The Girls Club

Childhood Memories FridayAs a child, the Girls Club in town was a big part of my life. The Girls Club was a place where girls could go after school to take various classes – and my sister and I took full advantage. I remember taking classes in crafts. I learned to knit and to crochet there, and also tried to tat (I never did get the hang of sliding the little “picots” along the thread …).

I excitedly signed up for baton classes as a second grader, but alas, my lack of coordination followed me there, and it was not very successful. The class teacher had a rule that we couldn’t say “I can’t,” and I remember standing there trying to phrase that idea in a different way.

I took classes in pottery, and still have many of the items I made – including a little Christmas angel with one wing endearing glued on upside down. I fervently wanted to paint the angels colorfully, but my mom prevailed upon me to paint them cream-colored instead. Today, I am grateful I followed that advice.

I took a class in spinning, dying and weaving, and actually made and colored yarn which I used to knit an admittedly-very-homemade-appearing stocking cap. My kids wear it every now and then.

A little online looking reveals that Girls Inc, the organization sponsoring the Girls Club, is still around. I gather that it caters more to inner-city kids, but the town I grew up in lacked an inner city. The Girls Club did have a bus that came to a different elementary school after school each day to transport any interested girls to the club. I remember riding the bus there frequently.

The classes were always free (at least, I think they were). What a great resource! As I got older, I volunteered to teach many classes there as well. I even taught piano there for awhile, trying to use one piano to teach several students at once. During my years there, the Club had several different directors. I mainly remember Mrs. McDougal, a large jolly black lady who was usually sitting at the counter right inside the entrance.

In the summers, the Girls Club offered classes as well. “Let’s Take a Trip” featured field trips to various places of interest near our community. It was on these bus rides that I learned many songs, such as “Plant a Watermelon Over My Grave.”

The Club sponsored contests each year, which high-achievin’ me just loved. The fact that there usually wasn’t much competition made it even more appealing. I raked in savings bonds and certificates for sewing, writing short stories, and creating greeting cards.

As a teen, I was able to advance farther with these contests, and my sewing creation won me a trip to the annual convention in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I took my first-ever plane trip to get there, and that remains the only time I’ve traveled west of the Mississippi. The next year, my career key essay again won me a trip to the annual convention, this time in Boston. I was able to fly again, and thoroughly enjoyed my honors.

I wish there were a place like the Girls Club for my kids. It was a fun place, and a spot where I learned many, many things.


6 thoughts on “The Girls Club

  1. Once again I’ve learned something about you. I don’t think I knew about your trip to New Mexico. While I knew you girls participated in things at the Girls Club, I don’t think I realized how much time you spent there. I’m glad you had those opportunities.

  2. Wow, what neat memories you have! Your post made me think of some of the wonderful things I did as a child. I did not participate in Girls Club, but I was in Brownies which opened my eyes to many things. Brownies afforded me my one time experience with riding a horse! I also remember taking tap dancing lessons and performing in two recitals. I also took ballet and remember dressing up in a tutu and feeling like a princess. I took summer school classes in pottery and cooking. Another year I learned to tie dye and I performed in plays. Camping under the stars with my jr. high church group and frolicking in snow at 6th grade camp. Your “Childhood Memories” posts help me remember the blessings. Thank you Susan!

  3. You were lucky to have that! That would have been fun. I only had Girl Scouts–and I was a fanatic for a few years! I later dragged my daughter to American Heritage Girls where I LOVED being the leader and she….well…didn’t “love” it quite as much! lol

  4. This sounds great! I don’t remember having access to it. Sounds like something I would have loved. I did try to avail myself of as many opportunities as possible when I was young. I remember them fondly, as well.

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