Throughout history, Girl Scouts across the nation have honored both the active members of our military and veterans who have sacrificed to protect our freedom. This Memorial Day is no different. Even though we are observing this day from home, Girl Scouts continue to show appreciation for our veterans.
This week’s Member Monday falls on Memorial Day, which marks the beginning of Service Week across our council. We’re taking this opportunity to highlight Girl Scouts who have earned the Girl Scouts GCNWI Honoring our Veterans patch.
A Girl Scout alum—who just happens to be army veteran and United States Senator Tammy Duckworth—teamed up with us to develop a special patch program so girls can connect with and honor veterans in their communities. By completing a service project, visiting a veteran, or telling a veteran’s story, girls can earn the Girl Scouts GCNWI Honoring our Veterans patch.
Since the launch of the patch program last Veterans Day, so many Girl Scouts have shared their experiences working with veterans with us.
The stories below are from some of the council’s service-minded Girl Scouts who dedicated time to veterans in their communities previously, before we sheltered in place to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Serving Those who Served
Girl Scouts from three different troops from Glenview, IL, organized a Cards for Veterans Service Project for veterans at the Hines VA Hospital. The girls ended up exceeding their initial goal, collecting over 140 cards that were delivered to the hospital on Veterans Day 2019. The girls hope to inspire more people in their community to share their messages of appreciation, not only around Veterans Day, but throughout the year.
Girl Scout Troop 75142, in celebration of Veterans Day, hosted an event filled with music, food, games, fellowship, and a performance by the Loyola University Rambler Battalion Color Guard, all in honor of the sacrifices women United States service members have made to defend our country. Later, the girls organized a donation drive to benefit the Women’s Residential Program at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center.
Service is an essential part of the Girl Scout DNA, and Gold Award Girl Scout and Senator Duckworth knows this well. When she thinks of Girl Scouts, she thinks of “hard work… a commitment to making the community, and the country around you, a better place.”
Watch Senator Duckworth speak on the importance of service in Girl Scouting:
Visiting a Veteran
Some Girl Scouts took a more personal approach to the patch program, like Sophia, who chose to interview her stepfather. During this conversation, Sophia gained insight into someone important in her life and a deeper understanding about how to better support veterans. She learned that being home can sometimes feel harder than being away, and that a supportive friend group is essential.
Last October, Girl Scout Anne decided to volunteer at the Manteno Veteran’s Home, where she met Jimmie, a veteran with a love for Bob Hope. Anne learned about his time in Korea and how he got to see his favorite comedian, Hope, who dedicated himself to providing laughter to active service members. Anne loved earning this patch so much she joined an Auxiliary Post with the American Legion in her community to continue helping veterans.
A group of Girl Scouts from Chicago also kept their project close to home, connecting with their own troop leader and the father of one of the girls, both veterans. The girls listened closely to their stories, learning about the different branches of the armed forces, how to become a veteran, and the treatment of women in the army. They also learned that, like in the Girl Scouts, everyone in the military has a part to play and must “be prepared” at all times.
Honoring our Veterans from Home
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to honor and support veterans from home. The Village of Lake Bluff will be hosting a virtual Memorial Day observance ceremony, available for online viewing on Monday, May 25 at 9:00 a.m. Filmed in front of the Veteran’s Memorial at the Village Green, the ceremony will be shared online through the Facebook pages of the Village of Lake Bluff, LakeBluffStrong, and the Lake Bluff History Museum.
Complete a Service Project Benefitting Veterans
You may complete two service projects to earn the patch. Below are some ideas:
- Send cards of appreciation
- Donate Girl Scout Cookies to a veteran home or program
- Coordinate and lead a virtual activity with a veteran
- Work with a local veteran or senior center to coordinate the delivery of hygiene supplies, clothes, and other needed items.
Visit with a Veteran: While meeting in person may not be currently safe, coordinating online meetings with veterans you know or in a program can fulfill the requirement.
Tell a Veteran’s Story: Interview a veteran virtually and tell their story through writing, video, or another way! Use digital resources and get creative with how you tell and share their story.