-Isms: Views on life in rural America
March 17, 2022
Juliette Gordon Low, founder of Girl Scouts, said, "A badge is a symbol that you have done the thing it stands for often enough, thoroughly enough, and well enough to be prepared to give service in it. You wear the badge to let people know that you are prepared and willing to be called on because you are a Girl Scout."
If Low's assertion is correct, I'm prepared and willing to be called on in a slew of areas. My Girl Scout sash is somewhere in our house. Mom gave it to me when the 'rents moved to Tilden in 2006, sorting out 40-plus years of memories and siphoning them to their rightful owners.
Fourth-grade overachiever LuAnn loved Girl Scouts. Our troop leader, Donna Moore, had high expectations and was always volunteering and including her troop in some form of community service.
Let's face it, my curious nature was a perfect fit for scouting and earning as many badges as possible. By the time I reached junior high and advanced to Cadettes, the green sash was loaded, front and back, with the circles with embroidered symbols.
One of the first I received was the pen pal badge. I corresponded with a girl my age in Australia, whose neighbor was a pen pal with Grandma Larson. I marveled at the crisp, linen stationery she wrote on and clipped the air mail stamps. Not sure what ever happened to those gems. By the time we both entered high school, letters dwindled to two or three a year, and eventually, they stopped.
I earned the bibliophile badge quickly, because books. Do I need to say more?
And, the dabbler patch was another one of the first earned. If I remember correctly, requirements included crafting and some type of building project. My home office features several dabbling attempts - half-finished craft projects that I should scrap but continue to believe I will finish them one of these days.
One year, for Christmas, I received a Kodak 110 Instamatic. I could complete requirements for the photography badge. We'd haul the packages of film to Allen's, in Hastings, and pick up the developed photos on our next trip to town.
Other badges sewn on the sash cover art, backyard fun, aviation, cooking, first aid, camping, cycling, folklore, hiking (remember the gypsy badge), music, needlecraft, pets,sewing, knitting, citizenship, water fun, history and writer..
The first aid badge came in handy at girl scout camp, when I burned my hand on a roasted marshmallow meant for a s'more.
While the premise behind badges was a means to introduce young girls to new activities and provide experiences within respective topics, some badges now seem sexist.
Like the good grooming badge. If I remember correctly, the badge took a Cinderella-like tone, embroidered with a pumpkin and high-heeled shoe. Topics covered included posture, appropriate attire and hygiene. Did boys have a similar badge in their scouting adventures? Doubtful.
What about the hospitality and housekeeper badges? Sure, I learned how to arrange a proper place setting, create invitations and do laundry, but should those skills be geared only toward girls?
Don't get me wrong, scouting years were pure fun, with lots of great memories of camps, community involvement and creativity. I'm sure scouting, along with encouragement from my parents, piqued my interest in volunteering. And, I'm certain that being introduced to different projects and being pushed outside my comfort zone gave me a boost of confidence that is an innate part of who I am today. Is there a badge for future self?