Friday, June 25, 2010


If there's thing I've learned from my ten months at NPPR, Girl Scouts of the USA, and The Office Watchers' Guild, it's that everyone loves an intern:

And you know what? I love being an intern. I've started to dread the inevitable day when I am being paid more than $5.85/hour, and can no longer wear hot pink flats and five-inch heels to the office and have my shoes showered with compliments, suggest international women's empowerment and promotion of access to contraceptives as an environmental initiative for Girl Scouts when everyone else in the room wants to get people to replace their light bulbs, and get excited about trivialities like having my own cubicle or planning a potluck. The transition from interning to working full-time is going to be like selling my Get Out of Jail Free card in Monopoly, and I'm not looking forward to it.

One of my favorite moments at work thus far was on Wednesday, when I met with the art department to discuss and design the Girl Scouts Forever Green badge. After our introducing ourselves, I told the director, "I was a Girl Scout for 13 years, and the fact that I'm designing a badge right now is incredible. I'm truly geeking out." Again, everyone loves an intern. I always took the badge designs for granted as a kid, but so much work goes into each seemingly minute detail. Some decisions were easy ("that's hideous"), while others were a bit more problematic. Girl Scouts has made efforts in the past few decades to be more progressive and inclusive of non-Christian religions and religious beliefs, including this 1993 decision:

Girl Scouts Take The Lead

...Girl Scouts, which in a landslide 1,560-375 vote on October 23, 1993, adopted a measure to permit any of its 2.6 million members to substitute another word or phrase for "God" in the official pledge. Girl Scout President B. LaRae Orullian made an official statement that the change is "a very strong statement that Girl Scouts continue to be on the cutting edge, and this is a continuing effort to show that we have strength in diversity and that we are an inclusive organization."

As part of this new direction, I learned, Girl Scouts now steers away from depictions of humans, or any human body parts, on badges and patches, as not to alienate its Muslim members who follow the tenets of aniconism. Our original design was a very minimalist, idyllic representation of a tree, whose leaves and branches were formed from outstretched human arms in various shades of green and brown. Sensitivity sent us back to the drawing board, which I believe is a positive setback. The final design depends upon the details of our final project, but I'm chomping at the bit to see the finished product. I am absolutely ordering one and sewing it onto my old Girl Scout vest.

Another part of Girl Scouts' new branding and messaging is a giant leap away from the stigma that Girl Scouts is only "cookies, crafts, and camping," which is a little sad and disappointing, because those were the best parts about Girl Scouting.

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