Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The Girl Scout Vest That Lasts for Seven Years: How It Started and How It's Going!

 Girl Scouts have the opportunity to wear the same Girl Scout uniform, vest or sash, from the Cadette through Ambassador levels. That's sixth grade through twelfth grade, all in the same uniform!

Here's how that started, way back in 2015:

And here's how it's going!

Seven years gives an active Girl Scout like Will a LOT of time to earn a LOT of badges and fun patches, and running out of room is a very real possibility. Some Girl Scouts add extensions to their uniforms, like capes, sashes stacked onto vests, lengthened bottom pieces, etc., but I don't like the idea of altering the body of the uniform. Instead, I'm just overlapping the snot out of the fun patches, which for some reason feels fine to me.

And yes, I also need to admit right here that I COULD have simply put Will into a new vest when she Bridged to Senior. In fact, I SHOULD have put her into a new vest, because during the three years that she was a Cadette she grew, I swear, at least a foot, and by the time she was ready to Bridge that vest that had seemed so roomy once upon a time now barely reached her midsection.

But because I am so weird, my kid, like, barely even had to breathe the tiniest word of disappointment about having to change vests and lose all the evidence of her Cadette accomplishments before I was all, "NO YOU WON'T! I WILL BUY YOU A BIGGER VEST, AND I WILL RIP ALL OF YOUR OLD BADGES AND PATCHES OFF OF THE SMALL ONE, AND I WILL SEW THEM ALL ONTO THE BIG ONE, AND I WILL MAKE THEM PERFECT!"

Don't even talk to me about how silly that was. I know! But dang it, I enjoyed helping her earn all that Cadette stuff at least as much as she enjoyed earning it all, and I want to see it all and enjoy it again every time I look at her uniform. Heck, if she had been allowed to keep her Junior badges on her vest, I'd have happily switched those over, too!

So now we are five-and-a-half years into this tan vest's seven-year mission, and I think there will be *just* enough room for everything. This winter, however, when I bought a new heavy-duty sewing machine, I did stitch back over ever single thing I've sewn onto both kids' vests over the years, essentially quilting everything in parallel lines of invisible top stitching:

Some of those older patches really needed the extra reinforcement!

Here's what the front of Will's vest looked like just two years ago:

And here's what it looks like today!

Somehow, I'm an even worse photographer than I was two years ago. I just cannot seem to get the hang of correct lighting for my photos!

I'm thinking that I'll put Will's Ambassador badges, as well as any WAGGGS badges that she earns, on top of the Cadette badges, but I'll probably keep the IPs she earns over on the Senior side until I run out of room, at least.

Syd's not been as active in Girl Scouts as Will for a while now, so I don't think she's in danger of running out of room on her vest:

Check out this bull crap that I just noticed, though:

At some point, the whole front of her WAGGGS pin snapped off! Guess I'm paying for that again...

Girl Scouts is one of my favorite things to do with my kids and their friends, so I guess it makes sense that I spend this much time and effort on something as low-stakes as their uniforms: to me, they represent all the time we've spent together doing community service and art projects, camping and going on field trips, learning about weird stuff and having adventures. They've got a fun patch for the time I thought I was going to die on a high-altitude obstacle course, a badge for the time I thought that I was going to drown in the lake, another badge for that night that I thought we were all going to die in the woods after I led nearly a dozen kids on a late-night hike somewhere unfamiliar and our flashlights suddenly shone on a row of headstones.

We did NOT go back the next morning to see if they were still there in the daylight.

I'm already feeling bummed that I've only got another year and half of memories to put on Will's vest, but yesterday, driving her home from a long afternoon of helping hand out kits for the Take-Home Cookie Rally that we planned and then going door-to-door to leave door hangers advertising contact-free Girl Scout cookie delivery to her best customers, Will mentioned that she, too, was a little sad about the inevitable end of her time as a Girl Scout.

And immediately I was all, "Oh! As soon as you're an adult, you can have a Girl Scout troop of your own!"

I'll buy her a Girl Scout leader vest, you guys! And I'll help her sew all her patches on it, all nicely lined up and organized!

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