A Visit To The Girl Scout Mecca In New York City

gs_nyc As many of you know, my husband and I like to take trips to places, on our vacations or days off, just to enjoy someplace new and being together. Yesterday (April 21, 2010) was one of those days. We went off to NYC again, and it was a beautiful day outside, a bit of chill in the air, but nothing a sweatshirt didn’t cure.

In advance of the trip, I did a little researching to find out where the Girl Scout National HQ was. I knew it was in NYC but was curious if I could find it. After a long day of walking and exploring other parts of the Big Apple, we found the GS National HQ, a mecca for me. Being an active and involved volunteer, this was truly an experience.

The actual HQ/store/museum is in a condo building, with the store being on the 11th floor. We got our passes on the way in to visit the store. As we approached the store, we were greeted by Catharine at the desk and she showed us where it was. I couldn’t believe how small the actual store was. I actually think our council store locally is bigger than the national one. Of course, you could find some things that you couldn’t find in local stores but for the most part, I either already had it or could get it locally. Tons of Journey books, other badge books, uniform pieces, etc. I ended up buying a canvas tote bag that said GS National HQ on it plus a hat/t-shirt combo that had the same on it, plus the GS Nat’l HQ patches too.

As we were finished purchasing my goodies, the lady mentioned to me that we could visit the museum upstairs which was on the 17th floor. Of course we were interested in it! So, we spoke with Catharine and she hooked us up to go visit.

When we got up to the 17th floor, we were greeted by Pamela Cruz. I assume she must work with collections of historical info. She showed us a small area which had quite a few books for people to research things. We also visited the museum which had some older uniforms on display plus other items of interest too. Then there was a booth of older promotional ads/infomercials/movies and the movie “The Golden Eaglet” which was made in 1918. The whole museum was fascinating.

We also got to see where they kept the archives in the archive room. This was large and vast. As Pamela had pointed out, this was all just National GS historical archives. There is a whole other side of Girl Scout history, and that’s at the local council levels and even service unit levels. Record keeping and documentation is so important.

We did talk some about the upcoming 100th birthday of Girl Scouts in 2012 and history conferences. All in all, what started off as a fun trip to NYC with a hope to find the Girl Scouts National Headquarters ended up being more than just that, a real look at the GS history and how many changes have come about since its start in 1912.

Man, I may sound like such a nerd but I was in heaven after yesterday. Next goal? Savannah, GA to visit the birthplace and visit the World Centers in Mexico, India, England and Switzerland.

Virtual Field Trip:

Visit the Girl Scout Museum online, and take a peek at the rotating featured exhibit.

New York City Day Trip:

Girl Scout National Headquarters
420 Fifth Avenue, 37th Street Entrance
New York, NY 10018

gs_nyc2Guest post from Carleen M. Hannan, Girl Scout volunteer extraordinaire from Elmira, NY.

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