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Girl Scout Hospital Aides
The Senior Girl Scout Hospital Aide program was launched in 1943,
while America, and the world was at war. This program was often in
conjunction with already established hospital candy stripe programs
and Red Cross hospital volunteer programs.
How the program was implemented varied widely. Some places had Girl Scout Hospital Aide Committees that would interview applicants and screen candidates prior to the Girl Scout ever
setting foot into the hospital. Then pre-training, such as having a current Red Cross First Aid card and good grades in school would be examined. Only then would the Senior Girl Scout begin training in classrooms at the hospital. Other hospitals had a more on-the-job training program under the gaze of a Training Nurse who specialized in fitting volunteers into the hospital environment.
Shown below is the entire Hospital Aide program, from the February 1943 Girl Scout Leader magazine.
This photo ran in many newspapers in the early days of the Hospital Aide program. In the lower right corner is the Girl Scout logo, signifying that it was an officially released Girl Scout photo.
Home Nurse Badge
The theme for Girl Scout Week in 1944 was "Service to Hospitals", celebrating the new Hospital Aide program and other volunteer service to hospitals. Girl Scout Week was celebrated in October in the early years.
The 1944 the Independent (Long Beach, CA) ran an article about the Hospital Aide program at the Community Hospital, noting the prerequisites:
1, Written consent of parents or guardians to become a Senior Service Scout, and to participate in emergency service for which she is qualified
2. Hold an up-to-date Red Cross first aid certificate
3. Satisfactory health indicated by a recent health examination by a licensed physician
4. Ability to build outdoor fires and prepare food over them according to war nutrition standards
The article described the special "capping" ceremony after the Girl Scouts had completed 40 hours of service, when they received their aide caps and Girl Scout Hospital Aide emblems. The Senior Service Scouts pledges:
" I will do my best at all times, and under all circumstances, to deserve the name of Senior Service Scout. I shall try to be dependable, self-reliant and unselfish. I want to be useful to my country, the United States of America."
Photographs of capping ceremonies were easy fodder for newspapers.
The Girl Scout Hospital Aide emblem was available as early as 1945, but didn't make the catalog until 1946. Although the program lasted longer, the patch was only offered until supply ran out in 1952.
There was no established Girl Scout Hospital Aide uniform.
Each group was left to either wear the basic "candy strip"
uniform of the hospital or come up with their own unique
uniform. Here's where the Girl Scouting spirit rose to the
occasion. Some groups created armbands, some created
pinafores using green & white striped seer-sucker fabric,
or light green fabric, or something unique so that their
pride in Girl Scouting shown brightly.
In 1952, Hospital Aides changed to the Senior Service Scout patch on their designated uniform. In 1953 Senior Girl Scout Service Bars were introduced, and the red bar pin was for Hospital Aides.
In 1944 the Girl Scouts, Girl Reserves (a similar girl group for YWCA) and Camp Fire Girls made an agreement to coordinate the basic setup of the Hospital Aide programs. This showed the ongoing cooperation among girl organizations during this era.
These photos were submitted by Ward Ryan of his mother when she was a
Girl Scout Hospital Aide,
showing her pinafore with the Senior Service Scout patch.
Shown left, is what was left of the Hospital Aide program in the 1963 Senior Girl Scout Handbook.
The red Senior Girl Scout Service Bar for Hospital Aides was offered through the 1973 catalog.
One last look at the Girl Scout Hospital Aide program, with the girls in their pinafores with the Hospital Aide emblem, as remembered in a council made calendar. This was remembering the Marin County Girl Scout Hospital Aides in 1947.
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