January 28, 2008

Girl Guides of Ontario launches revamped website

Decked out in dual shades of blue and sporting a far more streamlined appearance, the official Girl Guides of Ontario website has recently been redesigned. The homepage now promotes the fact that not only is the site specific to Ontario, but that it's also the online spot for Guiding members from Canada's newest territory, Nunavut.

Easy to navigate, full of useful resources (such as a listing of all of the Ontario Girl Guide summer campground locations) and information for members, Guiders and non-members like, the new site gets a thumbs up in my books. (I really hope that in the near future they add content – and items to the online GG of Ontario Guide Shop – which are specific to Nunavut.)

If you have a moment, check out the refurbished provincial site and bookmark it for future reference, as the “What's New” section is bound to be updated often with oodles of interesting Ontario related Guiding news and announcements.

January 21, 2008

PatchCamp.com – not just for Boy Scouts

The world of Boy Scout collecting is vast. Its history vividly rich and its present still wonderfully lively. In my ongoing search for websites and resources which deal with Girl Scout and Guide collecting I've encountered a sizable bounty of Boy Scout related sites, groups, and other handy resources. As a general rule though, I have not included such groups in the Patch Collector's Directory, as the focus of this blog is more geared towards female related Scouting and Guiding collecting.

As the old axiom says though, to every rule there are exceptions – especially when the creator of a very well known and much loved Boy Scout website takes the time to not only link to your site, but also features it on his homepage page (which is ever so perfectly aptly called "Base Camp").

Patch Camp (how awesome is that name!), is an Scouting memorabilia haven. Online since 2000, it's rich in thoroughly helpful links and resources for patch and memorabilia collectors of all ages and collection sizes. So when a friendly email sat waiting in my inbox this morning from Patch Camp's creator, letting me know that he'd discovered my blog (via Bill Mulrenin's own stellar collecting blog, where this site was honoured with a write up in December) and added it to his terrific link directory (as a patch trading portal), I was stoked!

Thank you so much for the add, Glenn. Both Patch Camp and your cool Patch Camp Blog have been added to the Girl Guide and Girl Scout Patch Collecting Directory. I'll definitely be checking in on your blog and site often, because while we may specialize in different branches of collecting, we are all united, male or female, by our love of Scouting and Guiding – and most certainly of gathering and trading patches.

This Site Featured On The Scout Patch Collector's Base Camp

January 11, 2008

My Girl Guide and Girl Scout Dupes and Traders List

Welcome to my list of Girl Guide and Girl Scout patches, silks, and other memorabilia that I have available to trade. I'm fastidious when it comes to ensuring that I keep this list up-to-date, and any time that I get a new dupe or send out a patch, I update this page. Please feel free to bookmark it for quick reference – and check back often to see what's new.

IMPORTANT - PLEASE NOTE: On October 13, 2016, my husband and I lost our home, our beloved cat, my (home based online business), and very nearly all of our belongings - including 100% of my Girl Guide and Girl Scout collection - in a tragic arson fire. 

As such, I presently do not have any patches to swap/trade or sell. Please see this blog post here of mine for many further details about what happened to us.

It is my sincere hope and desire to slowly start rebuilding a new GG & GS collection again and I hope that in time I'll have some swaps to post here once more.

Thank you very much for your understanding in this matter - and a huge thank you as well to all those around the world who I had the pleasure of trading patches, badges, pins, etc with over the years.

Though the physical items I received from you are sadly now gone, the lovely memories of them and our interactions will long live on in my memory.

This page was last updated on May 9, 2017.

January 10, 2008

Jessica's Girl Guide & Girl Scout Patch and Memorabilia Collection

“Collecting has been my great extravagance.
It's a way of being.” Howard Hodgkin

How I became interested in patch collecting and trading

Like many girls and women from all corners of the globe who are involved with Girl Guiding and Scouting, I've long been enthralled with the notion and practice of collecting items related to this fulfilling pastime. As a youth I avidly collected and traded crests/patches and silks, sewing them (along with my Pathfinder sash and a few old earned Brownie badges that had belonged to one of my aunts) diligently onto a campfire blanket which I fashioned out of a grey fleece blanket. I whip stitched all of the outer edges and the neck hole with teal coloured wool, and using multi-coloured sequins and tiny seed beads, I stitched my first name (Jessica) on the back. I loved and treasured that blanket, but like so many things from our childhoods, I fear that it's been lost through many moves and conditions beyond my control (there's a very vague chance that it still exists at the home of a relative, but I need to investigate that in person one day).

In the fall of last year (2007), I decided that I was going to begin collecting patches (or as we usually referred to them when I was in GGs, crests) again for the first time in close to a decade. Starting a patch collection isn't the easiest of tasks for most people, but it's even more challenging for me, as I'm not enrolled in Guiding at this exact moment and so do not get a chance to avidly interact in person with fellow Guiding members.

However, I usually always love a good challenge, and so I set off to find patches online. So far I've had mixed success, but am delighted to say that I've been able to start a collection of crests not only from Canada, but also the US and even a few international destinations.

What I am currently interested in collecting

As my collection is practically brand new, I had to decide what Guiding related items I wanted to most focus on collecting. While the honest truth is, I'd not likely turn away any Girl Guide or Scout related piece, at the moment I am most interested in the following:

-Any patch, crest or silk from anything or that nature related to the Girl Guides of Canada, or any past or present facet of Guiding in Canada (including items pertaining to the 'Guides francophones du Canada'). This very broad description includes such things as national, provincial, area, division, and district crests/silks; camp crests; cookie and calendar seller crests (and often silks); challenge crests and patches; and event crests (for example, “Thinking Day” or “Hike for Hunger”). Really, if it is a crest, silk, patch or even pin and it relates to Canadian Guiding, I'm super interested. That said, I'm most interested of all in collecting national, provincial, area, division, and district crests/patches/silks from all across Canada, and would love to trade with you if you're also into these things!

-Canadian earned badges, pins, buttons, Patrol Leader stripes (or any stripes such as Seconders or Sixers), patrol/pack/troupe emblems, etc from any branch (Brownies, Guides, Pathfinders, Rangers, etc) of Guiding (from any era).

-US Girl Scout Council patches: To begin with I'd like to get at least one council patch from each American State and then (or in the process) move onto collecting one or more patches from each of the former 319 US Girl Scout councils (in the summer of 2006 the number of US councils was dramatically reduced and currently is at 109 Councils nationwide).

-Patches from around the world: I am massively interested in hopefully, one day, being able to have at least one patch/silk/crest from each of the 144 countries that currently belong to WAGGGS. If you're an international trader, please don't hesitate to contact me, it's almost a given that my “newbie” collection does not yet contain your item(s).

-I very much like the idea of collecting US and international earned badges, but don't yet really have a collection of these. If you'd like to trade any earned badges, feel free to drop me a line.

-In addition to the above, I am really keeping my eyes peeled for anything related to Girl Guiding and Scouting in Italy. The reason being that while I'm Canadian, my darling husband is a born and bred Italian, and so as a way of honouring his wonderful culture, I'd love to gather Italian related items.

-Lastly, I'm causally (aka, as I encounter them, I'm not hunting such items down feverishly) into collecting “plush” Canadian Girl Guide items such as the various dolls, stuffed animals, and teddy bears (and their respective outfits and accessories) that have been put out over the years. Though I never owned any of these items, I remember when I was a Pathfinder and my little sister was a Brownie, the “Guide doll” had the option of wearing a Brownie or Guide dress (this uniform, sadly – it was so elegant – is no longer produced in human or doll size). I'd love to get one of each of those doll uniforms (plus any other “vintage” outfits). I'm not sure if there's a big following of doll/plushie collectors, but I'm certainly one.

(On a bit of a side note, if you have any patches, silks, crests, pins or even earned badges that you'd like to sell, I am certainly interested and can be contacted via email.)

Things that I'm not avidly collecting right now

At the moment I'm not really collecting (Canadian, US, or International) uniforms/ties/sashes (unless they have badges/patches on them), flags, camping related items (though I am very interested in the possibility of purchasing Canadian campfire blankets with crests/patches/silks/etc on them), stationary and postcards, or postal stamps.

I'm also not really too interested in US camp or activity patches, though I've amassed some already. Council patches however, are a definite yes!

My specific Canadian collecting needs

Everything! No, I'm just kidding, well..... But seriously, again, as my collection is in its infancy, I really do need a phenomenal number of Canadian crests. Whereas the US has a very finite number of councils (previously 319, currently 109), the quantity of areas, divisions, and districts (A/D/Ds) in Canada is such a large number that it's practically only surpassed by the number of kilometres it takes to drive from one side of the country to the other.

While there are concise lists of all of the US councils which can be found on numerous people's websites, it would appear that many Canadian collectors have come to the same conclusion that I reached when I recently began collecting again, there just isn't an “absolutely definitive” list of all of the Canadian A/D/Ds (and by this I really do mean the GGC does not appear to release such a list to the general Guiding population). Though a few people, bless their hearts, have given very, very earnest and wonderful attempts to cataloguing as many A/D/Ds as they possibly can.

On her fantastic site, Guidingproject.info, website creator and fellow collector Louise St. Germain , estimates that she has identified upwards of 2,000 different Canadian areas, divisions and districts. Wow, that's a huge number! Granted a small percentage of these A/D/Ds may no longer exist (or may not have, or ever had, crests), but still, that is a staggering number of patches to be on the prowl for and certainly more than enough to keep myself – and tons of other collectors – busy for a very long time.

Specifically, my heart lights up the very most when it comes to collecting patches, crests, and silks from British Columbia (my home province), Alberta – especially Calgary, and the Yukon/Northwest Territories/Nunavut (my maternal grandmother hails from Dawson City in the Yukon, and my childhood was peppered with her fascinating tales of growing up in the great white north, embedding in me a lifelong love of all things from the “land of ice and snow”). But truthfully, I really am wild about crests (and like) from any location in Canada and happily will trade for crests/silks/pins from any part of the country.

Would you like to trade?

As you may have gathered, I absolutely love to trade and collection patches and other pieces of Girl Guide/Scout related memorabilia. If you're the same way, or are trading on behalf of someone who is (a young daughter or relative without a computer, for example), I would love to trade with you, or even just discuss Guiding.

Feel free can check out my duplicates and traders page. I update this list every time I get a new trader or send out a trade and therefore remove it from the list. All trading inquiries and other email topics can be sent via email.

I look forward to trading with you, and sincerely thank you for visiting my website. Happy patch collecting to all!

Page last update on: November 30, 2008

January 5, 2008

Top 10 Places to Find Secondhand Girl Guide Uniforms

While many people think of the blossom filled season of spring as the primo time to a thoroughly clean out of their abode, I've always preferred to do a top-to-bottom house cleaning at least once a season. I detest clutter and am constantly reevaluating if I really have the need/use for an items (e.g., outdated clothes, two year old magazines, etc). Like many people, I try to make a point of selling, giving away (to friends/family/women's shelters), or donating (to charity) any item which is still in good shape but of no purposeful use to me any more.

Interestingly though, this process is not merely a one way street. I adore – and I do really mean adore – shopping secondhand, combing through garage sales, and haggling for a bargain at swap meets. Inherited from my mother, this love of scouring high and low for that perfect bargain has helped me furnish homes and dress myself all through my life. And while growing my own Guiding related uniforms were bought new (though I might add, with my own money that I'd saved up from babysitting), I distinctly remember that when my little sister joined Brownies, her uniform was a very kindhearted donation from my elementary school best friend.

I think back to that time in my life and am always so grateful for the gift which was bestowed upon my sister, I don't know what we'd have done (for a uniform) if not for my friend Karen's generosity. Reflecting upon these childhood days I started thinking about some of the other places through out my life where I've seen secondhand Guiding uniforms, or where you may very easily be able to come by one.

While there's certainly the option of buying a new uniform, there's no reason to scoff at the idea of giving an existing one a second time around, irregardless of if the choice is financially based or not. In fact, I can't implore you enough to think of secondhand goods as just as worthy and wonderful as newly purchased items. Gently used items often have a life all their own, and tracking them down can be worlds more fun than just buying them new off the shelf.

With that thought in mind, here are my top 10 recommendations for places to find Canadian Girl Guides (Sparks, Brownies, Guides, Pathfinders, Seniour Branches, Leaders, etc) uniforms (international readers can still avail of many of these suggestions too, adapting them to the shops and sources which are available in their own respective countries).

-The classified section of your local newspaper(s) and “Buy and Sell” type of papers. The Guiding year usually ends in most parts of the country around June and picks up again September, both of these times of the year in particular are potential hotbeds for ads of people who are selling or giving away outgrown or no longer needed uniforms. Plus, if you don't see an ad for what you want, consider placing a small wanted ad – some Buy and Sell type papers let you post (small) free wanted ads, which means you've really got nothing to lose.

-Online classified websites like Kijijo and Craigslist, both let you post and browse wanted and for sale ads for free. These two websites in particular are of interest because they have numerous locale sites for specific large Canadian cities such as Vancouver and Toronto.

-Value Village: an absolute haven for lovers of frequently rotating secondhand household and clothing items. On almost every trip I've ever made to a VV anywhere in Canada, I've seen Guiding uniforms (especially Sparks and Brownies). Sign up for VV's email newsletter to be informed of when one of their super cool 50% off all merchandise one day sales are going to happen (there's usually at least three such sales a year).

-Whether you call it “The Salvation Army” or the “Sally Ann”, there's no denying that this widely known and well established chain of thrift stores is a handy place to check for gently used uniforms.

-Local thrift stores, consignment stores, and church/charity run used clothing shops. (Check your phone book's yellow page section for local listings. Even very small towns often have at least one secondhand and/or consignment store.)

-eBay: This gigantic online flea market is a mecca for potential uniforms (as I type this article right now, a few quick keyword searches turned up a pink current Sparks sweatshirt and an older style Brownie dress – plus oodles of US Girl Scout uniforms and even some brand new sashes). Check often and consider having email updates for specific keywords sent right to your inbox so that you'll always known when a new item that matches your criteria is listed.

-Check out the ad covered bulletin boards at your local grocery store, library, school, church (or other place of worship), community centre, sports complex, daycare, community theater, etc. If you don't happen across an ad (which is fairly likely), place one with your information and contact phone number, so long as wanted ads are permitted.

-Ask, ask, ask! If you known anyone else with a child enrolled in Guiding (or who has been previously enrolled), politely ask them if they held onto any of their child's outgrown uniforms, and if so would they be willing to share them with you (if the answer is yes, make sure you give them something in return to say thank you – homemade cookies or a night of free child minding are always appreciated).

-Your own backyard! Well, perhaps not your own, but how about the front lawns and driveways of your neighbours and friends. Once the warm weather rolls around, garage sales and outdoor swap meets abound across most of Canada. Check your local paper for upcoming ads and circle all the ones close to where you live, then pack some water, snacks, and sunscreen and head out for a lovely weekend morning of yard sale scavenging :) (Likewise, head indoors year round for swap meets, flea markets, and even auctions and estate sales, you never know when and where the opportunity to pick up a uniform will strike!)

-Contact your nearest Guide shop and/or provincial council and inquire as to if they know of any good leads to find gently used uniforms.

As with all searches, it's wise to start well in advance of when you're actually planning on needing the item(s) in question. For example, if you know that your daughter will be flying up from Brownies to Guides next September, and it's July now, consider starting your search while you still have two months before enrollment (which, incidentally, is also another great place to ask around for possible uniform leads).

It is to the best of my understanding, not possible for a girl (or woman) to be excluded from joining Guides due to a lack of uniform (I've read that in the US, so long as a girl is wearing her enrollment pin, she is considered to technically be in uniform). In many cases, local leaders and Guiding members will likely be happy to try and help provide a uniform or suggest a suitable alternative, so please don't let the lack of a uniform prevent you or your daughter from joining or continuing on with Guiding. Try not to worry if you're on a budget or just looking to source a good deal, with a little diligence, it shouldn't be impossible for you to find yourself or your child a great looking Girl Guide uniform.

(I'd just like to add that if any of my readers are looking to sell or donate secondhand uniforms, I'd be delighted to post a classified style ad with your location and contact information on this site.)