When Girl Scouts of USA released their 24 new badges, including badges on Democracy and civic engagement, Service Unit 406 Managers Carrie Parsons and Selena Randecker saw the opportunity to respond to 2020’s unexpected turns. The new Democracy badges require girls to engage directly with their local political representatives to learn more about the democratic process, and this year, civic engagement is more important than ever.
Thus, Carrie and Selena’s “brain-child” was born, a series of programming for over 80 troops to meet over Zoom with four major mayors in their area, as well as Judge Patricia Fallon, and two lawyers. The meetings, led by the girls, consisted of question and answer sessions with the representatives, and they were a huge hit, drawing over 100 girls for some meetings. Girls took charge and asked their mayors questions on everything from election processes to favorite ice cream flavors.
“The girls are paying attention and want answers,” Service Unit Manager Selena said. “They really wanted to know the details” of the political process, and this level of engagement speaks volumes to her. “It’s amazing what ideas the girls have, and what they can do.” For girls who are too young to vote, but want to take political action and use their voice, Service Unit Manager Carrie says “You can still make a difference, and don’t ever think you can’t. Your ideas matter.”
“One person and one voice can make a difference.”
Judge Patricia Fallon, currently running for Circuit Court Judge, 12th Judicial Subcircuit, was excited to engage with a group of politically-minded Girl Scouts for one of the Q&A sessions. Being service-minded her entire career, she has always admired the Girl Scouts organization and thought their questions were thoughtful, intriguing, and pointed to a strong intuitive understanding of law.
Speaking to the importance of young women’s engagement “I think it’s crucial for all young people to know how their government works, and carry a mindset of service and citizenship” because “they do have the power to effect positive change.” You may not appreciate the difference you can make– Judge Fallon asserts “one person or one small group can make such a tremendous difference.”
Girl Scout Ameenah, a Girl Delegate for their service unit and moderator for the meeting with Hoffman Estates mayor William D. McLeod, agrees that civic engagement is essential: “We should care about what’s happening,” she explains, “because this is our world, the world we’re going to inherit one day.” Girl Scout Rachel, who moderated the Q&A with Judge Fallon, succinctly quoted Girl Scout alumna Tyra Banks: “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain about the outcome.”
After hearing from these inspiring women and girls, it’s clear what we all need to do: stand up and speak out! Thank you to everyone who shared their story with us!
Earn the Democracy Badges!
Civic engagement is just one way Girl Scouts advocate for positive change and make the world a better place. And though some girls may be too young to cast a ballot, they can still mobilize their communities to take action. Funded by the Citi Foundation, the new Democracy badges for all ages of Girl Scouts will help politically-minded girls be more prepared than ever to vote, act, and blaze trails.
Girl Scouts of the USA recently launched a national civic service project to engage troops in the democratic process in this monumental election year and the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. Learn more about Promote the Vote and how you can equip your troop for civic action.
Girls of all ages interested in continuing their political education should also check out the Girl Scout Suffrage Centennial patch, which gives girls and troops a chance to explore the important history of the fight for gender and racial justice and voting rights in the United States.
Share Your Story!
For a chance to have your story heard by people all over our council, submit on our website! We love to feature what our Girl Scouts, members and volunteers are doing!
Girl Scouts may interact with women and men in elected positions as they earn components of their non-partisan civics and democracy badges. Girl Scouting does not endorse any specific candidate or issue.