Category Archives: Seniors (Grades 9-10)

National Maritime Day and Mariner Scouts

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.

Mariner Scout membership pin, 1946-1963, photo courtesy of vintagegirlscout.com

Mariner Scout membership pin, 1946-1963, photo courtesy of vintagegirlscout.com

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.

1946 Catalina Island Girl Scout Mariner Camp, photo courtesy Girl Scout Collector's Guide, 2nd Edition, 2005

1946 Catalina Island Girl Scout Mariner Camp, photo courtesy of Girl Scout Collector’s Guide, 2nd Edition, 2005

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!

Museum Discovery Badge

Interest Projects are what girls aged 11-17 work on to learn about various topics and to gain new skills—everything from fashion and fitness to communication and camping. The Girl Scout has to earn two Skill Builders activities and two activities from any of the four categories, but not both from the same category. She also has to design and do one activity based on a goal she sets for herself, and prepare a short reflection describing the parts of the Girl Scout Law that relate to what she did. This Interest Project is named Museum Discovery.

Museum Discovery Badge

Museums offer visitors unparalleled opportunities to become absorbed in the past, to ponder the present, and to envision the future. Whether you are walking through a model of a human heart in a science museum or watching a re-enactment of a scene from colonial America at a historical site, museums can be magical and intriguing places. Discover something new about an old favorite, or explore online a new museum anywhere in the world.

Skill Builders

  1. Visit a museum of your choice. Take in the exhibits on your own. Then, if possible, arrange for a “behind-the-scenes” tour. Determine how the museum is meeting its mission or objectives by asking your guide questions and by observing how others use the museum. Discuss with others what you like most about this museum, and how you might change it to meet the needs of different age groups, cultures, or people with disabilities.
  2. Develop a mini-exhibit for your Girl Scout Council on Girl Scout history. You will need to research, organize, catalog, exhibit, and learn how to care for the display items.
  3. Design your own museum! Choose a theme, determine your objectives, plan exhibits and activities, and diagram one or more of the exhibit spaces. Select a theme from the list below or come up with one of your own. (Children, film and broadcasting, history, natural history, science and technology, automobiles, fashion, art, women’s history, living museums such as zoos, aquariums, or botanical gardens.)
  4. Visit or learn about the exhibits at Juliette Gordon Low Girl Scout National Center in Savannah, Georgia, or GSUSA’s National Historic Preservation Center. If possible, visit a historical exhibit at your Council.
  5. Build a model or draw a blueprint of a site, such as a medieval castle, a modern skyscraper, a sports arena, or a neighborhood. Describe your model in writing on an exhibit card.

Technology

  1. Visit at least three American (including the Smithsonian) and three foreign museums online. Visit at least three virtual museums online, keep a log of what you see, and compare your experience to an actual trip. Develop an online tour for a family member or friend based on her interests.
  2. Museums house priceless and irreplaceable collections of all kinds–from dinosaur bones to manuscripts from ancient times. Discover the high-tech security methods museums use to protect their collections from vandalism or theft.
  3. If moon rocks were exposed to the air, they would rust. If medieval tapestries were placed in direct sunlight, they would fade. Find out about the special lighting, temperature, and humidity systems that museums use to exhibit rare and delicate objects.
  4. Visit a local museum and check if it is accessible to people with disabilities. What technologies are used to aid people with disabilities to visit museums? After your visit, make a list of recommendations on how you would improve the facilities.
  5. Find out how audiovisual materials such as videotapes, music cassettes, films, slides, and photographs are preserved.

Service Projects

  1. Develop or facilitate an activity for younger Girl Scouts at a local museum. For example, you might arrange a sleepover at a historical site or science museum.
  2. Create a small exhibit on something you feel strongly about. Arrange to show or share this exhibit in your local Girl Scout Council, house of worship, or school. Topics might include women in the arts, women’s inventions, the history of music or dance, fashion, a conservation issue, or civil liberties.
  3. Form a museum association for people your own age and explore ways to provide service to a local museum, library, historical society, nature museum, zoo, or botanical garden as aides, docents, or museum interpreters. Or participate in an existing volunteer program. Evaluate your training and experience.
  4. Develop a directory of local and regional resources for your Council or Service Unit, including museums, historical societies, botanical gardens, zoos, arboretums, libraries, or exhibits. Mke sure to include features (elevators, audio tours, Braille guides, etc.) that make each site accessible to a broad audience. Suggest how these places could provide educational experiences for Girl Scouts.

Career Exploration

  1. Find out about three careers that are museum-based, such as conservator, educator, librarian, graphic artist, researcher, public relations or communications staff, fund-raiser, or editor of a museum publication. Find out what educational preparation and training are required for these positions.
  2. Identify two museum studies programs at colleges or universities. Find out if these programs might enable you to work in a specific kind of museum: for example, a museum devoted to art history, science education, American history, or zoology.
  3. For one day, shadow a person with a museum-related career. If there is no museum in your area, check to see if there is a museum outreach program that comes to your community, a nature center, zoo, botanical garden, or other facility. Or shadow someone who contracts with a museum, such as an exhibit maker, storyteller, or artisan. What kinds of skills does the person practice on the job?
  4. Learn about maintaining exhibits at living museums such as zoos, aquariums, and botanical gardens. Request a behind-the-scenes tour and ask questions about training and experience in this field.
  5. Work as an intern or aide in a museum.

Heritage Hunt

Interest Projects are what girls aged 11-17 work on to learn about various topics and to gain new skills—everything from fashion and fitness to communication and camping. This Interest Project is named Heritage Hunt.

Are you fascinated by other cultures or stories of your ancestors? Do you love history and research? Looking to the past can be like taking a journey to an ancestral land. It is a way of appreciating and honoring your roots.

In an Interest Project, the girls have to learn skills and technology, do service projects, and explore careers. The requirements are two pages long, so here is the summary of what’s required:

  • Skill builders: 1) Create a family tree for yourself or someone you know. 2)  Develop an activity or project that brings families and friends together to celebrate their heritage and cultural diversity in a festive way. 3) Do two activities that young women in previous generations would have done as part of their everyday lives (short list given). 4) Make a collection of pictures of old buildings in your community or local area, then select one building and learn all you can about it. 5) Learn more about family traditions. 6) Search out information about your community’s heritage.
  • Technology 1) Locate an old work site and find out all you can about it. 2) Compare the way records were kept 50 years ago and how they are kept today. 3) Make comparisons between the way people live today and 100 years ago. 4) How is computer technology useful in gathering historical information.
  • Service Projects: 1) Conduct family interviews and compile an oral history. 2) Plan a project to increase community awareness and pride in your cultural heritage. 3) Volunteer a couple of hours each week at a local library, historical preservation society, etc. 4) Identify several examples of literature that represent the cultural diversity in your community.
  • Career Exploration: 1) Choose a woman of the past and learn all you can about her. 2) Create a collage that represent five or six careers that women in your community have. 3) Identify various careers that are a legacy in your family. 4) Contact your local historical society and ask about services provided to the community. 5) Learn about adoption procedures and how they have changed over time.