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

1 comment:

  1. Hey, my name is Sam, I have a brown haired Brownie doll from Canada that I could sell you, it's the older plush doll wearing the brown smock. I live in Ottawa. Let me know if you want it, and I can give you my email.