Girl Scout Troop 3499, who are fourth-graders from Arvada, might have set out to simply “earn their Speak Out Girl Scout badge.” But what they ended up with was an inspired and changed community, as well as a front page story in the Denver Post on Saturday, Feb. 11th, 2012.
“Kids Care Week” was developed by Troop 3499 to help change the stereotype that “Kids can be cruel to other kids.” The troop partnered with their school, Meiklejohn Elementary, and the school’s Student Council, to put together a week focused on activities to help remind kids to be kind and, hopefully, break the stereotype.
“It was interesting to watch how the girls brainstormed various stereotypes that they might like to try to change as part of their Speak Out badge,” said Troop Leader Deb Guiducci. “When someone came up with the idea to tackle the stereotype, ‘Kids can be cruel to other kids’, that seemed to resonate with all the girls. They all started telling stories about how kids had been cruel to them.”
“It was fascinating to watch how the girls created Kids Care Week,” Deb continued. “This truly was a girl led idea.”
The activities during Kids Care Week included:
- Mix It Up Lunch Day: Sit with someone you don’t normally sit with at lunch.
- Pay It Forward Day: Do a kind act for another student that you don’t normally play with.
- Compliment Day: Give someone a compliment today that you normally don’t play with.
- Mix It Up Recess Day: Play with someone at recess that you don’t normally play with.
- Nice Note Day: Write at least one nice note at home to someone you don’t normally play with and give it to them at school.
“Kids Care Week gave me a chance to make new friends and to interact with new people,” said Girl Scout Olivia Quinn, who is a member of the organizing troop. “I also thought it was cool to see an idea we had turn into a school wide event.”
“I’m glad we did Kids Care Week as part of our Speak Out Badge,” said Girl Scout Elizabeth Guiducci, who is another member of the organizing troop. “I hope kids can stop being cruel and stop bullying each other. I hope other Girl Scouts will take our idea and do Kids Care Weeks in their schools. It would be great if this would spread all across Colorado!!”
“It meant a lot to me because it was nice to see everyone being nice to each other,” said Girl Scout Grace Drew, who is another member of the organizing troop. “We can teach that if you be nice to people, they will be nice to you. If a lot of people do this, then the world will truly be a better place.”
In the end, Troop 3499 earned their Girl Scout Speak Out! badge. But the girls, their leaders, their school and the community at large gained much more during this successful project. In fact, Meiklejohn Elementary plans to hold the event next year.
“I think that the girls will take away many life lessons from this experience, but I hope that one lesson is that even a small group of people can help change something that they think is wrong if they join together and speak out,” said Troop Leader Deb Guiducci. “This has been an amazing experience for the girls in our troop, and, for me, having the opportunity to help these girls learn what I consider to be important life lessons is why I am a Girl Scout leader. I am so proud of these girls. They are amazing!”