Archive for the ‘Girls’ Category

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Helping Middle School Girls Be a Friend First

October 12, 2014

By Krista Park, Communications & PR Director

Be a Friend First with Girl Scouts - NC Coastal Pines

When girls are mean, you often don’t see anything at all. But girls can feel it. The cliques. The eye rolling. The taunting. The rumors. It may not look like it, but it is bullying. Right now, when girls are bullied, almost no one intervenes.  Girl Scouts – NC Coastal Pines has committed to being part of the change.

Nationally, one-third of girls ages 12–18 say that they have been bullied at school. And, according to the National Education Association, more than 160,000 students miss school each day because they are fearful of being targeted by bullies.

Girl Scouts, with 100 years of experience fostering girls’ healthy relationships and leadership skills, recognizes the need for an innovative bullying-prevention initiative for middle school girls. Middle school is a time when girls navigate new relationships and explore their emerging identities and independence. It’s also when bully behavior peaks.

Our BFF program, which stands for Be a Friend First—a name that girls selected—was developed by Girl Scouts to address behaviors specific to girls, plus the issues that lead to bullying in the first place. It gives girls the relational and leadership skills to short-circuit the bullying behavior when it happens, or prevent it from happening in the first place.

BFF—which can easily be integrated into existing health or character education classes and after-school programs —uses activities such as role playing, creative writing, and discussion exercises, where girls explore thorny issues like peer pressure, stereotyping, gossip, and cliques. With adult guidance, girls also talk about core friendship values such as honesty, loyalty, integrity, kindness, and compassion, and learn how to stay true to these values in their own lives. They learn to develop self-confidence and stand up for what they believe—as well as the skills to intervene if they witness cruel or hurtful behavior among their peers.

BFF is designed to work with the aMAZE! Journey, Girl Scouts’ leadership curriculum for middle school girls. As part of BFF, girls can also create and lead projects in their schools and communities to tackle bullying issues. BFF gives girls the opportunity to take charge of their world to implement change, and encourage their peers to do the same.

When girls feel safe, secure, and valued, they can focus on learning and set themselves up for academic success. Girls who learn to respect one another and become skilled at honest communication are more likely to become healthy, well-adjusted adults.

This October, join Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines in making a commitment as a community to encourage healthy relationships among our girls. Their future depends upon it.

Interested in bringing the BFF program to your middle school or community group? Want to learn more? Email us! In the meantime, explore our BFF activities online.

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A Quick Guide to Girl Scout Badges and Patches

September 29, 2014

By Meridith Orr, Program Executive

Girl Scouts can earn Badges (front of the uniform) or Patches (back of the uniform).

Girl Scouts can earn Badges (front of the uniform) or Patches (back of the uniform).

“The symbols which you wear on your sleeve mean that you have an intelligent interest in the subjects you have chosen, understand the principles of them, and can give reasonable, practical proof of this.” – Scouting for Girls, Official Handbook of the Girl Scouts, published by The Girl Scouts, Inc., 1920

The great news is many new members join our movement each year. And any experienced Girl Scout knows there’s a lot to explore – and learn – in Girl Scouts, especially the many types of badges and emblems that decorate Girl Scout sashes and vests.

So what’s it all about?

The most important thing to know is that all badges or patches earned in Girl Scouts are meant to show a girl’s achievement and are most meaningful when a girl can clearly articulate what she has achieved. For those of you who don’t know a patch from a petal, here’s a quick guide.

BADGES

Badges” refers to Girl Scout’s National Proficiency Badges, which are worn on the front of the uniform. They have a distinct shape and color that corresponds to each grade level. For example, Girl Scout Brownie badges are triangles, Junior badges are circles, and Cadette badges are diamond-shaped.

Badges have five steps with three different options for each step, and once completed, a girl should be able to demonstrate skill or knowledge of that topic. There’s a handy pull-out chart for all available badges, including the Skill-Building badges for in The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting.

And coming soon is our very own “Council’s Own Badge” program that provides girls with a unique, local opportunity that they cannot experience anywhere else. It is an award developed according to our national Girl Scout Leadership Experience guidelines, and can be worn on the front of the uniform. Only girls from Girl Scouts – NC Coastal Pines can earn one of our 10 Council’s Own badges. Stay tuned for more information our our council’s badge program, which is getting refreshed and updated as we speak!

Girl Scouts can also choose a “Make Your Own” badge! Girl Scout Brownies through Ambassadors can develop their own badge once a year, following particular guidelines of course.

What about our youngest Girl Scouts? Our Daises Girl Scouts (grade K-1) earn “Petals” that represent the 10 parts of the Girl Scout Law. Those petals are placed around a daisy center on the front of a smock or vest. In addition, Daisies can earn Financial Literacy “leaves” and Journey award patches.

PATCHES

“Patches” are fun ways to document a council or local area event. They are always worn on the back of the uniform. All patch programs include content from the National Leadership Journeys to provide girls with meaningful experiences on their path to leadership. Some patches unique to our council include the Hurricane Awareness patch which was introduced as a Patch of the Month this summer. Going forward, our council will be featuring one Council Patch each month, where girls across our 41 counties can explore and learn together.

My final words to live by, at least when it comes to badges and patches are “Educate, don’t decorate.” It’s not a competition for which troop has the most. It’s about exploring new things, discovering new skills, building skills for leadership, and having fun!

What badges or patches are your favorite or most meaningful, Girl Scouts? Tell us in the comments below! 

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