Girl Scouts-North Carolina Coastal Pines is proud to honor our military Girl Scouts and to celebrate Month of the Military Child in April and Military Appreciation Month in May. Our military families mean so much to our council, and we are incredibly grateful for all that they add to our Girl Scout Movement.
To celebrate, we’re asking all GS-NCCP Girl Scouts who are military-connected to participate in a special contest. Entering is easy! Visit this form and share with us why you are proud to be a military child, what makes you special, or just tell us about your experience. This can be done by submitting a short video or by sharing a photo and writing a few sentences.
On June 1st, we will be selecting two winners at random for a $50 council gift card. We’re honoring each girl that participates with a special FREE patch designed to show you’re a part of a global community of military-connected Girl Scouts!
At Girl Scouts, we are happy to be a home for military-connected girls and families who are serving our country in the U.S. and across the world! Below, Fort Bragg Service Unit Manager Stephanie Blackadar shares what it is like to be a Girl Scout in a military family and about a program they started called Boots Back Home.
“I wasn’t a Girl Scout growing up. I got my start in Girl Scouts the same way many leaders do. When signing my daughter up I learned her troop needed a leader and I gave it a shot. My daughter is in her 8th year of Girl Scouts now. A second year Cadette who has been in troops in three different states, at three different military bases. My second daughter is a first year Daisy, and my youngest daughter will start this coming school year.
These on-post Girl Scout troops have their own dynamic. With girls constantly rotating in and out, new troop and Service Unit leadership every couple of years, and unique challenges that come with the military, our troops don’t look like the traditional Girl Scout troops.
One of the recent challenges we faced was the rapid deployment of troops from Fort Bragg in January. Many of our Girl Scouts, both in and out of our Fort Bragg Service Unit, had a parent leaving with just a few hours notice. We had volunteers within our Service Unit who were packing to deploy. Our cookie season was just getting started, we had events coming up, and this rapid deployment changed everything for us. We had leaders whose spouses left, troops where every girl now had a deployed parent, and girls who were understandably upset and anxious.
I spoke to one of our volunteers, Erika, who is in the military and a Girl Scout alumna. We came up with a plan to support our Girl Scouts, and in a matter of just about 3 weeks hosted our first Boots Back Home event.
The goal of the Boots Back Home program is to offer Girl Scouts with a deployed parent a way to build resilience and face the situation head on. The aim was not to give them a break or take their minds off it, but to provide a safe environment where the girls could confront their feelings and learn to move forward.
At our first event, the girls created affirmation cards, took photos in a photo booth, and worked with an incredible yoga instructor who created a program just for them. They played games, won prizes, and spent time with girls in the same situation as they were. They all went home with an American Flag, resource packets for their families, a special Military Child patch, and special SWAPS and cards from a Girl Scout troop from Indiana.
At our second event, they worked with the Fayetteville Art Council. They learned about an amazing female artist and created their own pieces based off of her work. The girls spent time painting and talking about channeling their emotions into art. They also learned about chemical reactions by putting Mentos into Coke bottles and making geysers and built vinegar and baking soda powered boats from recycled materials. They laughed, and leaned on each other for support. Our plans for our third event include hiking, setting up a campsite, and outdoor art.
These events are not possible without volunteers and community partners who understand the tough situations our military children find themselves in. Girl Scouts helps to provide these girls consistency wherever they go. Being able to join a troop, create friendships, and find a family with Girl Scout sisters in almost every corner of the world helps reduce the fear and anxiety that comes with constant change. “
A huge thank you to Stephanie and all of the other volunteers that provide our Girl Scouts in military families with a solid support system and a safe space to make new friends, discover passions, and become their best selves.
With questions about our Military Family Appreciation contest, please reach out to Christina Harper.