Girl Reserves - YWCA

    Officially the Girl Reserves of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) began in 1918. However, like many clubs - it evolved from many informal girl gatherings under the YWCA program and from the Patriotic League of the YWCA. The Girl Reserves sought to help girls 12-18 develop a well-balanced personality, grow physically and take on social responsibility.

By 1921 there was a Girl Reserves handbook  to outlined the program.  It was a uniformed group, although by the 1930 there was a great deal of discussion on the merits of uniforms.

The Girl Reserve armband was for all ages;

Grade school age girls would embroider a light blue floss around the triangle.

High School age girls would embroider tan floss around the triangle and

Girls in business and industry would embroider red floss around the triangle.

The first style of membership pin was 3/4" triangle

The early Girl Reserves program had earned recognition to be placed on the armband. Although the handbook notes these are cloth emblems, a later adult advisor's book notes that the emblems would be metal buttons.

In 1922 the Girl Reserves ring was offered as the highest achievement of a Girl Reserve - she would then be called a Special Girl Reserve Aide.


Later rings had the circle around the triangle

1928 Girl Reserves (summer) uniform, white middy blouse, white pleated skirt, Copenhagen Blue silk tie. Winter uniform was a navy blue skirt. Camp uniform was navy bloomers.



Girl Reserve metal button

By 1928 the membership pins had a circle around the triangle


Later pins were the same size, but had a line under the "GR"


Girl Reserve Slogan: Face Life Squarely

Girl Reserves Purpose: To find and give the best.

Girl Reserves Pledge: I will do my best to honor God, my country, and my community, to help other girls and to be in in ways a loyal, true member of the Girl Reserves.


1921 Handbook

felt armband for Senior Girl Reserves

1940 Song Book


1932 Girl Reserves in uniform

Note paper with the Girl Reserves emblem

Publicity slide - this photo also appeared in the handbook

This National Archives image shows girls of Japanese ancestry who were interred at the Las Ninas Relocation Camp during World War II. They are wearing Girl Reserves armbands and the note card in front says "Las Ninas G.R. club"


The Girl Reserve program lasted until 1946, when the name was changed to Y-Teens, to be more in step with the modern girl.