The 53rd Girl Scouts National Convention came to a close yesterday in Salt Lake City, Utah. It took place October 16 – 19 and this year’s theme was “Discover, Connect, Take Action: Girls Change the World!” At each and every Girl Scout National Convention speakers and entertainers from across the country and globe lead sessions and offer numerous opportunities for personal and professional development as well of lots of Girl Scout networking. Many people, from GSUSA CEO Anna Marie Chavez to the famous exhibition basketball team, Harlem Globetrotters, were there this year to help facilitate the learning for volunteers and staff from Girl Scout Councils across the country in fun and interesting ways!
One of our very own committee members, Pamela Nye, was at this year’s National Convention representing the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archives Committee! She not only attended the 2014 Girl Scout History Conference that took place right before the convention on October 14 – 16, but she presented there too! Pam gave 2 presentations, one was an Archives 101 for Girl Scout volunteers all about how to easily create and organize your archives collection and the other was about metadata, how to easily create information and descriptions for any stored data and archives that Councils may already have. She also served on several panels answering questions about archival practices and how they apply to your own troop and council.
Did you know that 9 years ago, in 2005, the 50th Girl Scout National Convention was held here in Atlanta? At the time, before the nation-wide council mergers of 2008, there were 8 Girl Scout Councils in Georgia. The 3 Greater Atlanta area councils that hosted the 2005 convention were the Council of Northwest Georgia, Northeast Georgia, and Pine Valley. The 2005 convention was held October 7 – 10 and while the Girl Scout History Conference was not held before the convention that year, one of the presentations in the Hall of Exhibits that year was “Girl Scouts Make History,” where you could learn all about Daisy, the house in Savannah in which she grew up, and lots of other things like vintage uniforms, dolls, and other collectibles.
It has already been announced that the 54th National Girl Scout Convention in 2017 is going to be held in Columbus, Ohio, and the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archives blog will have more info as it becomes available! We can’t wait and hope to see you there!
At GSUSA’s 2011 National Council Session and 52nd Convention in Houston, Texas, many adult Girl Scouts wore vintage uniforms to celebrate the Girl Scouts’ 100th anniversary. Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta’s History/Archives committee members also participated in this fun activity. Gigi Baroco wore a Norfolk khaki uniform from the mid-1920s and Joyce Overcash-Dudley wore a Mariner uniform from the late 1950s. Joyce made both replicas. The convention’s theme was “Renewing the Promise: Girl Scouts in a New Century” and the Take Action Project continues to be “Forever Green.” The opening ceremony was grand, with uniformed girls carrying the 145 colorful flags of the WAGGGS members, followed by girls wearing 1912 navy blue replica uniforms and carrying the green 100th anniversary flags. More girls attended than ever before and the ten Women of Distinction inspired us all. The girls who attended the Girl Scout Leadership Institute had experiences that demonstrated that 2011 Girl Scouts do have courage, confidence and character.
During the convention, Kathy Cloninger was given a warm “goodbye” and Anna Maria Chavez was welcomed as the new CEO of GSUSA. There were fewer proposals to the Blue Book this time and many more break-out sessions and activities. “Conversations of Consequence” covered topics such as, “Be a Leader, Not a Bully;” “Girl Scouts Explore the Female Factor” led by Susan Cartsonis, film Producer and President of Storefront Pictures; “Moving Beyond Diversity to Inclusion” led by CNN’s Soledad O’Brien; “Nobody’s Perfect” led by actress Marlee Matlin; and many others.
Guest speakers and Center Stage performances included ABC’s Katie Couric, Robin Roberts and Cheryl Burton; Ingrid Saunders Jones, SVP of The Coca-Cola Company; combat pilot Vernice “Fly Girl” Armour; actress Monique Coleman, the Harlem Globetrotters which now has a female player; a Justine Magazine fashion show; singing by Yolanda Adams, Katie Armiger, Sara Bareilles, Emily Hearn, Mindless Behavior and others.
The Hall of Exhibits featured a Global Lounge with representatives from WAGGGS, the Girl Scout Superstore, eighty commercial vendors, twenty not-for-profit organizations offering programs and resources, a Storytelling Lounge, and Swap and Meet booths. Joyce and Gigi were amazed that they ran into so many Girl Scouts that they knew among the over 12,700 attendees. On Saturday the attendees topped out at over 15,000 Girl Scouts. If you haven’t attended a Girl Scout convention, you should try to get to the next one. It will be in Salt Lake City in 2014!
In 2008, the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta was formed from the former councils of Girl Scouts of Northwest Georgia, Girl Scouts of Pine Valley, and Forsyth County (former Girl Scouts of Northeast Georgia Council). Girl Scouts of Pine Valley was originally comprised of Butts, Carroll, Coweta, Fayette, Haralson, Heard, Henry, Lamar, Meriwether, Pike, Spaulding, Troup, and Upson counties.
During April and May 2011, the Council Archives received council records, photographs, uniforms, handbooks, pins, patches, troop scrapbooks, songbooks, videos, and more from the former Pine Valley Council office in Griffin, Georgia. Council staff have been carefully preserving records and artifacts from Pine Valley and ensuring that they are deposited into the Council Archives in Mableton, Georgia.
One interesting item from this collection is a panoramic picture taken at the 1960 Girl Scout National Council Convention, November 14-18, 1960 in St. Louis, Missouri. Held every three years, the 52nd Girl Scout National Convention is set for this coming November10-13, 2011, in Houston, Texas. The very first National Convention was held in 1915 in Washington, D.C., where the constitution and bylaws were adopted, and Juliette Gordon Low was elected National President of the Girl Scouts from 1915-1920.
Among the uniforms we received was one dating from 1914. It is a homemade tan Intermediate (or “Junior” equivalent) uniform consisting of two pieces: one long-sleeved middy blouse and a skirt which is 32” long. (A middy blouse is a loose blouse with a sailor’s collar, worn by children and women). Another interesting uniform is a 1953-60 era Girl Mariner blue uniform. (The Mariners interest group was launched to give Senior Girl Scouts an opportunity to develop skills in boating, sailing, navigation, and water safety.) The hats in the collection included both girl and adult hats. The adult hats ranged in dates from 1948-1972, and a few of the girl hats included a dark brown Brownie beanie with an orange logo (used 1962-1993) and a Senior overseas hat with yellow cord and logo (used 1956-71).
A few of the treasured handbooks we received included a Wing Scout Manual (used from 1949-1955), a 1938 Badge Handbook, and a 1939 Leaders’ Guide (used from 1939-1947). The Wing Scout program was a Senior Girl Scout program for girls interested in flying and wanting to serve their country, started in 1941 and ending in the 1970s. In July 1942, 29 troop leaders from fifteen states met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to take Wing Scout leadership training. These leaders returned to their councils and began setting up Wing Scout troops. In 1959, Girl Scout Council in North San Mateo County, California was presented with an offer from United Airlines San Francisco Management Club President J. L. Burnside to start an aviation program for Senior Girl Scouts. One of the highlights of the Wing Scout program was the courtesy flight provided to Senior Girl Scouts using United Airlines’ jets. For many of the girls, this was the first time they had flown in a plane. Senior Girl Scouts who had been in the program for three years were given the opportunity to take over the controls during flight in a small aircraft. The program was discontinued after United Airlines experienced financial setbacks in the 1970s.
We also received the flag of the Girl Scouts of Pine Valley Council. It is 3 x 5 feet, made of nylon with the traditional Girl Scout logo in the middle. The Council flag would have flown in front of their office. Do you have pictures of this flag flying in Griffin or being used in a flag ceremony? We would love to see it “in action.”