American Girls on the Home Front : Opportunities and Challenges Faced by the Girl Scouts of America During World War II
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The entrance into World War II heightened the U.S. government's expectation for its citizen's sacrifice, productivity, and patriotism. Girl Scouts U.S.A. responded by collaborating with the U.S. government. By 1942, programs, such as the Girl Scout Crop Rescue Squad, created a close relationship between individual Girl Scouts and federal agencies. World War II presented G.S.U.S.A. with both opportunities and challenges- opportunities to work more closely with government agencies than ever before in serving a big national purpose, challenges in keeping the social upheaval of the war from creating a ill-equipped generation. G.S.U.S.A. encouraged a two-tiered contribution to national defense and American morale. The Girl Scouts, at all levels, adapted their programs during World War II to ensure direct and immediate service as a part of domestic mobilization; individuals in the National Headquarters communicated with U.S. departments and agencies to coordinate their activities and engage Girl Scouts in wartime activities. The immediate focus and service was intended to supplement the work of adults, particularly in the context of the growth in industry and government bureaucracy. Girl Scouts were encouraged to make acts of service, regardless of rank, such as organizing loan and bond drives and learning emergency skills in Girl Scout Defense Institutes. Senior Scouts faced graduated opportunities and responsibilities, as they were closer to adulthood. As older Scouts participated in a Mariner or Wing Scout program, they gained skills and knowledge in a structured setting created for their age. G.S.U.S.A. understood themselves as having high potential and value in the immediate mobilization for national defense. Just as G.S.U.S.A. developed programs for engaging American girls in wartime mobilization, they also hoped to prepare them for a meaningful and patriotic adulthood. G.S.U.S.A. programs during World War II encouraged the individual development and moral education of Scouts. Rather than have the war create a delinquent and damaged generation of American children, G.S.U.S.A. instead chose the lessons and circumstances of the war to better prepare them for the post-war world. G.S.U.S.A wanted to ensure that, as future women, Girl Scouts would be equipped to function in society, promote American greatness, and continue to serve their country.