Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Playing the Past

by Kim Van Sickler
Juniors at a Playing the Past badge event.

My daughter, Claire, is about an eyelash short of snagging her Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. It's roughly equivalent to the Eagle Award in Boy Scouts, but having assisted my son in earning his Eagle and my daughter in earning her Gold, I will say it is harder to earn the Gold. However, most people have never heard of the Gold Award.

We could get into a discussion about why that is, but that's for another post.

Claire just turned in her final paperwork for her project, which was restoring a community building, built in 1896, that was originally used by a local Grange organization, otherwise known as the Order of Patrons of Husbandry. As part of her project, she compiled a brief, reader-friendly fact sheet about the Maplegrove Grange and the building that used to be its meeting house. She also threw two community events: one was a Girl Scout badge-earning activity, the other an open house.

Her favorite part of the project was the badge workshop we held for Junior girls to earn the Playing the Past badge.

Girls had to attend, dressed as they might have looked in 1896. Some of us even came up with alter egos.
Girl Scouts dressed as our alter egos.

(From right to left) Claire was Samantha Johnson, a seamstress with a husband  in the Army. She helped sew Army uniforms as well as anything the town's residents needed mended.

Megan was Meg Winston, a single farm owner, ever since her dad passed away.

Carli was Cecil. Her parents were Italian immigrants. She helped her mother run the house, but dreamed of more for herself. She courted a man named Tim and was adamantly opposed to arranged marriages.

Nicole was Sarah Lee. Her father came from a long line of tailors. She grew up in Maine and lived in her beautiful family home until a year ago. It was then that she moved to Ohio with her soon-to-be husband, William James Tabin, a traveling salesman she met in Maine. For the last six months she has been working as a governess.

Nancy was Nora Nash, the local schoolteacher. Her parents were fruit farmers.

Tina (arrived after the picture was taken) helped Nora at the schoolhouse.

And the girls decided that I would be the local newspaper reporter.

It was an afternoon with a decidedly different feel to it. The girls baked Apple Brown Betty.
Preparing Apple Brown Betty.


They braided handkerchiefs out of strips of old fabric and made dolls out of yarn.
Making braided handkerchiefs and yarn dolls.

They played parlour games like "Button, Button" (The It person tries to figure out who is holding onto the button as the players continue to pass it around the circle behind their backs.)
Playing "Button, Button".
And all the while, songs like "Stars and Stripes Forever", "Yankee Doodle Dandy", and "Zacatecas March" played in the background.
This is the badge the Juniors earned.
It's fun to read about times gone by. We discovered it's also fun to try and re-enact them.

21 comments:

  1. Wow! The Playing the Past event sounds like so much fun. Congrats to your daughter on her new badge.

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    1. One of the great things about scouts is when the older girls mentor the younger girls. When the older girls put on a function like this, the younger girls have accessible role models and the older girls hone their organizational-interpersonal skills. All good stuff. :-)

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  2. What a terrific project. Congratulations to your daughter upon earning the Gold Award (her project just has to be approved). And congratulations to you for raising such responsible children. Earning the Gold Award and Eagle Scout indicate a high degree of perseverance. From a mother who has been there.

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    1. Thanks, Diane! Scouting has been an important part of our bonding time, and a way for me to see close-up how my kids interact with others and handle responsibility and challenges. Sometimes it's been eye-opening...

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  3. Wow! So much work!! Hat's off to you and your daughter for a job well done!

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    1. Ha! Thanks. Speaking of hats, the only way I could even remotely pass as a lady from 1896 was by wearing a hat. Or a long wig. Hair as short as mine doesn't translate to other time periods.

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  4. Sounds like what might have happened at a Girl Scouts meeting 100 years ago... which is just about possible, I think, given their history! This looks like a really cool, fun event :)

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  5. What a totally awesome and rewarding activity!

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  6. What a great fun--and learning--experience for all of you! Re-enacting is fun. However, I'm glad we live today. Those times were really TOUGH!

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    1. Kathy, you are so right. Sometimes our perceptions of a quaint time- gone-by leave out some of the harsh realities. One of the first things our group did was talk about what life was like back in 1896. There were plenty of national and international disasters that year, the economy was tanking, and segregation "separate but equal" had just been condoned by the US Supreme Court.

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  7. That sounds like it was a lot of fun, especially making the dolls out of yarn.

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  8. You must be very proud of your kids. Scouting offers so much, but it takes extra special kids to make it all the way to the top. Congratulations to them... and to you. Your daughter's project sounds terrific.

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  9. That's an awesome, fun project. Congratulations to Claire. I was a girl scout - Brownie and Junior, but never heard of the Gold Award. It was good experience working on badges though. I'm glad the Girl Scouts is still going strong.

    Be well.
    xoRobyn

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  10. It is quite an accomplishment that your daughter has earned the Gold Award! I admire how much hard work, and creativity she put into it. You're a wonderful mom for encouraging Claire to be involved in something so worthwhile, and it really looks like everyone had so much fun in their cute costumes, not to mention the incredible learning experience. Kim, You've given your beautiful daughter
    memories that will last a lifetime.

    Julie

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  11. Congratulations to Claire! She has certainly put a lot of work and thought into her soon-to-be accomplishment. Also congratulations to you, Kim, for helping her through.

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  12. What a great celebration. Congratulations to Claire. Talk about life-long learning! Thanks for sharing this with us.

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  13. What a fascinating, educational project. They'll never forget bringing those stout-hearted, admirable women of the past to life. Congratulations to Claire.

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  14. Kim - Just wanted to wish you, and your family a Merry Christmas, and a fabulous New Year! Hope you're getting ready to celebrate in costumes!

    Julie

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    1. Thanks, Julie. Right back at you. We celebrated on the slopes in Upper Michigan. Awesome skiing and snowboarding. We tried to show as little skin as possible; it was freezing!

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  15. Wow, what a great project your daughter took on. You must be very proud!

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