Encouraging Civic-Minded Leadership
Every time an election comes around, we get really excited about the opportunities this presents for Girl Scouts. What better way to show the democratic process than when we actually get to participate in it? And while most Girl Scouts are not yet old enough to vote, there are tons of ways that they can observe and sometimes even get involved in the process!
This year is especially exciting because it’s not only a presidential election year, it’s also the centennial of the ratification of the 19th amendment, which gave (some) women the right to vote in the United States.
Civic engagement has been a part of the foundation of Girl Scouting since its inception 108 years ago. While Girl Scouts remains a politically neutral organization, girls are encouraged to become active citizens in their community, who take an active role in community problem solving, and making the world a better place.
It’s no wonder 75% of women in Congress, and all 3 female former Secretaries of State are Girl Scout alums. But there is still work to be done. Women still only hold 25% of US Senate seats, and 23% of the House of Representative seats, and 29% of statewide elected seats, despite making up 51% of the US population.
What can we do about that? Good news—Girl Scouts has lots of opportunities to become a civically minded leader.
Earn the NEW Civics Badges
Did you know that Girl Scouts of the USA has just released brand new civics badges for every age level? These badges are intended to give girls an in-depth and age-appropriate understanding of how local, state, and federal government works. Voting, the electoral college, representation of women in government? Those are all topics covered in the new civics badges.
Tip: Do you know anyone who serves in an elected office? Anything from school board, to city council, to state representatives. These are all great connections to invite to a troop meeting (whether virtual or in person) to help fulfill the badge requirements. There are tons of websites that help you find your representatives based on your address. Here’s one that helps you identify your elected officials both at the federal, state, and local level.
Earn the Citizenship Badges
Don’t forget about the Citizenship legacy badges. These badges—Good Neighbor, Celebrating Community, Inside Government, Finding Common Ground, Behind the Ballot, and Public Policy—engage Girl Scouts in age-appropriate activities involving community service, public policy, government, voting, and more!
Tip: Many Board of Elections offices have public board meetings on election day, and allow citizens to watch the results pour in right at their office. You may even get a chance to meet local candidates there!
GSWO Suffrage Centennial Patch Program
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio has created a special patch program to commemorate this landmark event for women’s rights. Check out the requirements and related events on our Suffrage Centennial Page.
National Parks Service Suffrage Patch Program
Did you know that Girl Scouts of the USA has partnered with the National Parks Service to commemorate the centennial of the ratification of the 19th amendment? You can find the requirements here.
Older Girls, Register to Vote and Volunteer on Election Day!
Did you know that you can register to vote at 17 if you’ll be 18 by election day? Contact your local Board of Elections for an application. High school students who are 17 and older also have a special opportunity in Ohio to participate in Youth at the Booth, where they can work at the polls on election day, and learn all about the democratic process. More information about Youth at the Booth can be found at your local Board of Elections.
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