Female astronauts, Girl Scout History Project

Where were you when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon? You’ve probably been asked that question and heard many answers today, as we mark the 50th anniversary of that event.

Out of the blue, I received the following memory today from Lisa Wilson:

In the summer of 1969 my best friend, Jane Conable, and I were 12 year old campers at May Flather. It was our first time sleeping in a platform tent, eating (and cleaning up!!) in a mess hall, and searching for snakes along wooded trails. It was also our first and only time getting woken up in the middle of the night to sit around the campfire circle gazing into the cool blue light of a black & white TV set that had been connected to an outlet via a long, LONG extension cord so that us privileged “older” campers could watch the moon landing live. We had to watch in total silence so as not to wake the younger campers and that spectacular silence still rings in my ears today whenever I think about Apollo 11. The juxtaposition of nature and technology was breath taking.

The Star Gazer badge was introduced in 1920. Since then, astronomy and space science badges have been created for every age level.

The years of encouragement have paid off.

GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo credits her Brownie leader with fueling her interest in space. That interest led to a degree in engineering and job with NASA. (Read about her career in her book, Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist.)

Female astronauts, Girl Scout History Project

In 2019, the renowned SETI Institute collaborated with GSUSA on badges for middle-school and high-school aged girls.

Female astronauts, Girl Scout History Project
Space Science badges

Nearly every female astronaut has been a Girl Scout, a fact that led NASA to create this splendid poster:

Female astronauts, Girl Scout History Project
NASA: The Path to High Adventure Begins with Scouting
Female astronauts, Girl Scout History Project
NASA: The Path to High Adventure Begins with Scouting

This week NASA set a new lunar goal: to return to the moon by 2024, with at least one female astronaut on board.

Chances are, she’ll be a Girl Scout.

©2019 Ann Robertson, writer, editor, Girl Scout historian.

5 responses to “To the Moon, Girl Scout!”

  1. I watched in the mess hall of Camp Sacajawea in Sparta, NJ

  2. I was a Waterfront Director at GS Kamp Kawani in Middleton, TN. The council brought in small portable TVs ( 4 I believe) (B&W of course). They were in four of the unit houses – two units came together with divided staff so that we could see the landing an walk on the moon.
    It was surreal in the middle of nowhere to see men walking on the moon that we gazed at during our “Stargazing” at night – waterfront staff the campers brought their towels to layout on the docks to get a clear view. Even with a standing glass we never quite found the landing site – although many campers claimed they saw it just looking up!! The excitement fuel much imagination!

  3. Marianna Gilbertson Avatar
    Marianna Gilbertson

    Great note on the Space Walk of 1969– Yes, I was in my Grandmother’s living in WI Rapids, WI July 1969. I will always remember that time and place.
    My grandmother, Margaret Luce McCourt worked her way to the top of the Girl Scout leadership here in the state of Wisconsin and I have taken over the achieving of Girl Scout
    history in our town of Eau Claire WI to keep those stories alive.

    Again, thanks for the note and email message. Well written and timed.

    Marianna Luce (McCourt) Gilbertson
    Delegate/Board of GSNWGL

  4. Do you know if this poster is available to share with girls? A few of the girls from our council have attended the Space Camp Destinations events and I would love fro them to have one.

    1. Ann Robertson Avatar
      Ann Robertson

      Follow the link in the text. It will take you to the NASA site with the poster.

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