a 1939 image from “Old News” of the Ann Arbor, Michigan District Library of Brownies weaving baskets at their meeting that will later be filled and no doubt handed out to those less fortunate who need a little Easter pick-me-up during this time of year:
So make sure you enjoy your Easter weekend this year (and eat an extra Cadbury Egg for me while you’re at it)! Think about others at this time of year too and what you and/or your troop can do for them!
Happy Easter from the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archives Committee!
How is everyone in Atlanta enjoying this beautiful Spring weather? It’s been really nice recently, and although the forecast calls for one last cold snap this weekend, Spring is officially here! Last Friday, March 20th, was this year’s Vernal Eqinox, the first day of Spring. What are you doing to spend time outside before the vicious Georgia summer gets here? Maybe you’ve already planned a camping trip or two… Pictured here from left to right are the Junior Camper badge of today, the Campcraft badge, and the Outdoor Cook badge, both in use from 1938 to 1963:
Or maybe camping’s not your thing? That’s ok! There are all kinds of outdoor badges that Girl Scouts over the past century have been able to earn. Get outside and observe animals, plant some flowers, take a day hike, or play some outdoor games! Pictured below are the 1955-1963 Sports badge, the 1938-1963 Swimmer badge, and today’s Junior Gardener badge:
Whatever it is you decide to do, just have fun outside during this gorgeous weather! Happy Spring, Girl Scouts!
And Happy Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and St. Lucia Day and Boxing Day and Saturnalia and Omisoka… whew! There are many, many holidays celebrated during the month of December. Girl Scouts of the USA prides itself on being a diverse and multi-cultural organization and we want to recognize them all!
Every February 22nd, Girl Scouts celebrate World Thinking Day, but why not do it all year round? What holidays do you and your family celebrate? Do you have friends or Girl Scout sisters, maybe even in your own troop, that celebrate differently than you?
Here at the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archives, we wish you Happy Holidays!
The year is quickly coming to a close! Have you gotten all your shopping done? No, we haven’t either… But more importantly, do you have enough tissue and wrapping paper? Recently, while going through the archives, trying to find some more cool stuff to take pictures of and share with everyone, I came across some Girl Scout wrapping paper and fabric! I’m not sure what year the wrapping paper is from, but it’s at least pre-2010 when the logo was updated to give the first girl profile bangs, as well as some other subtle changes. The first wrapping paper I found is an all purpose design and can really be used any time of the year:The next paper I found is more of a holiday theme with the green and gold of the official GSUSA membership pins and the Daisy pins combined with the red background and added pop of blue of the World Association pins. This paper dates from somewhere between 1993 when the current version of the Daisy membership pin was introduced and 2010 when the current girls’ profile logo was introduced:
Another charming way to wrap presents is with fabric! That way, the wrapping itself is part of the gift! Especially if the gift is for someone who sews or is crafty. This classic Girl Scout fabric is from 1959, but if you can’t get your hands on any vintage cloth, there are many current styles out there as well:
Click on the above image for a closer view and then get out there and get to wrapping!