Tag Archives: Girl Scouts of Colorado History Center

A visit to the GSCO History Center

Submitted by John Silver, GSCO Guest Blogger

Northern & Northeastern CO

Loveland

Where in Colorado can you see these Girl Scout things from years and years ago:  More than 600 Girl Scout vintage uniforms (including sashes and vests and other accessories), and books, and camping equipment and jewelry and cameras?

Where can you try on vintage Girl Scout uniforms (choosing from dozens and dozens of different types) or get help with the “Playing the Past” badge and the “Girl Scout Way” badge by participating in a scavenger hunt to find special items of Girl Scout history?

Where can you borrow Girl Scout uniforms for local events or parades or memorials?

Where can you get help with your own fashion show of vintage Girl Scout uniforms? Where can you borrow the uniforms for the show and a script for the show that includes anecdotes and historical details about the uniforms?

I visited this very special place, the Girl Scouts of Colorado History Center in Loveland.

Here are the things at the center I liked the best:

  • The oldest uniform, dating from 1914
  • Blue uniforms for Girls Scouts who were Mariner Girl Scouts in troops focused on boating and sailing activities
  • A song book from the 1950’s which included my mother’s and sisters’ favorite Girl Scout songs, Make New Friends and The Chalet Song
  • A collection of “SWAPS,” which are small (often hand-made or personalized) mementos “swapped” (that is, traded) between Girl Scouts and Girl Scout alums at camps or conventions

The center obtains items mostly from Girl Scout alums, but sometimes from garage sales, thrift shops, and estate sales.  It also participates in a sharing program with more than 50 similar centers across the country.  Here’s how the sharing program works: If a history center in Tennessee comes across a historical item with ties to Girl Scouts in Colorado, it might offer the item to the GSCO History Center, and the GSCO History Center does the same with items it finds that have ties to other states, or with duplicate items.

A group of knowledgeable and dedicated volunteers runs the center, which is open between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. every Tuesday and by appointment on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month.  Troops can contact the center to schedule appointment outside regular hours.

Contact the History Center at: GSCO History Center, 2004 West 15th Street. Loveland, CO, 80538 or gscohistory@gmail.com.

Check this place out!

John Silver of Metro Denver is proud to be an adult volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado. As the brother and son of Girl Scouts, John is now an adult seeing Girl Scouts through new eyes. John will be reporting on things he learns– that you might not know either! He will also be researching badge earning and other opportunities for Girl Scouts today.

 

Yes! I’m a Girl Scout and so was my Grandma!

historicalGSbikes

People generally love to know about their past. Even if it’s disreputable. (My friend Lexxa tells a casual story about going to Scotland to look at the document that mentioned thievery and exiled her entire clan.) Even if it’s far away and only means wearing a ‘Kiss Me, I’m Irish’ button once a year. We like to know where we came from. We like to point at that place on the globe, we like to bring out the family bible or those faded letters and photos, we like to share our ancestors’ stories of adversity and triumph. We don’t want to be entirely melted down in the melting pot. We like that touch of difference almost as much as we like knowing from where we came.

As Girl Scouts, we have a double history.   We share an incredible Girl Scout heritage that began in 1912 when Juliette Gordon Low, a fifty-one year old woman who was born in the same year as Abraham Lincoln, started an organization that changed the entire world. Yes, the entire world.

Have you ever asked yourself how the world would be different without Girl Scouting? I know how my world would have been different. I wouldn’t know how to lay a fire. I wouldn’t have looked out at Colorado from the summit of Mount Yale.  I wouldn’t know how to react in a crisis situation involving twenty girls, a night of rain and a torn tarp, skills that have served me well in every crisis I’ve ever weathered since that night. Most importantly, I wouldn’t have met the woman who is my best friend to this very day.  Girl Scouting was my solace in a world that was unkind to girls who were different. Girl Scouting was the one place in my life where wanting to be assertive and creative and in charge was nurtured rather than crushed. Without Girl Scouting I might have been a girl who did things she later regretted in order to fit in and be liked.

 But although I know how firmly my personal Girl Scouting experience figured into the formation of the woman I am today, I didn’t really start thinking about the importance of teaching today’s girls about their Girl Scout History until I went to the Girl Scouts of Colorado History Center.  My Girl Scouting experience was never connected to my Girl Scouting heritage.  I had no idea Girl Guides had been a part of the French Resistance, that Girl Scouts trained as plane spotters during WWII, that their uniforms were unique for being part of the women’s clothing reform movement, that they were there at the polls when American woman cast their first ballots.  

 Are you excited now? Do you want to call the library and check out The First Girl Scout? (You totally should. It is well worth it if for no other reason than the heart wrenching photograph of the 200 uniformed Girl Scouts who formed the color guard at Juliette Low’s funeral.) Do you wish there was an easy way to start introducing your troop to their Girl Scout heritage? There is! Are you going to a “Palooza” training this fall? Swing by the table run by the History Center and pick up an historical hand book pack.

Fifty years of scouting in handbooks. A window to changing uniforms, badges, projects and promises. Each page contains ten or more hand and guide books, divided into program levels and a list of questions to provoke research and discussion.

 As a nation, we have traditionally tended to write our history books from the view point of the white male. Although this is changing, Girl Scouts are still not mentioned in our classrooms and history books.  That’s going to be up to us. The Historical Book Bag (which you get to keep and share with others in your area) is a wonderful tool not only for teaching researching skills, but also for displays, reports, power points and exhibits.

Located in Loveland, Colorado, the project is housed in an office suite overflowing with Girl Scout artifacts and is run entirely by volunteers. Please come and visit, or contact us at gscohistory@gmail.com.

Jane Severance is the author of Ghost Pains and Lots of Mommies. Please contact her at janieappleseed@hotmail.com . I would love to hear your areas about sparking interest in Girl Scout Heritage.

Girl Scout alumnae visit the GSCO history collection

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Submitted by Heidi Books

Denver

Northern and Northeastern Colorado

In July, the GSCO history volunteers welcomed Girl Scout alumnae and friends for a tour of the GSCO history collection.  Alumnae came from all across the Front Range – Fort Collins to the south Denver area.  They were very impressed with the vast collection owned by Girl Scouts of Colorado and lovingly cared for by the GSCO history committee.

Displays of uniforms, books, badges, and collectibles were set up by the committee.  Also highlighted were activities that troops can do when they visit the history center, as well as uniforms and books that can be checked out and returned.

After the tour, the group traveled to Linda Robinson’s house for a picnic potluck in the shade of Linda’s cottonwood tree.  Wonderful food and fellowship were enjoyed, along with the great views of the Front Range and Northern Colorado from Linda’s backyard.

Total number of Girl Scout membership years was 540.  The youngest member at 29-years-old joined us for lunch; the oldest members have been Girl Scouts for 6 or more decades.

For more information on the GSCO History Center, please email gscohistory@gmail.com. For more information on Girl Scout alumnae activities in Northern Colorado, please email promisepartners@gmail.com. For more information on Girl Scout alumnae activities statewide, please email Heidi Books at Heidi.books@gscolorado.org.

This story was submitted using the Share Your Stories form. You can share your Girl Scout moments too.