Making the world a better place and serving God and my country is what we promise to be as Girl Scouts. But it’s amazing how often we forget to help make our country a better place in Girl Scouting.
Generations ago, Girl Scouts helped in the Great Depression, assisted war efforts and fought for racial equality. These days, Girl Scouts is less about service and more about serving cookies – at least in the public worldview.
How can we teach our girls to love and serve our nation? Instilling a bit of patriotism may be just what our communities need.
Here are ways we can teach our Girl Scouts patriotism and develop a love of service to our communities.
1. Participate in an Honor Flight.
Honor Flights are local groups that honor area veterans by transporting them to Washington, DC, to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends. Our Girl Scout service unit has welcomed these veterans home twice now, and plans to do so again this fall. It’s an amazing experience to participate in. My daughter has been blessed to meet female veterans from World War II, as well as Korean and Vietnam Wars.
Even if you cannot attend an Honor Flight, I encourage your troop to write letters thanking these veterans for their sacrifices for our country. These letters can be sent to your local Honor Flight and delivered during a “mail call” on their return flight home.
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2. Learn about citizenship.
Yes, I know they learn some amount of civics during school, but reinforce that part of making the world a better place is by standing up for what you believe in. That might be attending a city council meeting, writing a letter to the editor, signing a petition, joining a rally or voting or running for office.
Even when it’s not an election year, Girl Scouts has a number of badges that can educate about citizenship.
- Celebrating Community
- Inside Government
- Finding Common Ground
- Behind the Ballot
- Public Policy
An American Patriotism patch is available through the North Carolina Coastal Pines Council, and the Girl Scouts in New York also have a women’s suffrage patch to celebrate 100 years of the suffrage movement in that state.
3. Attend a flag placement.
Many cemeteries place American flags at the headstones for Memorial Day, July 4, Veteran’s Day or 9/11. It’s an amazing experience to be part of and truly only takes a few hours of time.
Waiting for flag placement with the #girlscouts and #boyscouts at Dayton National Cemetery. #memorialday #veterans #fallen
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4. Learn flag etiquette.
It’s amazing to me how many people don’t know about flag etiquette, whether it’s taking off a hat or bandana or how to place the flag.
5. Participate in a flag ceremony or a flag retirement.
How do you help instill a sense of patriotism and community in your scouts? Share your ideas below.