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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!

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Make it a Girl Scout Easter!

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:

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Girl Scout Troop 41764 of Middletown, Ohio

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.

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Girl Scout Troop 327 of Glasgow, New York

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:

1939 Brownie Scouts making baskets

1939 Brownie Scouts making baskets

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!

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Happy December!

vintage aluminum GS cookie cutter, 1949-80

vintage aluminum GS cookie cutter, 1949-80

December marks the beginning of the season of baking- pies, cakes, cookies, desserts of all kinds! Well, did you know that the first week of December is National Cookie Cutter Week? National Cookie Cutter Week was started in the mid 1990’s for the members of the Cookie Cutter Collector’s Club. How fun, right? Girl Scout cookie season may not start for at least a month, but let’s go ahead and take a look at some of the different Girl Scout cookie cutters throughout the years!

vintage plastic GS cookie cutter, 1986-87

vintage plastic GS cookie cutter, 1986-87

Did you know that the very first Girl Scout cookie sale didn’t feature pre-made, pre-packaged cookies? Girls and volunteers spent time in their own kitchens baking cookies, cutting them into trefoil shapes, and wrapping them in wax paper. The earliest mention of a Girl Scout cookie sale dates back to 1917 in Oklahoma and the first time the Atlanta Girl Scout Council held a cookie sale was in 1936! Check out a couple of our past posts to read all about the first Atlanta cookie sale and check out an early Girl Scout cookie recipe!

Metal GS cookie cutter, 2014

Metal GS cookie cutter, 2014

Cookies make a perfect, inexpensive gift that girls of almost any age can help adults make and then give to leaders, volunteers, teachers… anyone! A modern version of the metal, trefoil shaped GS cookie cutter can be found online, sold through the GSUSA website or take a look at your local Badge and Sash store and see if they’re in stock!

Happy December and Happy Baking, everyone!

1930s Cookie Season

Most folks know that nationwide, Girl Scout Cookie season has begun! Girls started going door-to-door on Friday, January 6, 2012, and will take initial orders through January 23, 2012. There are even websites and apps to help you find a local cookie booth sale. Did you know that one of our historic Councils–the Atlanta Girl Scout Council–began selling cookies in 1936?

The Atlanta Girl Scout Council sponsored its first Girl Scout cookie sale in 1936 to raise money to expand Camp Civitania. The next year, the cookie sale proceeds were used to raise money to repair flood damage at the camp.

“In Atlanta, we made them (the cookies) ourselves. We made the cookies and we took them downtown. We wrapped them in waxed paper and tied them,then took them out and sold them. This lasted several years until we hired a baker.” ~Ellen Newell Bryan, long time Girl Scout volunteer and member of the National Girl Scout Board, in an interview at age 91

Even so, under the leadership of Mrs. Charles Shepherd, the girls of the Atlanta Council sold 7,867 dozen, bringing in $500. The next year, the girls and their parents sold 11,000 dozen cookies. Eventually, the cookie sales became so successful that the girls could no longer bake the cookies themselves, and the council contracted with a series of bakers to produce them.

In 1939, the first year that the cookies were embossed with the Girl Scout insignia, the council sold 17,000 dozen cookies. Mrs. Shepherd was given the Thanks Badge, the highest honor in Girl Scouting, for her work on the cookie sale.