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The Golden Eaglet

Atlanta’s Original Golden Eaglets

Golden Eaglet Pin, 1919-1939

The highest honor awarded by the Girl Scouts, currently named the Gold Award, was once named the Golden Eaglet (1919-1939). To earn this award, the girls had to demonstrate proficiency in 21 diverse subjects ranging from nature studies to athletics to homemaker activities. To become a Golden Eaglet, you had to:

  1. Be a First Class Girl Scout.
  2. Hold a Letter of Commendation (also known as the  Medal of Merit, 1922-1926).
  3. Be a registered Girl Scout at least three years.
  4. Girl Scout Economist Badge, 1920-1927

    Hold 15 specified merit badges plus six additional of candidate’s own choice. The required 15 had to be (1919-1926): Athlete, Bird Hunter or Flower Finder or Zoologist; Child Nurse, Citizen, Cook, Dressmaker, Economist, First Aide, Health Guardian, Health Winner, Homemaker, Home Nurse, Hostess, Laundress, and Pioneer.

Atlanta's First Golden Eaglets

Atlanta's First Golden Eaglets

On Saturday, February 9, 1924, the Golden Eaglet awards were presented to Edna Karston of Troop 18 and Elizabeth Skeen of Troop 2, in the Chamber of Commerce Assembly Hall at 3 o’clock. From the Atlanta Constitution:

“The badges were presented by Miss Dorris Hough, regional director of the southern states, who made a special trip to Atlanta for this occasion. The picture on the left is of Elizabeth Skeen and the one on the right is of Edna Karston.”

Mary Elizabeth Skeen, 1924

Mary Elizabeth Skeen, 1924

Mary Elizabeth Skeen (Mrs. Thomas Wiley Dawsey) was born on February 4, 1910, in Tifton, Georgia, and was the daughter of Lola Percy Skeen and Rebecca Baldwin Skeen. She later attended Agnes Scott College from 1928-1932, graduating with a B.A. in English, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She began work in 1935 on a Master’s degree in Political Science at the University of Chicago, and then married Thomas Wiley Dawsey on July 4, 1936, had a family, and moved to many places in the United States. She died on August 10, 2008, and is buried in Westview Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia.

Edna Karston, 1924

Edna Karston, 1924

Edna Karston (Mrs. Lester Earl Bush) later married and had a family. We are in the process of learning more about her life after Girl Scouts and will post the details when we receive them.

Note: Before the Golden Eaglet, the highest Scout award was the Silver Fish (1912–1916), but this was technically a Girl Guiding award and no American girl ever earned it. The next was called the Golden Eagle of Merit (1916–1919). However, the charter for the Atlanta Girl Scout Council was signed by Juliette Low on August 5, 1921, two years after the Golden Eaglet became the highest award.

New SWAPS Exhibit

Becca in front of her "Garden Swaps" Exhibit

Becca Andrews of Troop 14255 (Cumming, Georgia) created this new exhibit using “swaps” donated by Sandy Boatner of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archives. Becca created this display to support her work on the National Art Honors Society at Lambert High School in Forsyth County.  She feels its important to showcase that girls of any age can make a contribution towards Scouting. Becca has been a Girl Scout for 12 years and is now an Ambassador Girl Scout in 11th grade. She is currently working on her Gold Award. Her project is to help girls obtain prom dresses and attend their high school prom who otherwise would not be able to afford a new dress or the price of the ticket to the prom. Providing the means for girls to experience an iconic part of the teenage years is a valuable service to the community and the girls who will remember that night for a very long time.

Swaps are an important part of the Girl Scout experience. One of the most used definitions is: Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere. When attending events such as Camporee, girls will exchange little handmade keepsakes to remind the giver and the receiver of the fun experience they both shared. The swaps are even more special when created from recycled or reused products, such as an old film canister. (Girl Scouts were reusing and recycling long before it became popular!)

An example of a Swap Hat

Often girls will create a “Swap Hat” from the various swaps they’ve received over the years at different events. It is a great ice breaker at camp or other get-togethers, as girls love to describe when and where they got each swap. The girls wear their hat with pride, and know that each hat is unique and special. Swaps can also be pinned on kerchiefs, yarn/cloth necklaces, bags, or just about anything that displays the handiwork and imagination of an individual Girl Scout.