June 11, 2010

Know what the Girl Guide and Girl Scout community needs?

Before I jump into the topic of today’s post, I really want to thank my darling husband for posting in my absence recently, to let the wonderful readers of this blog know that I’d be MIA for a while. I’m actually still quite under the weather (for a more detailed account of what’s been going on this regard, please the medical update post that my husband wrote yesterday for my blog Chronically Vintage), but wanted to take a few moments to share an idea with you all that I’ve been toying with for a few months now.

As many of us are keenly aware, the number of online Girl Guide and Girl Scout patch traders continues to dwindle. While there are no hard facts on just how many people actively swap patches these days, I know that that I’ve personally witnessed a drastic decline in the number of online patch traders over the past two to three years (especially from the spring of 2008 onward).

In speaking with Guiding friends and fellow collecting enthusiasts from Canada, America, UK, New Zealand, and Australia, I quickly came to realize that they too had noticed a sharp decline (both amongst online and "real world" traders, but all of the folks I voiced this concern to shared my sentiment that it's online trades in particular that have taken a nose dive).

While it would be easy to dwell on our diminishing ranks, little good can come from focusing on the negative side of things. Instead, the idea I’ve been thinking about implementing is the creation of an online directory (hosted on this blog) of people who are still actively collecting and trading GG and/or GS patches.

Of course this notion is hardly revolutionary. Directories of Girl Guide and Girl Scout patch collectors have been online since the early 90s at least, however the minuscule handful of those that still exist are (by and large) woefully outdated (as are, I’ve found, the directories on most patch trading related Yahoo Groups).

So far those in the GG and GS patch trading community that I’ve discusses this idea with have loved it and told me how much they’d welcome such a service (just as I know I would).

In terms of the information that would be required to join the directory (which of course would be 100% free!), all you’d need to do is email me with your name (just a first name or even online handle is totally fine), what country (state or province is optional) you live in, what kind of Girl Guiding/Scouting items you have available to trade (if you have an online link to your dupes list or photo album, by all means include that too), what sort of items you’re looking for (aka, what you collect), plus a valid email address (this would be how interested parties could contact you to set up swaps).

In order to help keep the directory current, once a year I would contact you via email to ask if you want to remain in the directory and if your information was still up-to-date. This measure would, I hope, help to keep this directory current and to reduce the number of bounced emails.

Before going ahead and putting together this directory, I want to gather some listings (of patch traders) together, so it may be a short while still before the directory itself materializes. I’ve been thinking that so long as I can find at least ten people who’d like to be a part of such a list, I’ll launch it and keep adding names as they come in.

If you’re interested in having you name added to this budding patch swappers list, please email me with your details and I’ll add you to my database of interested parties.

I truly believe in keeping the GG and GS patch trading community alive and sincerely hope that this effort with help to unite those of us – wherever in the world we may be located – who are still actively trading patches, crests, standards, silks, pins, buttons, scarves, books, uniforms, and anything else related to the perpetually wonderful world of Girl Guiding and Scouting.

~ PS ~

For those who are looking for other places in which to potentially connect with fellow swappers, be sure to check out the Girl Guide and Girl Scout Badge Collectors Club, a UK based group for patch enthusiasts the world over.