Blog Archives

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, a United States federal holiday for remembering the brave men and women who died while serving our country, is observed each year on the last Monday of May. This year it is today, May 25, 2015. People around the nation visit cemeteries and memorials and place American flags on graves to honor those who have died in military service.

Girl Scouts from Sumter County, Ga. place flags on graves in Andersonville National Cemetery

1976: Girl Scouts from Sumter County, Ga. place flags on graves in Andersonville National Cemetery

Girl Scouts have always been involved in volunteerism on and around Memorial Day. In the above picture from 1976, flags are placed on graves by Girl Scouts in Andersonville National Cemetery in Andersonville, Georgia. As well as placing flags, there are so many things you and your troop can do to celebrate and honor Memorial Day! Learn the history of Memorial Day (did you know that it was originally called Decoration Day?), or make a wreath for your troop to place at a local war memorial. Also, make sure to participate in your community’s Memorial Day parade, waving your flags high and proudly wearing your Girl Scout uniform!

Girl Scout float, Randolph County, Ga. parade: 1958

Girl Scout float, Randolph County, Ga. parade: 1958

Whatever you do on this unofficial start of summer, don’t forget to honor the men and women who died serving our country. And don’t forget that important part of the Girl Scout Promise:

“On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.”

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!

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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Merry Christmas, Girl Scouts!

93b00422ee492d0d270f2430281a2b56And Happy Hanukkah and Kwanzaa and St. Lucia Day and Boxing Day and Saturnalia and Omisoka… whew! There are many, many holidays celebrated during the month of December. Girl Scouts of the USA prides itself on being a diverse and multi-cultural organization and we want to recognize them all!

Every February 22nd, Girl Scouts celebrate World Thinking Day, but why not do it all year round? What holidays do you and your family celebrate? Do you have friends or Girl Scout sisters, maybe even in your own troop, that celebrate differently than you?

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Here at the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archives, we wish you Happy Holidays!

Wrapping up 2014 with Girl Scouts…

The year is quickly coming to a close! Have you gotten all your shopping done? No, we haven’t either… But more importantly, do you have enough tissue and wrapping paper? Recently, while going through the archives, trying to find some more cool stuff to take pictures of and share with everyone, I came across some Girl Scout wrapping paper and fabric!  I’m not sure what year the wrapping paper is from, but it’s at least pre-2010 when the logo was updated to give the first girl profile bangs, as well as some other subtle changes. The first wrapping paper I found is an all purpose design and can really be used any time of the year:2014-11-19 13.17.54The next paper I found is more of a holiday theme with the green and gold of the official GSUSA membership pins and the Daisy pins combined with the red background and added pop of blue of the World Association pins. This paper dates from somewhere between 1993 when the current version of the Daisy membership pin was introduced and 2010 when the current girls’ profile logo was introduced:

2014-11-19 13.17.10Another charming way to wrap presents is with fabric! That way, the wrapping itself is part of the gift! Especially if the gift is for someone who sews or is crafty. This classic Girl Scout fabric is from 1959, but if you can’t get your hands on any vintage cloth, there are many current styles out there as well:

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Click on the above image for a closer view and then get out there and get to wrapping!

Georgia’s Native People

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.

Georgia's Native People- Brownie

Georgia’s Native People- Brownie

Georgia's Native People- Junior

Georgia’s Native People- Junior

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!

Native American Heritage Month

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.

Indian Lore 1963-80

Indian Lore 1963-80

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!

Happy Labor Day, Everyone!

Labor Day was celebrated for the first time in New York City in 1882. It began as a state holiday, getting voted in by individual states, but gained popularity and was voted a national holiday by Congress in 1894.

Modern day Girl Scout parade float

Modern day Girl Scout parade float

Labor Day celebrates the achievements of the American work force with a national day off on the first Monday in September.

A time for relaxation with family and friends, Labor Day is a popular time for special events and festivals throughout the country such as cooking out, camping, and parades!

Girl Scout float, Randolph County, Ga. parade: 1958

Girl Scout float, Randolph County, Ga. parade: 1958

Labor Day is also a chance to bid farewell to summer with a long weekend, sometimes spent camping or swimming. Pictured below are Girl Scouts all decked out in their 1920s era bathing costumes, a far cry from the bathing suits of today!

Waycross, Ware County, Ga. 1923 at Girl Scout Hut

Waycross, Ware County, Ga. 1923 at Girl Scout Hut

What are your plans this Labor Day weekend? Here in the Greater Atlanta Area there are tons of events and festivals happening all weekend long. Click here to browse some of the activities that are going on, and keep your eye our for Girl Scouts while you’re out and about!

Happy August, Everyone!

Did you know that August was National Picnic Month? And that August 4th was National Sisters Day? Sounds like the perfect recipe to have a fun, late summer picnic with some of your Girl Scout sisters! So let’s pull out that vintage Girl Scout mess kit and round up our troop for some good old fashioned, out-of-doors fun!

1941 Girl Scout camp postcard

1941 Girl Scout camp postcard

The 1953 Girl Scout Handbook had some pretty nifty ideas when it came to mealtime for girls. Here are a couple of fun examples:

“Avoid clashing colors, such as beets and carrots on a purple plate.”

“Do not repeat flavors or color in the same meal…”

”Combine soft foods, such as mashed potatoes or scrambled eggs, with something crisp and chewy, such as … fried foods.”

1953 handbook

And did you know that “butter and fortified margarine” was one of the seven basic food groups in 1953? That’s pretty amusing!

However, the handbook did suggest substituting the chocolate square in your s’more for a slice of pineapple… now that I have to try!

And don’t forget to include that good old get-to-know-you “Girl Scout Picnic Game.” You know the one- “My name is Mary.  I’m going on a Girl Scout picnic, and I’m taking marshmallows…” and so on. Instructions for this classic scouting introductions game can be found here.

Happy August, everyone!

Celebrating Girl Scout Week: Taking Stock of the Collection

ImageAt the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta Archives, we spent the week discussing many issues, as our monthly meeting was taking place the day after Girl Scout Week was complete (March 10-16, 2013). Today, we had a work day sorting posters in our collection and seeing what sorts of duplicates we might have. As in many Archives collections, we found posters that were great but also damaged through age as well as regular wear and tear.

How, might you ask, do these volunteers deal with such a problem? In the past, tape was often used to bind the edges (or middles) together. Today, there are products on the market labeled as “archives tape” or “framers tape.” What you want to remember is:

“Don’t DO anything that you can’t UNDO.”

Tape is tape–there are adhesive and chemicals involved. The special tapes have a lower amount of these than commercially available tape, but none of these are perfectly safe for long-term use.

So what can we do, you may ask? If the item is small enough, you may wish to encapsulate the item between two sheets of mylar. A great description of this process is on the State Archives of Florida site. However, if the item is very large, such as the posters in question, you may wish to store them flat in a large, oversize alkaline folder and try to handle as little as possible. If it is a popular item, have it scanned and make a “use copy” for researchers, volunteers, or exhibits.

If you have further questions about this topic, archives products, or vendors, we’ll be happy to help. We’d love to hear about your favorite Council poster!