When I was a child, children had fewer choices regarding afterschool activities. There were no organized sports for girls! Girls played with dolls or paperdolls, they read, they went to Girl Scouts, they played the piano or they took ballet or tap dancing. That is about it! Children attended Sunday School in the morning before church, they attended Training Union before Sunday Evening worship and they could be a part of Girls’ Auxiliary (better known as GA’s).
There was more rigor in Training Union in those days. That suited me fine because I could memorize about anything. We had Bible Drills and I could be pretty fast. I practiced at home!
GA’s was pretty academic, too. I could read fast and I could memorize so I did well. In GA’s, members could progress through different steps or levels. The first step was Maiden, then Lady-in-Waiting, Princess and Queen. You were expected to finish these steps by the end of 8th grade In high school, you moved through Queen with a Scepter and Queen Regent.
Once a year, we had a big coronation at the church. You had to have at least one queen or above for a coronation. And it was a BIG deal. Girls would recite scripture or tell about research on a missionary or tell about any of the requirements of a step. Then every Maiden would be presented to the church and they would receive their badge which would be placed on their white dresses. Next came Lady-in-Waiting presentations. Then Princess. Then Queen.
When you got to be a Queen, you wore a formal dress and your crown was carried down by an attendant-usually a younger sibling. Your presentation was longer-rather like those orals you had to do after your Master’s program. No one ever wanted to do the life of Christ. it would be too scary in front of the church. What if you forgot something!
I loved GA’s! It gave me an identity during those preteen/teen years It was ok to be in GA’s and be smart. I was fortunate enough to have some great leaders. Those women worked hard encouraging girls and supporting them as they worked to complete their steps. We also had a big retreat every year at Rock Eagle. It was called Houseparty and was awesome. We stayed in cottages at Rock Eagle and talked all night and met missionaries and sang a lot and had a great time! It also always rained. I can’t remember a single time that the sun shined! Looking back, I would have to say that GA’S was one of the best activities in my life. It provided support and encouragement and was lead by good and faithful women who knew what was really important. I thank God that I had the opportunity to learn from them.
The picture that is at the beginning of this post is of me the night I received my Queen Award. My younger sister is the cutie beside me. She got to carry my crown down for me. It was May 27, 1962. I was 13 years old.