Girl Scouts and the Faith Connection
Girl Scouts has been partnering with faith-based organizations for decades. There’s a reason we include “to serve God” in the Girl Scout Promise and it’s that we recognize that faith is a motivating force for many girls and we want to support our girls as they explore the tenets of their faith and connect it with their Girl Scout experience.
How does Girl Scouts support faith?
We encourage girls to connect faith with Girl Scouts through the My Promise, My Faith pin. This pin, which can be earned annually by girls at any level, asks them to examine the ways the Girl Scout Law ties in with the values and tenets of their own faith. Created for girls of all faiths, the requirements are found in the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting in every age level or you can download the My Promise, My Faith Fact Sheet and share this opportunity with your Girl Scout.
Another way we support girls as they “serve God” is with the opportunity to participate in the religious award program of their faith and to wear that recognition proudly on their uniform. Our council wants every Girl Scout to know about the religious awards. You, our volunteers and parents, are the best ones to tell your girls about these programs.
While these religious awards are a wonderful opportunity for our girls, it is up to each family to decide whether or not to participate in the religious award program of their faith. As a secular organization open to all we provide information about the awards, not religious instruction as Girl Scouts recognizes that religious instruction is the responsibility of parents and religious leaders.
Who developed the religious awards programs?
These programs were developed by the national faith groups and are meant to be implemented by parents, faith members, and clergy at their place of worship. They encourage girls and young women to become more active members in their own faith and they encourage spiritual development by providing specific religious instruction.
What are the steps to participate?
First, the Girl Scout must obtain the specific booklet for her faith. These books may be purchased directly from the faith organization. The “Interfaith Quick Reference Chart for Girls and Adults in Girl Scouting” lists the contact information for the different faith organizations.
Second, parents must review the specific guidelines for their particular program. Each faith group sets its own guidelines. Some programs require clergy to serve as counselors, other programs allow parents or other family members to serve as counselors. It is the responsibility of the parents / guardians to check the specific guidelines for their particular program.
Third, families should talk to their religious leaders and, if possible, show them the booklet before beginning a program.
Finally, the girl needs to complete the requirements, obtain the proper signatures, and follow the instructions to order the recognition (these pins are not be available in the Girl Scout shop).
Can adults also get awards?
Many of the faiths have also established an adult recognition, although the requirements are typically entirely different. Whereas the girls earn their recognition, adults are nominated to receive a recognition.
If you know of a Girl Scout leader who is also active in a religious institution, you could nominate that person for an adult award! Most awards require the completed application form, a resume of the candidate’s qualifications, and letters of recommendation from the religious leader and from the Girl Scout council. Many of these awards also require a minimum number of years of service before a person can be considered, so please check eligibility requirements for specific awards.
Connecting faith and Girl Scouts can be a very positive experience for our girls and we want more girls to know about these recognitions and awards. You, our volunteers and parents, are the key to getting information about the religious awards to your girls. Share them with your Girl Scout today and help her make the faith connection!