Friday, March 20, 2015

Girl Scout Memories

For whatever reason, maybe it's to do with the Girl Scout cookies that have been in the house lately (the Thin Mints are really great with Nutella...just thought I'd mention that detail) I felt like dragging up my old Girl Scout uniforms, and in particular my vests. I wanted to revisit the badges I earned, but to my surprise it wound up being the patches on the back that I was more interested in.

I guess I should mention the difference between badges and patches. Badges are earned by doing certain things and ideally learning a new skill set (or in the case of Brownies, it's Try-its and all I had to do was try), whereas the patches on the back of the uniform were usually more to commemorate something that's been done...though they can also be to remember certain achievements.

(Things might be different now...? I don't know. I know things were changing in Girl Scouts when I left.)

Although I might take a closer look at the front of the vests later to try to remember what was what, I found it was the patches on back that held more memories for me.

My Mother is a Leader

My mom was my troop leader when I was a Brownie, Junior, and I think some of my time as a Cadette...I had a different leader by the time I became a Senior, but I don't remember exactly when that switch happened. Despite her long time as my leader this patch was only on my Brownie vest with the date 1995-1996, so maybe I just decided to leave room on my later vests for other things. Since, after all, everyone knew who my mom was. (Sorry, does that sound a little arrogant? I guess I was a bit proud that my mom was my leader, and that she had a leadership role in things getting done even outside of our troop.)

Flag Ceremony

I was pretty proud of myself as Brownie when I learned how to take part in raising and lowering the flag(s). It seems like this would have been a Try-it, but it was a patch. One of two flag ceremony patches on that vest, actually, I guess I was pretty proud of myself.

And since I'm talking about things I was proud of...I took some of pride in how well I could sew patches onto my uniform. These days I take those skills for granted, I guess because I've had them for so long, but at the time it was new to me and I was so happy that no one could even tell what color thread I used. And not everyone took such care with sewing their patches on.

Let's Read

I don't remember the story behind this one. But I guess I loved to read even when I was young. Well, I did get a taste for books as a toddler chewing on my mom's special edition copy of The Hobbit...

End of the Oregon Trail

There's a...I think museum...dedicated to the Oregon trail in Oregon City. As a GS event a bunch of troops got together and walked the last mile or so of the trail, learned about the trail in the museum place (I got to do needlework and make butter!), and then camped out on the lawn in front of the building.

My troop was the only one to do this while wearing period appropriate clothing. I'm sure I still have my pretty floral bonnet around somewhere.

Camp Arrowhead

Just, just...I don't know what to say. I freaking loved that place. In the Columbia River Gorge, huge fir trees...lost of trails...dangit now I want to go back there. That place was so important to me growing up. I think I actually feel almost homesick for it now, is that weird?

There was also Camp Mountaindale, where I'd go for day camp each year, it was a really important place for me too. I guess it had lots of lemon balm, because the smell of that plant always reminds me of Mountaindale.


My troops tended to do a lot of camping when mom was my leader. It's no surprise that I picked up this hiking patch somewhere along the way.

Southern Vancouver Island Area, Girl Guides

I think it was the only trip I took where my mom wasn't my leader, I visited Victoria in Canada. We stayed in a building that belonged to local Girl Guides, and I guess we got this patch from them during our stay.

We visited the Butchart Gardens, rode a double decker bus, visited a local government building, and while at a museum I discovered that there'd been a town named Sarita. That was just some of the fun we had. There were also two local Girl Guides who seemed to be doppelgangers (personality wise, that is) of a pair of best friends in our troop. That slightly weirded the four of them out, and greatly amused the rest of us.


Three pins on the front of my vest. As I recall the top and bottom pins stayed with me all the way from Brownie to Senior, and although they were important I can't remember for certain what they meant. (And I don't want to make guesses since I don't want someone to stumble across this post and then give others bad info about Girl Scouts that they picked up from me.) The pin in the middle, though, saying PA, refers to the fact that I'd become a Program Aid, meaning that I was an older GS helping with the younger ones and learning leadership skills in the process. I took some pride in that one.

There were also patches to celebrate things like selling a certain number of cookies, but even though those were great achievements it's more patches like those above that I pause over when I look at my vests.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Nice patches! Have you ever thought about becoming a Brownies or Girl Scout leader now that you're an adult? Maybe in a pagan troop? I think they're called Spiral Scouts.

Sarita Rucker said...

Growing up I always assumed that I'd naturally become a leader once I was too old to be a Senior GS anymore. But things happened, including changes in the organization, so I lost interest. I guess I can't rule it out though.

I don't know much about the Spiral Scouts, but I like what I've heard. If I want to be a troop leader I'd definitely think about joining up with them. :)

Madam Lost said...

Like my daughter, I have many fond memories of my decade with Girl Scouts. I invested a lot of time and energy as I took on increasingly responsible roles with the organization because I believed in the organization. I still do. I am delighted that GS membership is open to all whose gender identity is female. I am proud to see this return on my investment.

However, if Sarita had been born ten years later, I would have invested my time and energy in Spiral Scouts. I disagree with the premise that girls must be segregated from boys to allow their leadership potential to develop. The form of segregation only perpetuates the stereotypical ideas that make it necessary for girls to have their own group to develop leadership potential. Do we follow an old model and segregate our children or do we follow their lead and change our stereotypes.

I believe that children can and should be free to work together and that gender distinctions only get in the way.