Blog Archives

Retired History Badges

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!

listening to the past

 

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:

across generations

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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?
  10. 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?

heritage hunt

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.

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GS Archives History Conference 2013

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1960 GSUSA National Convention framed photograph. From the collection of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archives.

By now, those of you on the Girl Scout History Listserv will have heard about the announcement from National:

The Girl Scout National Historic Preservation Center (NHPC) is pleased to announce that History Conference 2013 will take place at Edith Macy Conference Center (EMCC/Macy), Briar Cliff Manor, New York, from Monday, 9 September through Wednesday, 11 September 2013.

This conference is perfect for those starting or maintaining a GS Council Archives, and who have never been an archivist before. Be sure to mark your calendars and send someone from your Council to attend. It will be a great conference, and we will be posting more details as we have them.

District V Exhibit: First African American Girl Scouts in Atlanta

First African American Girl Scouts in Atlanta Exhibit

There is a new exhibit at the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Headquarters in Mableton, Georgia in honor of Black History Month. It is called “In The Lives of District V- The Untold Story of Atlanta’s  First African-American Girl Scout Troops.”

1940s Girl Scout uniform

The Greater Atlanta Chapter History/Archives committee features the stories from the first Atlanta African-American Girl Scout troops that began in 1943.  The showcase displays 25 items including photographs of Girl Scout memorabilia.  Pins and vintage uniforms pieces from the 1940 – 50’s reflect District V’s achievements in scouting. Part of the area covered by District V included the Auburn district of downtown Atlanta.

There are more than ten black and white photographs in the exhibit. Some are from The Atlanta Daily World newspaper and one is from a Jet Magazine photo shoot that featured 1953 Senior Girl Scout All State Camper, Roslyn Pope. Replicas of Miss Pope’s uniform with badges are also included.

Girl Scouts Thanks Badge

Miss Bazoline Usher in 1943 headed 25 to 30 African-American women to start troops for girls of color, which became District V.  Miss Usher worked many years with the Girl Scouts.  She received Girl Scouts’ highest honor, the “Thank You” pin, in the mid 1940’s.  The pin, also known as the Thanks Badge, is displayed along with Miss Usher’s photograph. There is a list of other honorees awarded this pin for their exceptional service that benefited the entire Girl Scout council.  It is a gold filled and enamel medallion on a blue grosgrain ribbon.

District V Girl Scout Troop counting out cookie profits

District V in their first year as Girl Scouts placed second in cookie sales in Atlanta.  A photograph from the The Atlanta Daily World depicts scouts and Troop Leader with cookie boxes and counting their profits.

Girl Scouts from District V were able to experience camp life at Camp J.K. Orr in Lovejoy, Georgia, which was rented from the Boy Scouts of America.  A brochure called Camping for me (1963) promotes District V’s first official campsite in Carver Park. The George Washington Carver State Park is the first Georgia state park for African-Americans.  Carver Park neighbors Girl Scout Camp Pine Acres on Lake Allatoona near Acworth. Some other artifacts include a sample size tent as well as a cookie case from the 1960s. A timeline which highlights the many historical events in Girl Scouts District V concludes the exhibit.

The exhibit is located in the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Service Center, available Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, and on weekends during events. Be sure and go see it while you are there! If you were a Girl Scout in District V, we would love to hear from you! Contact Margaret Paschal at 770-702-9411 or at mpaschal [at] gsgatl.org. [link not included to reduce spam]

Special thanks to Rhonda Barrow, Sue Belden, Denise McGill, Margaret Paschal and TaMara Powell for creating this educational and interesting exhibit.

Georgia Archives Month 2011

Georgia History--Worth Saving!

It’s that time again! If you missed it last year, it’s not too late! October is Georgia Archives Month, where we celebrate archives and history throughout Georgia. Last month and this month have been busy at the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archives, as requests have been coming in for information on Council history and loans of material for programs and exhibits. Everyone is gearing up for the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting! We are so excited!

What sort of questions are you asking at troop meetings or service unit meetings? We would love to start compiling a FAQ of Council and Girl Scout history that you could share with your scouts and parents. Please send in your questions to helpline@gsgatl.org. We will create a new page on our blog devoted to helping you discover more about our Council and Girl Scout history in general that you will be able to access 24/7 (or at least when your Internet connection is working).

Come in to the HQ in Mableton, Georgia, and view our exhibits on the way to the Badge & Sash store, in the main training room, or while you visit the Resource Room. We have handbooks, uniforms, dolls, quilts, and camping exhibits that illustrate our rich history.

Research at the Archives: Camp Scout Haven

An example of a "swap" from Scout Haven

In February of 2011, three Kennesaw Mountain High School students approached Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta for help with a school research project: the history of Camp Scout Haven. There were many parts to their project, including original sources, an interview, a research essay, a display and a formal presentation in front of a committee. The purpose of the project was to collect enough information to justify Camp Scout Haven become a historic preservation site. Some of the students’ questions included:

  • When did this camp start to be used by the Girl Scouts?
  • How often is this campsite used?
  • What are the conditions of this camp?
  • How long has Scout Haven been around?
  • What are the pros and cons of Scout Haven? (Could it be eliminated as a camp?)
  • Do you know when this home was built?
  • What is the history behind this home? (What events occurred there, who has managed it, how and why was it built)
  • Where can we find the records of this home?

Falcon's Roost Lodge at Camp Scout Haven. An ideal "first-time" camping unit in a quiet setting.

The resources we were able to provide were the Girl Scouts of Cobb County Scrapbook (1947-49); photographs of Camp Scout Haven from 1956 and 1957; personal recollections of Scout Haven, collected by Sue Belden, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archivist, from Alice Harbin, Executive Director of the Cobb County Girl Scouts in 1957; camp and financial reports garnered from the Gerry Wells collection by Sue Belden; and Scout Haven-related articles from “The Council Bulletin” and council day camp brochures.

The students have promised to send us a copy of their research paper and video interview with Margaret Paschal, Archives Committee Member, and to let us know when their project will be on display later this spring.

Swaying Pines, the day use shelter at Camp Scout Haven

Scout Haven Trivia:

  • The beauty of the camp site was the main reason Alice Harbin accepted the position of Executive Director of the Cobb County Girl Scout Council in 1957.
  • The first building built at Scout Haven was the “dining hall” – the screen building later known as the summer lodge and now as part of the Swaying Pines day use area.
  • The platform tent units (Green Grove and Sunny Hill) were not completed and named until after the great merger in 1964.
  • The cost of ten days of day camp in 1966 was $9.00.
  • The tornado that came through the camp in the 1990s skipped over the lodges and huts but dropped pine trees on the tents and unit shelters; only the tent platforms survived!

Do you have memories of Camp Scout Haven you would like to share? You can post a comment here, visit our Girl Scout Memories Facebook page, or fill out the “It’s Your Story…Tell it! form on the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta website. We are all ears!

An Early Cookie Recipe

As many of you know, it’s Girl Scout Cookie Time again. Perhaps you’ve seen uniformed girls in your neighborhood earlier in the year and now you have your Thin Mints on hand. Ever wonder which cookie was the first?  The earliest mention of a cookie sale found to date by GSUSA was that of the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, which baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project in December 1917. According to the GSUSA website, an early cookie recipe was reported in The American Girl in July 1922. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy! (If you make the cookies yourself, please feel free to send a picture and tell us the results!)

An Early Girl Scout Cookie® Recipe

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar plus additional amount for topping (optional)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder

Cream butter and the cup of sugar; add well-beaten eggs, then milk, vanilla, flour, salt, and baking powder. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Roll dough, cut into trefoil shapes, and sprinkle sugar on top, if desired. Bake in a quick oven (375°) for approximately 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Makes six- to seven-dozen cookies.

Note: If you are wondering where your local booth sale will be, check out the Cookie Locator.

Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta: Beginnings

In 2002, as part of the celebration of 90 years of Girl Scouting, the former Girl Scout Council of Northwest Georgia [now part of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta] published a council history, intended to “inspire the reader to lead Girl Scouting to even greater heights in the future.” [Thomas, Mary Booth. The Girl Scout Council of Northwest Georgia, Inc.: A History of Service. Atlanta: Girl Scout Council of Northwest Georgia, Inc., 2002]

As soon as the Atlanta Girl Scout Council was organized in 1921, Girl Scouting grew by leaps and bounds. Within a year, the council had grown from five troops to 27 troops with a membership of 562 registered Girl Scouts. All of the troops were organized at the request of the girls themselves.

Rock Springs Presbyterian Church

In 1915, the first Girl Scout troop in Atlanta was organized at Rock Spring Presbyterian Church, then in suburban Atlanta [now in the Piedmont Heights neighborhood of Atlanta between Monroe Drive and Cheshire Bridge Road]. The troop of 18 girls was led by the pastor’s wife Mrs. A. Linton Johnson who organized the South’s second Girl Scout Camp in 1915. The troop disbanded when Mrs. Johnson left Atlanta after her husband enlisted as a U.S. Army chaplain at the beginning of World War I.

By the time the Atlanta Council was founded in 1921, there were five troops in the city: at Fort McPherson, Girls High School, North Avenue Presbyterian School (Bolton, GA), and St. Luke’s Church. They were “lone” troops with no connection with one another. They conducted their program through correspondence with national headquarters, then in Washington, DC.

The Atlanta Girl Scout Council began on the morning of July 12, 1921 at 611 Peachtree Street, home of Mrs. Albert Thornton, who called together a group of women to organize Girl Scouting in the Atlanta area. The group elected officers and made a formal application to the national council for a charter. The original council included Fulton and DeKalb counties. The charter was granted on August 5, 1921 and signed by Juliette Gordon Low herself.

[The home is no longer there, but is close to the current site of North Avenue Presbyterian Church. The church is also the creator of the North Avenue Presbyterian Schools, now renamed The Westminster Schools of Atlanta.]

Her Story

Her Story Brownie Try-It Badge

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?”

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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

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.

Happy 150th Birthday, Juliette!!

From the Girl Scouts First Headquarters in Savannah, Georgia

As Georgia Archives Month comes to a close, it’s only fitting to also bid Happy Birthday to our founder, Juliette Gordon Low. This year marks her 150th birthday, as she was born October 31, 1860.

Juliette shows up on the recent edition of the Fall 2010 issue of the Georgia Historical Quarterly, gracing the cover in a kimono, ca. 1886, just in time for her birthday. The issue includes a photo essay, Girl Scouting in Savannah 1912-1927.

On Sunday, October 31, the Girl Scouts First Headquarters relit the “Eternal Flame of Friendship” in the courtyard of the former Low Carriage House.  It was originally lit at Girl Scout First Headquarters on November 14, 1963 by Daisy Gordon Lawrence, Juliette Gordon Low’s niece and the first registered Girl Scout. The re-lighting ceremony focused on the future. Girl Scouts who attended the Girl Guide Centennial bonfire in England re-lit the flame of friendship in Savannah, linking Girl Scouts to their international sisters as they begin their journey toward the 100th anniversary.

A recent biographer has a blog about Juliette, where her two recent articles detail Juliette’s 30th and 32nd birthday. It’s a fun read!

From the GSUSA’s website:

Juliette Low was very athletic. From her childhood on, Daisy was a strong swimmer. She was Captain of a rowing team as a girl and learned to canoe as an adult. She was also an avid tennis player. One of her special skills was standing on her head. She stood on her head every year on her birthday to prove she still could do it, and also celebrated nieces’ and nephews’ birthdays by standing on her head. Once, she even stood on her head in the board room at National Headquarters to show off the new Girl Scout shoes.”

And finally, on the Girl Scouts of the USA’s blog, there is a list of all the ways Girl Scouts all over the United States are honoring her birthday by volunteering in service projects in their article entitled “Halloween Fun and Good Deed Run-Down.”

Girl Scout History at the Resource Center

Service Center of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta

The Girl Scout Resource Center and the Girl Scout Archives live side-by-side at the Mableton (Atlanta) Service Center. The Resource Center provides hands-on access to history for girls and adults who want to hold or touch as well as look at materials from the past. Leaders may check out older handbooks to share with the girls, or check out an entire activity kit that includes books, uniforms and other Girl Scout as well as popular materials from the past.

The history-based activity kits include:

  • Brownie Girl Scouts Through the Years: 1930s
  • Brownie Girl Scouts Through the Years: 1940
  • Ponytails and Poodle Skirts: Your Sock Hop In a Box (1950s)
  • Discovering Our History (Girl Scouting in the USA)
  • Daisy’s Days: The Life and Times of Juliette Low

There are also “historic” videos (VHS) available for checkout:

“AN INTERVIEW IN TIME”– GSUSA, 1981 – 5 minutes — an imaginary interview with Juliette Low recaps some history of Girl Scouting in the U.S. as well as the ideals behind the Movement; contains many archival photos; explains the organization of Girl Scouts at the national and council levels. Part 1 and Part 2 are on YouTube on the GirlScoutVideos (GSUSA) channel.

“FROM KHAKI TO KELLY: WATCH OUR GIRL SCOUT STYLE”– Greater Minneapolis GSC, 1995 – 20 minutes; this video style show features 24 different historical uniforms; a girl narrator tells the story of the historical period when each uniform was worn, from 1912 to 1995.

“GOLDEN EAGLET, The” — GSUSA, 1918/1982 VHS and DVD – 20 minutes – – this classic silent film (with subtitles) made in 1918 shows the early days of Girl Scouting. Shot on location with real Girl Scouts, it was intended to raise community interest in starting Girl Scout troops. Juliette Low appears briefly at the beginning and end of the movie. Part 1 and Part 2 are on YouTube on the GirlScoutVideos (GSUSA) channel.

“SOMETHING FOR THE GIRLS” — GSUSA, 1962 – 21 minutes – original film was produced for the 50th anniversary of Girl Scouts in the U.S.; shows photos from the early days of Girl Scouting; includes some biographical information about Juliette Low.

“UNCOMMON SENSE” – The History of Juliette Low and the Girl Scouts. Old photographs and interviews tell a short history of Juliette Low’s life up to the founding of the Girl Scouts in America.

“WORLD FRIENDSHIP” – GSUSA, 1948 – 19 minutes — an historical film featuring an international camp for Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from Brazil, Canada and the U.S., held in conjunction with the 12th World Association Conference in Cooperstown, NY; story follows the experiences of three girls in camp, including meeting Lady Baden-Powell; emphasizes the international scope of Girl Guiding and Scouting, and the fun of learning about other countries and cultures.

To find out more about these materials, contact Margaret Paschal, Program Resource Center Coordinator of the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta at 770-702-9610 or mpaschal@gsgatl.org.