Girl Scout uniforms are a tradition dating back to the very first homemade uniforms worn by girls in Savannah, GA over a hundred years ago. It’s hard to tell from the black and white photos, but the original uniforms from 1913 were actually blue. The year after, the uniforms changed in color from navy blue to khaki—girls thought that those would be more practical for hiking, camping, and service work (See? Girl-led even then!) Since then, the uniform has changed many times—even as recently as this summer—but they continue to remain an important part of the Girl Scout experience.
We all know this year will look different. When my troop formed last year, I never imagined we’d be spending half the year meeting virtually or sitting on blankets spaced far apart outdoors. But no matter where we are, when our girls put on their uniforms, it brings back some normalcy to our troop. The Girl Scout uniform is more than an iconic look—it signifies that we’re not just a group of girls hanging out at the park and it’s not just another hour of distance learning—we’re gathering for a troop meeting. Especially now, when time mushes and blurs together, the simple act of putting on a vest, tunic, or sash to get ready for a meeting really helps differentiate one activity from the next. And when we look at our computer screen and see a sea of Daisy blue, we know that we’re all in this together.
Uniforms are also a way for the girls to document their Girl Scouting journey with badges and patches. This year, my troop will be rocking some uniquely 2020 ones like the Virtual Troop Meeting and Drive-by Halloween. It’s a mini time capsule on their back (Psst—a note on placement: fun patches go on the back, while awards and badges go on the front.) Not only that, but it’s also an awesome reminder for girls of all the skills they’ve developed. Having that visual representation is a great way for every girl to see all that she’s achieved and to proudly share those achievements with others. When someone asks my daughter about the badges and patches on her vest, she’s more than happy to talk about all the things she’s done to earn them.
So, as you start off this new and wild year, make sure your girls have a uniform to collect memories and accomplishments. We know this year has been and will continue to be challenging for many. Don’t forget that financial assistance is available for uniforms and program materials. To make shopping easier, we’re now also offering a variety of ways to shop. You can request an appointment for in-person shopping. Curbside pick-up is also still available. Or, cozy up with a mug of tea and shop online (don’t forget to keep an eye out for live Facebook shopping events with our retail staff who are more than happy to answer questions you may have).
And let me just say, I’m very thankful that the uniform changes over the years mean I don’t need any sewing skills now—it wouldn’t be pretty!
Trista Carlson – Trista is the Retail Operations Manager at Girl Scouts River Valleys (And has been with the retail team at Girl Scouts River Valleys for almost ten years!). She graduated from St. Cloud State University with a marketing degree. She lives in Farmington with her husband, two daughters, and Goldendoodle, Gus. In addition to leading her daughter’s first grade Daisy troop, Trista likes to bake, shop, and snuggle on the couch with her family while watching a good movie.