"Following where my camera leads me!"

"Following where my camera leads me!"

Thursday, June 8, 2023

Girl Scouts back then...

 Girl Scouts.

 Were you a Scout? I was, and I loved it. I entered as a Brownie, and finished as a Senior Scout. It was a great program back then. 

the little orange tie that went on my Brownic uniform

my Brownie uniform and hat. The uniforms were little brown cotton dresses with short sleeves. We wore brown felt hats with the Brownie insignia on them.
 We met after school once a week. Our Mothers washed and then ironed our Brownie dresses to have them crisp and ready for the next week's meeting.
After the "fly up" ceremony, walking across the bridge, we became full fledged Junior Girl Scouts. The ceremony was a big deal, and family was invited. Proud Mothers and Dads came to watch us walk over the bridge, and receive our official pin and fly-up wings, which would be put on our uniforms. It was a solemn and happy occasion.

 The bridge was a real wooden bridge that someone built for the occasion, and many mirrors underneath it, to look like water. There were flowers all around the blooms and the "stream". We were young...it looked so magical.
 This is the uniform for Junior Scout:

our new Junior Girl Scout tie, bright yellow. Our new Junior uniforms were similar to the Brownie dress.....green cotton with buttons down the front.

Girl Scout meetings were fun! We met right after school. We had roll call, we paid "dues" for the troop bank. Probably only 25 cents a week way back then! ha ha LOL. We had a Secretery and a Treasurer in the Troop, as well as our Troop Leaders and helpers, usually older girls from upper grades or even Jr. High, who might be working on fulfilling requirements for a badge she was working on.

After roll call and dues....we would say the Pledge of Allegiance and the Girl Scout pledge. I still remember it.
(while holding three fingers up in the Girl Scout symbol, three fingers for each part of the 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."
We practiced reciting it over and over, most of us knew it by heart pretty quickly. You had to know the Promise and the Law to move up from Brownies.
They have changed the Pledge....its not the same today.
At meetings we worked on badge projects, arts and crafts, music, all kind of things. We played old folk song games like "Punchinella Funny Fellow", (I think it was an old European folk song game, not sure) among others. We would hold hands in a big moving circle,  and singing the song and playing the game.
 Girls Scouts did ALOT OF singing. LOL

 Each week, we would draw a name and that girl would be responsible for bringing next week's cookies for Refreshments after the meeting. They didn't have to be homemade, store bought was ok. At the end of meetings and refreshments, we would stand in a big circle and do the Girl Scout secret handshake.

the Brownie dress. We wore it to school on meeting days, with brown socks and a matching belt. On official outings, we wore short white gloves as well.
We were taught to behave, and how to act like young ladies. We had manners.
 We went to several nursing homes to sing Christmas carols every year. We went Christmas caroling, door to door, as well. We sang in malls and churches and went all over to spread Girl Scout cheer, to help people with sewing projects, painting projects, yard-work projects, volunteer child care, local events and sightseeing excursions,  fairs and festivals,  and to work on earning our badges. We went on hayrides. We took trips to city and State parks and we visited nature preserves and zoos. Sometimes we met up with other area Troops...that was always fun.

my pin......I still treasure it

Country Living magazine

Country Living magazine

some of my badges. We kept our Mothers BUSY with sewing all those patches and badges onto our sashes!
and every year.......we sold COOKIES!

This is little Fairy Granddaughter's first year of Girl Scouts. She sold cookies for the first time. Of course we bought a bunch to help her. She ended up selling about 1200 boxes! I never sold nearly THAT MANY. lol

my sash
Another fun activity was the yearly Mother/Daughter Banquet/tea. It was held in the Junior High cafeteria if I remember correctly. It was a big deal. There were big flower bouquets on the tables and nice tablecloths. It must've been held in the summertime, because everybody brought flowers from their gardens, and we then put them all together to make pretty bouquets in borrowed vases. I remember mixtures of daisies, roses, lots of lilies, and tall glads. The Mothers dressed up and had pretty corsages and us Scouts wore our best Dress uniforms, with gloves. We had lovely china and tea cups to use, so we were on our very best behaviour. And we had a delicious meal and a little program and a we performed a song.
I think we received those little gold stars each year we were in Scouts, but I don't remember. The red patch at the lower right side is called "the sign of the star" and I have no idea how I earned it, or what it was. ha ha LOL

One of the very BEST PARTS of Girl Scouts was CAMPING. We camped all year round, Winter, Fall, Spring. We camped on farms, in horse pastures, campgrounds, cow fields, and backyards. In the country and in the city. Loud cows woke us on one camping trip...brushing into our tents and scaring us in the middle of the night! LOL

On REALLY cold winter camp trips, we stayed in dormitories on put our sleeping bags on the cots. We had a real mess hall and ate inside, and we did lots of skits and games after supper.
 and Summer brought two week long camp, long awaited, worked for and prepared for. Summer Camp was a BIG deal.
We had very detailed lists of what to bring, so it took awhile to get it all together. We were each allowed one "box". A box was the many strong liquor boxes we had been been collecting all Spring...which we then covered with the pretty contact paper of our choice. Mine was flowers. The boxes were very sturdy and had good closing lids and easy to use handles.
Some of the things we packed were all our summer camp clothes, (summer shorts as well as blue jeans and sleeveless tops and short sleeve blouses) sneakers, raincoat, bar of soap and washcloths, our canteen, our Girl Scout handbook, boots, flashlight, matches, swimsuit and BATHING CAP. Yes, back then, we were required to wear bathing caps in the big pool at camp. You didn't bring your bathing cap.....you didn't swim.

There was no such thing as sunscreen or bug repellant--- that we knew of anyway. Some of us were pretty sunburnt the first few days. We put Noxema on to cool the sunburns. There were no such thing as "water bottles" to carry, but we did have canteens full of water. They had straps, like a pocketbook, so they were easy to take hiking.

 We also packed lots of socks because we were always dirty and muddy, LOL.  A towel for the showers and a towel for the pool.  Pajamas. A clothesline and clothespins to hang our clean clothes to dry. A poncho. Our mess kits. Rain hat. Small first aid kits. (Troop Leaders had big ones)
We also brought our sleeping bags and one pillow. We were responsible for carrying our boxes and our sleeping bags (sleeping bags on our backs) on a pretty long walk to our campsite. It took awhile. LOL
Each permanent tent (we didn't have to pitch tents for Summer Camp) had a wood floor and cots for  four to six girls. We had latrines and outdoor showers.
Camp was so much fun. We began each day with the Flag ceremony and Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the Girl Scout promise and Law.

 We hiked every single day, rain or shine--we went. The hikes got longer as the weeks went on. We studied alot and learned alot about nature on the hikes....trees, bark, small animals, bugs, types of birds,  leaves, pretty rocks, and wild flowers. Alot of it went towards earning badges, and pretty much most all of us earned our Swimming badges at summer camp.

We sang alot at meetings, and especially Summer camp! We sang lots of songs---Daisy -----
"Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do,
 I’m half crazy all for the love of you.
 It won’t be a stylish marriage,
 I can’t afford a carriage.
 But you’ll look sweet, Upon the seat, 
Of a bicycle built for two. "

The Bear went over the Mountain, Feeling Groovy, Bingo, the Ants go Marching one by one hurrah hurrah, Alice----
"Alice, where are you going? Upstairs to take a bath,
 Alice with legs like toothpicks,
And a neck like a giraffe. 
Alice stepped in the bathtub,
 Alice pulled out the plug.
 Oh, my gracious, O my soul!
 There goes Alice down the hole! 
Alice where are you going? Glub glub glub"

Home on the Range, Michael Row the Boat Ashore, and Puff the magic Dragon.

One of our favorites songs was "make new friends, but  keep the old, one is Silver and the other's Gold".
There were lots more songs, these are the ones I remember off the top of my head.LOL

We all had camp "jobs". Sweeping the tent and steps, rolling up the sides to let the fresh air in daily. (and rolling them back down at night for sleeping)....there was no air conditioning! ha ha

 Fire duty---gathering kindling and firewood, starting the fire etc. That was a hard one if you got the early morning shift--LOL! Gotta get that fire ready for BACON OR SAUSGE and lots of scrambled eggs. (Cooking duty---it was ALOT OF EGGS to break and scramble). Clean up duty--- (wash pots, utensils, bowls, dispose of trash etc.).....just lots of jobs to keep us busy and teach responsibility.  We were kids....work was FUN! ha ha LOL
Surprise soup was fun!!!---every girl brought a can or two of Campbells' soup....and we threw them all in a huge black camp pot over the fire. We came out with a mixture of chicken noodle soup, chili, bean soup, vegetable soup, tomato soup, ALL KINDS of soups. It simmered all day. We were so hungry by then....we didn't care, and we devoured it. ha ha LOL

Hot dogs with beans was also a favorite and filling supper, cooked over the fire. Also we learned to make these one packet type things---they had a name but I don't remember it? You would make a hamburger patty and then prepare and put onion, carrots,  mushrooms, "taters", peppers, etc into aluminum foil packets, then cover with more foil....then toss them right into the hot coals. In about a half hour or so.....they were smelling  SO GOOD!---and we got to open our packets and salt and pepper them and EAT. It was so good, and filled our hungry tummies. Camp was ACTIVE---we worked hard and we played hard.....we worked up huge appetites, LOL.

The best part of Summer camp was gathering around the big hot campfire every evening after supper and chores were done. We sat on big logs. The fire sputtered and sparked. The embers glowed and the fire was warm. Sometimes we would hear music, laughter and singing from other troops at their campsites. Smoke from campfires drifted up into the summer sky.

We made s'mores with melty hot marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers--the first time most of us had had that treat!

We (of course, LOL) sang campfire songs and we learned to sing in rounds, which sounds real pretty. We told scary stores and played campfire games. I think we went on a night hike once or twice. Scary and fun!
We spent our days swimming, hiking, learning archery, doing arts and crafts. We learned sewing, painting, and made jewelry boxes by gluing on colorful broken glass. We crocheted, made nature collages with bark, grasses, flowers, and sticks we gathered on our hikes. We got to go on canoes and rowboats on the big lake. We played badmitton and yard games and learned knot tying. We learned how to care for, and to properly fold the American flag.
After the singing of Taps (Day is done, gone the sun, from the lakes, from the hills, from the sky...)We drifted off to sleep to the sound of the crickets, frogs, and hooting owls.
Camp ended with special songs and awards on the last night.
Girl Scouts was alot of fun over the years. I'm so glad I got to participate.
Gave this Girl Scout uniform to Fairy Granddaughter for her birthday, for her doll. the little sash with patches is so cute!
Any fellow Scouts out there? I'd love to hear YOUR stories about Scouting.


  1. Oh My! You did bring up a lot of memories of my Girl Scouting days, although it sounds like you did a LOT more stuff than we did. We did go camping and that was so much fun, and canoeing, swimming, cooking, and we also learned to make flower arrangements, which I remember we entered into the county fair one year and I think I got a ribbon for mine, but not sure if it was blue or red or yellow. I didn't go beyond the Jr. Scouts. Our Senior Scouts weren't quite as active, or else I was too active by that time in other school activities so didn't have time for scouts too. I do remember selling cookies! Oh, I love the uniform you found for Fairy Granddaughter's doll! Lily has a Brownie uniform that her Aunt Peggy gave her. I added a few of my Girl Scout pins to it. I still have my sash, but that's all I have left. Oh, and I have my Brownie Scout Handbook. Those were happy days. Did you ever make "Hobo Stew"? Seems like we made it in a tin coffee can and put it in the coals to cook all day. I also remember the foil packets with hamburger, etc. Yes, it was a valuable program and we learned so much. Thank you for stirring up the memories.

  2. Never was a GS, my daughter was a Brownie and I was an assistant to the leader. Fun times. But that was when I was able to jump in and do things

  3. i was a scout, brownie thru regular girl scouts. i remember some but nothing like you have here. i do remember working for badges and sewing them on my sash. i remember a sewing badge...maybe a camping badge, we went camping a lot. we also went roller skating a lot!!

  4. What a beautiful childhood you had! When I was little they had something called 'Blue Birds' but I never even asked my mother about it. I didn't even take the form home since I knew I wouldn't be able to join. I was a Girl Scout leader for Summer's troup for a year or two. Good memories!!! Loved reading yours!