AMERICAN ERA (1946) In the last few years many schools for the deaf have been welcoming and using the Girl Scout program as part of their physical, mental and social in promoting better citizenship. It has been demonstrated that the real value of Girl Scouting can be ascertained by deaf girls as readily as by hearing girls. Juliette Low, the Founder of Girl Scouting in the United States, was herself profoundly deaf. Conscious of her own handicap, she enthusiastically planned what Girl Scout mean to the physically handicapped as well as to the normal. The basic principle for Girl Scouting for a deaf girl, as stated in the "Child's Bill of Rights" at the White House Conference in 1930,of her right"To grow up in a world which does not set her apart, but which welcomes her exactly as it welcomes every child, which offers her identical privileges and identical responsibilities." Scouting is the deaf girl's heritage. Here is an opportunity for the deaf child to be a member of a world-wide organization on a equl basis with the hearing girl.In the Scouting program the deaf child gains the satisfaction of being a large group working for the same pin, ranks and badges as thousands of other girls. She gain self-confidence in her competition with the hearing youth. Scouting discourages any feeling of being different, of inferiority, of lack of ability. In fact it discourages all those detrimental habits that handicapped children often display. They can have the sense and pride of doing the same things other girls do, just as they do it. In using the Scouting program in institution, some adaptions are necessary. The activities chosen have to be considered from their proper relationship with other activities in the school, and have to be interesting and suitable to the group as a whole, rather than to the individual alone. Meeting those requirements, a Scouting program enthusiastically participated in it by a group of deaf girls is a boost to the morale of the whole institution. When the Girl Scout laws of honor, duty to God and country, loyalty, helpfulness, friendliness, courteous, obedience, cheerfulness, thriftiness and cleanness, become through practice the guide post in the life of a group of girls in a residential school, cooperation with the rules and regulations becomes part of the game and tends to permeate the whole school. The Scouting program providdes new interests, new incentives, increased social adjustment, a healthy attitude toward the handicap of deafness, and the feeling of sameness and fellowship with youths all over the nation. In an institution where much of the living of the girls must be geared to a routine established by adults, Scouting offers a refreshing period in which the girls can share in the planning and responsibility of a program of varied activities. It gives them the added benefits that arises from social-mingling with girls of other troops. Their contacts and rivalries with hearing girls as such as to make them forget their handicap, feel pride in their abilities andd accomplishments, and increase their self-confidence.
Note: Loretta, my Deaf sister, a member of ASD Troop 78 (1946)