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.)
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!
Thanksgiving is only two days away and we want to continue our celebration of Native American Heritage Month here at the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archives! Did you know that Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta has two Council’s Own badges about the Native Americans of Georgia? Called “Georgia’s Native People,” a badge can be earned by both Brownies and Juniors that teaches all about the American Indians that were once so prevalent here in the northern region of Georgia.
The Brownie badge features a traditional Cherokee Indian design, one that might have been woven onto a girl’s dress using quills or beads.
The Junior badge also features a traditional Cherokee design, a flower that a girl might bead into her moccasins.
Both badges focus on the history, traditions, and culture of the Native American Cherokee Indian tribe and help girls find out what it was like to be a girl who lived as one of Georgia’s First People.
Both of these badges are available in your local Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Badge and Sash Store now! If you and your troop is interested in earning this badge, you can download a pdf version of the requirements here for the Brownie badge, and here for the Juniors.
If you have any questions about either of these badges or would like to check out one of the several resource boxes pertaining to this badge that we have available in the Resource Center at the Mableton Service Center, please contact us or stop on by!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Did you know that November is Native American Heritage Month? It seems only fitting that during the month in which we celebrate the first Thanksgiving the English Settlers and the American Indians shared back in 1621, we should take some time to learn more about the people that called this land home long before the “Pilgrims” ever arrived.
Here are just a few places on the internet that you can check out to learn a little more about Native American culture and heritage: History.com, Wikipedia, National Museum of the American Indian website, and countless more.
Did you know that from 1963-1980 there was a Junior Proficiency Badge called Indian Lore? It featured an embroidered image of a Native American kachina doll of the Native American Hopi tribe. It is a figure carved of wood, or root, and it is used to teach young girls about the katsina, beings that control aspects of nature such as rain, and act as messengers between people and the spiritual world.
Here are the requirements for the Indian Lore badge:
1. Know the history of the Indians who once lived nearest your home. Describe their homes, costumes, and food and tell where their descendants live today.
2. Describe briefly the different kinds of Indians that lived in North America. Tell how their way of life was affected by the part of the country in which they lived.
3. Tell what states have names of Indian origin. Give the meaning of three names.
4. Read at least 3 Indian legends. Choose one and tell it to a group of Brownies or other friends.
5. Make a useful article such as a sheath for a knife or ax and decorate it with authentic Indian designs. OR make a model of a tepee or other type of Indian dwelling.
6. Learn to play an Indian game and teach it to your patrol or troop. OR show some Indian dance steps OR perform an Indian dance in camp or at a troop meeting.
7. Teach an Indian song to your patrol. Explain its meaning and how the song was used by the Indians. OR make a simple Indian musical instrument and use it in camp or at a troop meeting.
Although the Indian Lore badge was unfortunately retired in 1980 it can still be earned and if you are interested in acquiring some of these badges for your troop, please contact us! We have many resources at our fingertips to help you in your search. Keep an eye out for next week’s blog post as we here at the GSGATL History and Archives Committee continue our celebration of Native American Heritage Month!
Everyone knows the saying, “Once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout,” right? Well, did you also know that “Once a badge, always a badge?” YES! If you can find the retired/discontinued badges that you want (think eBay, Etsy, or even back-stock at your local Badge and Sash store and/or council online stores), then you can earn them with your girls! This is wonderful news for us here in the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta History and Archives Committee because that means that several awesome history-related badges that we thought were previously unavailable are now available again!
One badge is a Brownie try-it called “Listening to the Past.” We’ve made a blog post all about this badge and the requirements involved and if you’re interested, click here to read it.
Another badge for Juniors is called “Across Generations.” Girls must earn any six of the following ten requirements:
- These Are Their Lives
Interview one or more older adults to find out about their lives. Ask them about dates, special events, or other important days that they remember. Create a painting, time line, or scrapbook showing these important experiences. Give it to the person you interviewed.
- Learn a New Skill
Invite a person who is 70 years old or older and has a special hobby or skill to share it with your troop or family.
- Make A Friend
Visit a person in a nursing home or senior center at least two times. Ask her about her live, share pictures from your life, teach her one of today’s songs or learn a song from her childhood.
- Be A Helper
Find a way to assist an older person in your community. Help an older neighbor with her gardening, help a friend’s grandmother with chores, or read to someone whose eyesight is failing.
- Service Directory
With your troop create a list of community agencies, schools, house of worship, or organizations that help older people. Contact each organization and find out if it allo2ws girls to volunteer. If it does, what commitment is required? Does the organization provide training? Compile this information in a directory. Work with your leader or another adult to make copies of the directory available for people who want to do service project.
- Girl Scouts Past and Present
Find women in your community who were Girl Scouts from 1912 to 1950. Invite them to share their Girl Scout memories with you. What has stayed the same in Girl Scouting? What has changed?
- Share the Fun
Visit a nursing home, retirement home, or senior citizen’s center. Participate in an activity such as singing or a game or craft session. Or create a special activity that you then share with a group of senior citizens.
- Love What You Do
Invite an individual over the age of 65, who is active in her career, to come to your troop or group and discuss what has made her happy and successful in her work.
- What’s So Funny?
Find out how humor has changed over the years. Look at cartoons or comic books from 20 or 30 years ago. Ask your local librarian to help you find them. Next, read the funnies in your local paper or your favorite comic book. What’s different? What’s the same?
- Food Through the Years
Invite a senior citizen to do a cooking project with you. Prepare recipe she enjoyed as a youngster. Ask her how food preparation has changed. Are some ingredients that used to be easily available now hard to find? What new kitchen equipment has been invented that makes cooking much quicker and easier?
Also for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors there is a badge called “Heritage Hunt.” Like the above Brownie try-it, we’ve written a blog post about this badge before. Click here to check out the requirements!
These are just a few examples of the retired and/or discontinued history-related badges that can still be earned! There are plenty of others out there, all you have to do is a little searching. If you have any questions or need help with any of these badges, please contact us at GirlScoutArchivesAtlanta@gmail.com.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Find out how audiovisual materials such as videotapes, music cassettes, films, slides, and photographs are preserved.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- Work as an intern or aide in a museum.
In our Georgia Archives Month Display, we highlight badges current Girl Scouts can earn that relate to history. At the Brownie level (grades 2-3), one of the badges that can be earned is called “Her Story” On pages 106-107 of Try-Its for Brownie Girl Scouts (New York: Girl Scouts of the USA, 2000), the badge description and suggested activities are listed. In earning the badge, the Brownie is required to do four activities out of six.
“An issue is a subject or topic that people may have strong feelings about and want to discuss. How can you learn about issues important to women and girls?”
- A Girl Scout’s Story: Read about Juliette Gordon Low in your Brownie Girl Scout Handbook. Or check out her story online. Then try to find a woman in your community who was a Girl Scout a long time ago. Invite her to speak to your troop, if possible, or interview her. Find out about her memories of being a Girl Scout.
- Talk to Women: Ask five women to tell you about what they believe are the three most important issues facing women today. Make sure you ask women of different ages, from teenagers to women over 70 years old. Include at least two women from a race or ethnic group different from your own. How are the answers similar or different? Share what you learned with the other girls in your troop or group.
- Create Tales: What are some of your favorite fables and fairy tales? Would these stories be different if they were written today? How would the girls and women in the story be different? Or would they be the same? Change a story to show how today’s girls and women would think, feel, or act. Share your story with others. Write it down, draw a comic strip, or act it out.
- A Ceremony to Honor Women: Plan a simple ceremony to honor women. You can recite poems written by girls or women. Or you might like to perform a skit or make up a song about a woman in history or in your community. If you can play an instrument, play along to the song. Invite women who are special to you and your community.
- Help in Your Community: Service is an important part of being a Girl Scout. Look at the section on service on page 92 of your handbook. Would you like to do a service project that helps women and children? Choose a service project you would like to do, with your leader’s assistance, from the following list: 1) Make baby bundles. Include supplies like diapers, baby wipes, and bottles. Donate them to a community agency. 2) With your troop or group, make a quilt to give to a woman and her newborn baby at a local hospital. 3) Collect toiletries like toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorants, shampoo, combs, and hairbrushes and give them to a shelter that helps homeless women.
- Your Story: Think about where you will be when you are a grown-up. Create a time line for yourself like the one below. Write in your time line what you would like to do or to have happen in your future.
For leaders and interested readers, further information about women in Georgia can be found at
- Georgia Women of Achievement: Recognizing and honoring women native to or clearly identified with the State of Georgia. Juliette Low was one of the first women inducted in 1992.
- Georgia State University’s Women Collection: Established in 1995, is dedicated to collecting, preserving and making available the documentary heritage of women in Georgia and the South.
- Women’s History Month Resources from the Digital Library of Georgia
Girl Scouts In Action: Helping Women in the Community
At the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, Morgan Coffey, 18, was honored as being one of ten 2009 National Young Women of Distinction. To be considered for this honor, the Girl Scouts had to have earned Girl Scouts’ highest award, the Girl Scout Gold Award, and spent one to two years on a community action project that has had far-reaching effects in her community and beyond.
She wanted to help victims of abuse so she created both the Victim Support Initiative, which provides 500 brochures filled with helpful information for victims of abuse, and are distributed by the DeKalb Police Department’s Special Victims Unit, and Change in a Bag, which provides abuse victims a fresh change of clothing. Morgan also founded the non-profit, Stronghold Atlanta, to help women and children who are victims of domestic violence. The full press release from March 18, 2010 is in PDF.
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.
There are many badges that Juniors (grades 4-5) can earn that relate to history in their badgebook. One of these is the very first one in their book (Junior Girl Scout Badgebook, New York: Girl Scouts of the USA, 2001) called “Girl Scouting Around the World.”
This badge is a great one for a new Girl Scout to work on, as it gives her a better appreciation of the organization to which she now belongs. It also discusses and lets the girls explore some of the most important traditions within Girl Scouting. The building on the badge is a depiction of The Girl Scouts Chalet in Adelboden, Switzerland, affectionately called “Our Chalet.” To earn this badge, a Junior must finish six of the ten suggested activities.
As a Girl Scout, you are not only a member of Girl Scouts of the USA, but also a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, known as WAGGGS. As a WAGGGS member, you are part of a sisterhood of millions of girls who share many of your Girl Scout values and traditions. This badge will help you discover the global reach of the Girl Scout community.
- Thinking Day: Thinking Day falls on February 22 each year. Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouting, and his wife, Lady Olave Baden-Powell had the same birthdays on that day, so February 22 was chosen as a time for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides to celebrate international friendship and world peace. Plan a way to celebrate Thinking Day that recognizes your Girl Scout connection to girls around the world.
- WAGGGS on the Web: Check out the WAGGGS website to find out about the different countries that are members of WAGGGS, and the projects that are being sponsored by that organization. Share what you learned with your troop, group, or other girls.
- Show the World: Create a display that shows how Girl Scouts are part of a world sisterhood. Exhibit your display for Girl Scout troops or groups, your Girl Scout council, your school, or a local library.
- Connect with Younger Girls: Create a game or storybook for younger Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world. Try out your game or storybook at a neighborhood event, at camp, or at a bridging ceremony for younger Girl Scouts.
- Girl Scout Central: Visit Girl Scouting’s official online site for all things Girl Scout: Girl Scout Central! Click on the link to WAGGGS to find out more about this world-wide organization. Also look at “travel” and check out special international places you and your Girl Scout friends might want to visit.
- Girl Scouting’s Founder: Juliette Gordon Low: Find out about the Juliette Gordon Low World Friendship Fund. What does this fund do? How do girls all around the world benefit from the money in the fund?
- International Expert: Choose one country where Girl Guiding/Girl Scouting exists. Become an expert on that country and the activities girl members can do there. Learn a game, song, craft, recipe, or activity unique to that country and share it with others.
- World Service: Find out about a world problem that affects girls your age. You could think of a problem related to the environment, hunger, poverty, illiteracy, or another issue. Share what you have researched with other girls and think of some ways girls in WAGGGS could help solve this problem.
- Common Roots: Learn about the lives of Lord and Lady Baden-Powell. Also find out about how the Girl Guide movement came about. Share your information with members of our troop/group or with a Brownie Girl Scout troop.
- WAGGGS Travel: WAGGGS has four World Centers that any Girl Scout can visit. Find out the following about each of the four centers. Where is it? How can you get there? What types of events and activities can a visitor take part in there? You can find this information online at the WAGGGS web site.