Southern Baptist Girls’ Auxiliary Organization
The Southern Baptist Church (SBC) Girls’ Auxiliary Organization began in 1913 or 1914. It was designed for school-aged girls and originally called the Sunbeam Societies or Sunbeams.
In the 1970s, the organization was renamed Girls in Action (GA) and continued to use a royal theme and royal titles to denote advancement or progression in the organization. For example, levels of progression in junior girls’ auxiliary (ages 9-12) included maiden, lady-in-waiting, princess, and queen, or queen-in-service. Progression in intermediate girls’ auxiliary (ages 13-15) included queen, queen-with-scepter, queen-regent and queen-regent-in-service.
The sponsoring organization for GA was and is the Women’s Missionary Union (WMU) of the SBC. In 2013, they celebrated the 100th anniversary of the organization.
GA was a scout-like organization. Girls collected and/or earned charms and badges. Coronations were also held during which some girls were given green velvet capes and gold scepters, etc. The products were marketed to local churches and bore the GA emblem, a white star with a gold GA monogram on a green octagon edged with gold.The white represented purity while the green and gold represented growth and sincerity.
Girls in Action Coronation, 1981
These photos of a Girls In Action coronation were sent to me by a dear friend of mine from my junior high days in East Texas. They feature girls we knew in school. I loved them all so much!
That little town was a whistle-stop for me on the tracks of adolescence. Most of the girls probably don’t remember me but I remember them! My goodness, I have cherished them in my heart for nearly 40 years and I always, always will.
I am so grateful to have these pictures. My young friends look so innocent and amazing in their long white dresses. A mix of boho and Gunne Sax, they are reminiscent of the formal dresses that were popular in the early 1980s.
So many girls I knew in East Texas were Southern Baptist. The church had an enormous cultural and spiritual influence on the town. I have pictures of some of these same girls as babies in the nursery at this church.
I love rites-of-passage.
If pictures have anything important to say to future generations, it’s this: I was here. I existed. I was young, I was happy, and someone cared enough about me in this world to take my picture.
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