Collecting Girl Guide Memorabilia – Identifying GSUSA Items

Having just spent a happy afternoon sorting Girl Scout badges and insignia, I thought I would share with you two excellent sources for identifying just what you have in your collection!

Vintage Girl Scout Online Museum


The Vintage Girl Scout Online Museum at is my favourite go-to resource for identifying Girl Scout Badges. This website has sections devoted to every Girl Scout Badge, Try-It and IP issued since 1912, PLUS sections on Pins, Girl Scout Camps, Collectibles, Cookies, Clothing, Gardening, Art and Media, Jewelry, Food Products, Books/Magazines, Sewing, Music, Camp Equipment, and so much more!

If you are interested in GSUSA memorabilia or Girl Scout history in general, I highly recommend a visit to this website where you can see images of a huge assortment of Girl Scout items. This website will appeal to collectors of all ages.

Girl Scout Collector’s Guide


The Girl Scout Collector’s Guide by Mary Degenhardt and Judith Kirsch (Texas Tech University Press, 2005) is the definitive Guide to Girl Scout collecting. This book is appropriately subtitled “A History of Uniforms, Insignia, Publications, and Memorabilia”. If it was produced between 1912 and 2003, it’s in here.  A resource for adults, it is interesting to read, exploring the history of Girl Scouting through tangible items.

The Girl Scout Collector’s Guide is available on Amazon for $39.95.


Outdoor Guiding – Camping Evenings

Camping season will be here soon – how will you get your unit ready to go?

Part 3 of a series of articles on Outdoor Guiding that appeared in The Guide. This article appeared in the May 23, 1925 issue.

     Now that the evenings are long and light why don’t you ask your Guiders if, instead of an ordinary “Company parade,” you may have an evening “in camp”? You only require the use of a field, or a camp evening has been held in a yard or school playground – although, of course, the tent pitching had to be scrapped, the most realistic tents being made out of an easel and a dust-sheet!

     There are many things you can do in a camp evening, and you can learn lots as well; I am going to give you a few suggestions here which you can adopt or not as you like.

     First of all you can plan your campsite. This is sometimes done as a competition the week before, the patrols going to the field and each Leader making out – from the suggestions of her Guides – a plan of how she would arrange the camp (where the tents would be pitched, kitchen made, etc.)

     If you are lucky enough to have the use of a tent, your evening can begin by pitching this, learning the quickest and best method of doing it, and so on. Or if you have to improvise tents, each patrol could make its own, being given so long to do it as a competition.

     Once the tents are ready the Company would go to bed, (the part of the evening which thrills smaller Guides!) You then scramble up when the whistle blows and learn to make a flagstaff and break colours correctly. (This part of the evening can include a roll-call and inspection, so that subscriptions are taken as usual and notices given out.)

     After “breakfast” which can be a competition of some kind with pencils and note-books in the place of knives and forks, you might practice camp-craft for the rest of the morning. Learning about the care of tents, signalling, and games in patrols, take up the time until you have dinner, which, if you are lucky enough to be allowed to light a real fire, might be a lesson in fire-lighting and perhaps some real cooking as well.

     “Rest hour” is the quiet time in the middle of the evening when you play a listening game, or someone reads or tells a woodcraft yarn.

     More games, and possibly a camp sing-song will bring your camp evening to an end, as you will have to leave time to tidy everything up before you go home again.

     As you will see from this very brief outline there are plenty of things to be done during an evening “in camp,” and many others which I have not mentioned as well. If you want to bring in drill, you can go for a “march,” or do physical jerks when you get up in the morning. Your ordinary Company closing ceremonial and the singing of “Taps” to end up, makes a very appropriate ending before you dismiss. 

Activity Suggestions for A Modern-Day Evening in Camp

Plan Your Campsite 

  • Draw a picture of your campsite – show where the tents, fire pits, latrines/washrooms, etc. will be located. Photographs or diagrams could be used and then the girls decide where to put the ‘moveable objects’ (i.e. tents, picnic tables)
  • Learn how to choose a good site to pitch a tent. 
  • Raise awareness of considerations such as distances between different things – i.e. fire pits, tents, garbage, food storage.

Tent Pitching

  • Set up a tent (indoors or outdoors). Girls can go inside and lie down to show how much (or how little!) space each person will have at camp.
  • Bring sleeping mats or sleeping bags and arrange them in the tent to demonstrate the need for small sleeping pads. Practice packing and making bedrolls.
  • Have the girls inspect the tent for damage and/or missing items – i.e. missing guy lines, bent pegs, jammed zippers. Damages could be simulated and lead to a discussion and demonstration on caring for and repairing tents. For example, a piece of cloth with a tear placed on the tent, a guy line removed, and/or old pegs (or no pegs) provided.
  • Challenge experienced campers to set up a tent in the dark, blindfolded, or with other restrictions to test their skills.


  • Practice the knots needed to raise a flag.
  • Learn the commands for a flag raising (colour ceremonial).
  • Have a colour party raise the flag at the beginning of the meeting and take it down at the end. This is simple if you are lucky enough to have a flagpole suitable for hoisting a flag. Temporary options would be a tree branch outdoors, or, for practice purposes, a closet or coatroom rail, or a tall Guider standing on a chair to hold the rope.


  • Take you pick! Activities could include knots, gadget making, map and compass activities, a nature walk, observation games, laying and following trails, etc.

Rest Hour

  • Time for a quiet activity and/or discussion about camp skills.
  • Tell a legend, fable or campfire story.
  • Practice listening – have each girl sit quietly a bit apart from each other. Ask everyone to close their eyes and have them concentrate on what they hear, feel, smell and taste over the next 5-10 minutes. Share as a group what was sensed. 


  • Brainstorm ideas and/or plan your menus for camp.
  • Practice setting up and using your camp stove. Make something simple such as soup or hot chocolate.
  • Build your cooking equipment, such Buddy Burners or a Box Oven.
  • Food preparations – drying or dehydrating foods, precooking items, removing packaging – this will vary with the type of camp.
  • Set up a dish-washing area and learn about the 3-basin method.
  • Make a snack using an interesting cooking method – i.e. kick-the-can ice cream (or ziplock bag ice cream), armpit fudge, brownies in a Box Oven.


  • Practice laying and, if possible, lighting a fire. Where it isn’t possible to light a fire, practice striking matches and lighting a candle safely.
  • Sing your favourite campfire songs.
  • Learn to plan and run a campfire for a group.
  • Make s’mores or another campfire treat – depending on the facilities available.

Striking Camp

  • Practice taking down and rolling up a tent.
  • Discuss why tents need to be put away dry, making repairs, etc.
  • Do a “garbage sweep” of your meeting space to clean up all supplies

A New Blog for a New Year

Welcome to Girl Guide History Tidbits! This is where I explore aspects of Guiding history that catch my interest and may be of interest to others. All posts prior to this one are from my old Blog on Blogger, however, that Blog was infected with adware and I was unable to fix it. Hopefully I will have better luck here!

Who am I? A 29-year member of Girl Guides of Canada, a current Guide, Pathfinder, Ranger and Lone Guider, and a devotee of history. Do you have a historical question or piece of Guiding history you’d like to see explored here? Let me know and I’ll do my best!

Merry Christmas! Lord Baden-Powell’s Last Christmas Message

I was sorting through some images on my computer today and came across an interesting one of Christmas greetings from Lord and Lady Baden-Powell, dated Christmas 1940. As B-P would die on January 8, 1941, this was his final Christmas message to Guides and Scouts all over the world. Given recent world events, his message of friendship between countries and the need to work for peace is as relevant today as it was 75 years ago.

This is to offer you our hearty wishes for as Happy a Christmas as War will allow and a New Year bright with Promise. Out of evil good will come. we owe a statue to Hitler. He has done more than any man ever to consolidate out nation, at Home and Overseas and has given us friends in America and in ALL the countries he has ravaged. Such wide friendship will help to world Peace so soon as he and his war clouds are swept away. 

My wife and I, as evacuees, have settled here in Kenya, in the Africa we love, and in the same continent with Peter and Betty and their respective contingents of grand-children, where we hope that Heather and her husband may join us after their War Service. As to you Scouts and Guides we are geographically more in the centre of things than before, nearer to N.Zealand, Australia, India and the East and not much further from Canada and West Indies than from England. So from close up, we can watch you all at your various War Services, what you have done you have done well. Stick it out! Play up to the Scouts’ slogan “SLEEVES UP! and with TAILS UP GO TO IT TO WIN THE WAR”

And after that to bring about Peace and goodwill, and happiness for all.

Nyeri, Kenya         Baden Powell                Olave Baden-Powell              Xmas 1940

Collecting Girl Guide Memorabilia – John Player Cigarette Cards (1933)

One of my recent acquisitions is a complete set of John Player Cigarette Cards from 1933. The set consists of 50 cards, each featuring a Boy Scout or Girl Guide Patrol Emblem. As we near the start of another Guiding year, I thought I would share the Guide Patrol Emblems and their mottoes with you.

Blackbird – Motto: “Happy and helpful.”
Blue Tit – Motto: “Do it now.”
Bullfinch – Motto: “Because of you we will be glad and gay.”
Canary – Motto: “Cheerfulness everywhere.”
Chaffinch – Motto: “Play the game and play it well.”

Cornflower – Motto: “Steadfast through trials.”
Daffodil – Motto: “A merry heart maketh a cheerful contenance.”
Forget-Me-Not – Motto: “Leaves happy memories behind.”
Holly – Motto: “Ready for anything.”
Kingfisher – Motto: “Victory sides with patience.”

 Nightingale – Motto: “Hope on, hope ever, cheer others by night and day.”
Pansy – Motto: “Thoughtful for others.”
Poppy – Motto: “Dare to do right.”
Primrose – Motto: “Look on the brighter side.”
Red Rose – Motto: “True patriots all.”

Robin – Motto: “Brave and friendly.”
Scarlet Pimpernel – Motto: “Do good by stealth.”
Shamrock – Motto: “Do not worry.”
Skylark – Motto: “Always aiming high.”
Swallow – Motto: “Ever cheerful, comrades ever.”

Thistle – Motto: “Just smile, ignoring the prickles of life.”
Thrush – Motto: “Gives joy to all.”
Violet – Motto: “Faithful and modest.”
White Heather – Motto: “Stand Firm.”

Wren – Motto: “Keep trying; modest and plucky.”

Our Ranger Company

An article by N. Woodroffe, a Patrol Leader with the 15th South Salford (St. James’s) Rangers, in the August 15, 1925 issue of The Guide 

     Our Rangers are twelve in number and we are divided into two patrols – Ash Patrol and Poplar Patrol. We meet on the same night as the Guide Company – Tuesday – and the two Ranger Patrols have a room each adjoining the large one where the Guides are. Although some of us Rangers have been Guides before, we find Rangering to be very much different.

     We start our Club evening at 7.30 with the usual roll call and inspection by our Captain, and then we go off to our own rooms.

     Here I must explain that we have what is called a “Company Leader.” The Rangers take it in turn to be this Leader each week, and after the Patrol Leader has had her patrol time with her own Patrol, say from 7.45 to 8.30, the Company Leader takes the whole of the Rangers into one room to do whatever she has prepared for them. It may be signalling or a game, or even badge work – it is just what the Company Leader chooses to do in her allotted time. This is the time when the Rangers work as a whole and not in patrols. Then at 9 o’clock when the Guides have gone home, our Captain comes into the Rangers and we have what we call our “Ranger time.” Sometimes this is spent in the large room, having games, country dancing or choral, and when we spend the time in one of the Ranger rooms we take Citizenship, Debates, Study Circles and Art (choosing what we should do on the respective nights a month ahead) and at 9.45 our Ranger evening comes to a close.

     We meet on Thursday too, and generally this evening is given up entirely to Rangers joining and doing perhaps badge work or whatever may be on at the time.

     In our two Ranger rooms we have our Corners and a Ranger takes it in turn in the respective patrols to come at 7 o’clock and get the room ready for 7.30. This means that a Ranger only does it about every five weeks and we all help clear it away. We have a fire in our rooms in winter and we have made various things for the rooms, a rug and buffets (instead of chairs) curtains for the doors and windows and several pictures, etc., in the room which makes the place very cosy.

     Apart from our indoor Rangering we also have local knowledge when the Rangers meet occasionally on Saturday afternoons, and up to now we have visited the Manchester Cathedral, Chetham’s Hospital, Manchester Museum, Whitworth Art Gallary, Fire Station, and also Buile Hill Park Museum. We generally finish up our local knowledge tours having tea at the local cafe nearest the place we are an then come home thirsting for more local knowledge tours.

     I must not forget to tell you that we have a Patrol Council every second Tuesday in the month, when we all gather round our fires and hold a real pow-wow. Nor must I forget to mention that we have a Ranger Magazine which one Ranger edits, called The Circle and this is “published” every month at a charge of 2d. each time. It was started in October and has proved a great success.

     Our Company emblem is the Pine Tree and our Company motto “Strong and Unafraid.” 

The Seven Knots and Their Uses

Looking for a way to remember the uses for different knots? Try this poem from 1924 by Elsie H.B. Clifford (Captain of the 1st Sidlow Bridge Company)

The Seven Knots and Their Uses

(In Second Class Test)

Said the reef knot to the sheet bend,

“You are wanted on a “bight.”

Said the sheet bend to the reef knot

“Please tie this bandage tight.”

Said the sheepshank to the clove hitch

“Tie my end please to this rail.”

Said the clove hitch to the sheepshank,

“Your length you should curtail.”

Said the bowline to the fisherman’s,

“To slip, I’m never one!”

But the fisherman’s said proudly,

“We’re most easily undone.”

Said the middleman’s: “Don’t falter,

And I’m useful as a halter.”

So these seven knots were all agreed

That rightly tied they’d serve our need.

(Clifford, Elsie H.B. “The Seven Knots and Their Uses” in The Guide. London: Girl Guides Association, August 9, 1924)

1950s Lone Company Letters

While reading the January 1955 issue of The Canadian Guide, I came across some sample pages from Lone Letters written in the 1950s that I found interesting as a current Lone Guider.

     These are pages taken from various Lone Company Letters which take the place of the usual Company Meeting as Lone Guides and Rangers do everything by correspondence. The Letters are circulated among the members of the company once a month, and the Captain and Court of Honour plan them just as the “active” ones plan the weekly meetings.

1. Company, Fall IN! (Camp roll call page)

     Sheet One was made from coloured paper and was awfully pretty. The tents were cut out of yellow and pale blue and pale green and pasted onto a sheet of brown construction paper and the spruce trees were of dark green.

     Each Lone entered the date she received the letter on the line provided on her tent and added the date that she was mailing the letter on to the next girl on the line that said mailed.

2. Captain talks to her Guides (Letter)

Dear Lone Guides:

     We all want to congratulate the Daffodil Patrol Leader, Amy Duncan, who has won her Needlewoman Badge. Your presentation is in the Campfire part of the C.L. Amy. We are all very proud of you. This is one of the badges for First Class on which Mary and Ruth are working now that they have their Second Class Badge.

     Our Camp Gadget Competition was won by Florence. She sent in by far the best made entry. The lashing was very neat and tidy, and all the sticks well chosen. Her parcel was especially well packed. The Court of Honour is presenting Florence with a book called “Camping for Boys and Girls” which we all hope she will enjoy.

     Joan has had such a nice letter from her pen pal, Margaret, in Australia. Margaret tells all about a Rally she went to and how she won the signalling race. It would be fun if we all had pen pals, so be sure to let me know your choice of country soon.

     Don’t forget there is Court of Honour Meeting next month, so be sure your Patrol Leader has the answers to the questions she asked you in plenty of time for her to give your Patrol’s opinions.

     With a Handshake and Salute,



3. Practicing Morse (Morse Code Game)

Morse Code was a requirement for the Second Class test.

4. An important part of our flag (St George’s Cross)

April 23rd – St George’s Day

5. A Progress Chart

Shows each girl’s progress towards earning the Second Class badge.

6. Tenderfoot Test – Knots

     How a Lone sometimes passes a test – in this case, learning 3 knots and their uses. 

7. We remember others

     The Good Turn mentioned in Sheet 7 refers to British Columbia only.

Every Lone in our Province collects all kinds of used stamps. These are sent in to the captains who will forward them. This is one of our service projects. All stamps are wanted but, of course, the more rare the better. How about a look in old trunks for treasured letters and post stamps? Steam – do not tear – the stamps off. Better still, if you can, leave on paper like these.

8. Lones love singing, too

The Lones themselves could read the music and through this letter learned to sing a lively round, The Girl Guide Grace and Taps. These will be useful to them when they go camping with Active Guides. The songs are: “O how lovely in the evening” (round), “For Health and Strength” (grace), and ? (it isn’t Taps…).

“Sample Pages From Real Lone Company Letters”, The Canadian Guide. Brampton:Canadian Council of the Girl Guides Association, January 1955, pp8-9, 12

Wild Flower Promise

As camping and outdoor activity season arrives, it’s time to remind our girls about respecting nature and “taking only pictures, leaving only footprints”.

This little tidbit comes from a 1924 issue of The Guide magazine and originates with the Girl Scouts of the USA.

I Promise

Not to pick wild flowers in any quantity unless weedy and abundant.

Not to pick more than one out of five from other groups so as to leave plenty to go to seed.

Not to pull them up by the roots unless weedy.

To cut woody stems and not tear or break them.

Not to pick flowers or break plants in parks.

Enjoy, not destroy, the wild flowers.


   (“Every Girl Scout’s Wild Flower Promise”. The Guide. London: Girl Guides Association, July 19, 1924, page 219)

Know Your Own Worth

Have you ever wondered just how many hours Guiders put into Guiding? A chart in the April 1994 issue of the Ontario Newsletter (Toronto: Girl Guides of Canada, Ontario Council) gave this estimate –

Based on the average Unit Guider, this is the amount of time you give to Guiding per week:
Unit Meeting – 2 hours
Travel Time – 1 hour
Planning – 2 hours
Shopping and Running Around – 2 hours
District Meeting – 1 hour
Training (based on 2 weekends/year) – 2 hours
Camping (based on 2 weekends/year) – 2 hours

Total: 12 hours per week

Averaging 40 weeks in a Guiding year, this amounts to 480 hours/year