Girl Scouts encourages girls to grow their faith and is based on the Girl Scout Promise and Law, which includes many of the principles and values common to most faiths. Although a secular organization, Girl Scouts has, since the movement began, encouraged girls to explore their spirituality by earning the My Promise, My Faith pin.
Throughout this Journey, girls open up conversations with women in their religious community, research inspiring quotes that resonate with the part of the Girl Scout Law on which they have chosen to focus, and create a work of art to express what they’ve learned with their friends, family, and possibly even the larger community. Girls of all grade levels are eligible once each year to earn the My Promise, My Faith pin. Learn more about how to get started.
The My Promise – My Faith pin is a Girl Scout Special Opportunity Award. By earning this award, girls have explored how Girl Scouts and faith offer similar ideas about how to act and how Girl Scouts ties into all different faiths. By choosing a different line of the Girl Scout Law each year, the award can be earned every year a girl is in Girl Scouts!
We have an annual all-troop (two troops as is the case now that our original troop became Cadettes!) sleepover. Girls have to earn the privilege to attend this sleepover by showing they are capable of always living the Girl Scout Law, during troop meetings. The girls earn stars for behavior and participation in our weekly meetings and all girls with a minimum number of earned stars are invited to the sleepover.
The sleepover is the best place to work on this pin, because we have a captive audience for an extended, uninterrupted period of time. As the girls go to a religion-based school, this pin is a no-brainer for our troop. So, we have worked on My Promise – My Faith for the last 4 years during the sleepover and we always do our sleepover in a church. All our girls go to the same Catholic School, but about 25% of them are not Catholic so, we have moved around from year-to-year to different churches in our town, so we are sure to, at least, hit the denomination of every girl in our troop.
There are 5 steps to completing this award. The first is to choose a line from the Girl Scout Law, on which to focus. This year we planned our entire evening’s events around being COURAGEOUS and STRONG.
When the girls arrived, they checked in at a table with a sign stating “The phrase DO NOT BE AFRAID is written in the Bible 365. That’s a daily reminder, from God, to live every day COURAGEOUS and STRONG!”, there they collected a keepsake button we had made with the phrase “Do Not Be Afraid” , with the year, that the girls could wear on their uniforms or pin on their school bags or anywhere they wanted DAILY reminding of what they learned while earning these pins.
The second step to earning the pin is to interview a woman of faith who can talk about how she tries to act in her life based on our chosen line of the Law. We chose a non-Catholic teacher from the girls’ school. Mrs. H is a shining example of a woman of faith. She lives every day exemplifying her faith and is a great role-model for our girls, in and out of school. She spent a little over a year as a missionary, with her family, in Liberia during the beginning of that country’s Civil War, prior to being emergency evacuated as the war started to turn extremely violent. The home in which her family lived is literally a crater in the ground now, where bombs hit within days of Mrs. H and her family being evacuated. She talked at great length and answered questions about how living her faith and believing it gave her COURAGE and STRENGTH helped her get through a very turbulent time (and continues to do so)!
Mrs. H teaches 5th grade so many of the girls have had her as a teacher and those who haven’t still know and love her. She is extremely unassuming and you’d think a group of rowdy girls would eat her alive. But, Mrs. H has a gracious personality and commands attention. The leaders of younger girls were extremely impressed by her character, demeanor and the girls were all captivated and extremely attentive! She is an amazing women and we are extremely fortunate to have such an inspiration working so closely with our girls!!
The third step is to find three inspirational quotes by women that fit with the chosen line of the Law. We had fruitful discussion about each one and the girls could (if they chose) use the quotes on an art project they completed later in the evening. Below are the quotes we chose and some of the meanings the girls came up with:
“It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends.” – (Professor Dumbledore) aka J.K Rowling
Be who you are, no matter who you talk to
Stand up for yourself
Stand up for someone who can’t stand up for themselves even if you have to anger someone
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais Nin
You can’t ever learn something new if you don’t take the first step
The outcome of doing something you are scared of can be amazing
What if you never tried ice cream? How would you ever know it is the BEST food in the world!
“Courage is like a muscle, we strengthen it by use.” – Ruth Gordo
The more courage you have, the easier it gets
Baby steps lead to great things
Once you have courage to do something and you find you could, you can do it again and again
At this point we had been together for a couple of hours so figured we should probably feed them 🙂 Dinner time….Thumbs up for pizza!
After dinner we decided to put the girls to the test! We wanted them to see how they COULD gather courage and strength to get through a series of activities. So, we set up stations and had an evening of FEAR FACTOR (like the TV show)!!
Step one…sort into groups. Sometimes it takes courage to try new things with NEW people, rather than always with our friends and staying in our comfort zone.
All stations had labels. The name of each event was sometimes enough to have girls questioning their resolve! 🙂
One station was called WORM PIE. Here we had plates of whipped cream for each girl. Hidden within the pile was a gummy worm. The girls had to find their worm WITHOUT using their hands or any utensils. Not knowing the worm was candy and not real, all but one girl tried this!
Another station was called CAN YOU GUESS. Here we had several flavors of baby food. We had taken the labels off the jars and the girls had to taste test all the flavors and guess what the flavors were. We chose some easy foods, like applesauce and some baby food versions of the kids’ favorite foods, such as Mac-n-Cheese. It was hilarious to see their faces and even better were the reactions when we gave them the answers afterwards and they realized every one of the pureed foods were foods they eat in its whole state! All girls tried this event. The girls with more than 50% guessed correctly won a yummy(er) treat!
Ummmm….WHAT?!?! Pretty sure we didn’t feed them THAT, but from these photos you’d think we did 🙂
One station we had to set up outside so we wouldn’t make a mess on the nice carpet in the parish Friendship Room. This one was called ROTTEN EGG CHALLENGE. Girls had to crack an egg into their hands and carry it from a starting point to a bucket several yards away. Once they deposited their egg they had to crack an egg into a teammate’s hand who then walked back the other direction. Every girl tried this event.
The last event was called PIG GUTS KEY SEARCH. This one got great reactions out of the girls. First off, it stunk! A leader had purchased a bunch of canned food items from the Dollar Store, such as Spaghetti-Os, applesauce, grape jelly, canned mushrooms and few other “gross” items. Mix in some water and you get slop! In the bucket we dropped 6 keys. 2 of the keys opened a pair of padlocks. Each girl had to dig around for the correct key and when they opened the lock they dropped the keys back into the pig guts and handed the, now-relocked, padlock to the next girl in line. They learned really quickly that if they pulled an incorrect key from the slop they shouldn’t put it back in (increasing their odds of finding the correct key sooner) and that both of the correct keys were interchangeable and would open either padlock so two girls could go at once! All but one girl tried this event. The one who flat-out refused was the youngest girl in her group and the older girls were REALLY sweet to her!!
The fourth requirement to earning the pin is to make something to remember what they’ve learned. We made collages on canvas with the words COURAGOUS and/or STRONG on them. Using magazines, markers and modgepodge we got some really pretty artwork! As mentioned above, the girls were given the 3 chosen quotes to copy if they wanted, as well.
Leaders add some modge-podge and VOILA! Beautiful art to take home!
By this point, it is pretty late in the night….past usual bedtimes for our younger girls. So, we usually wind down by watching a movie and having quiet time until they all crash. Cookie season started the next day so we watched some GSUSA videos so the girls could get ideas on how to sell, sell, sell!
Now….GO TO SLEEEPPP!!!!! 🙂 Well, first it’s like herding cats, then it was bedtime. But, bright and early again, it is breakfast time….which, of course, is not possible without these bright-eyed-at-6am-lovely-ladies!
A couple of years ago we started making homemade Belgium waffles, as each of the leaders had an iron. So, it has become our tradition. Add some bacon, fruit, yogurt, milk and breakfast is served. YUMMY!!
After a quick game of “as soon as you round up all your things and pack them up we will put your name in a drawing for a fun prize” (you might call it bribery, we say PRETTY MUCH!!), we finished our event by discussing what we learned and making a commitment to live what we learned! This is the last requirement for the pin. So, in one activity packed evening a troop of over 40 girls can earn this award.
As you can imagine it is an exhausting time. But…the memories and photos are all the incentive we leaders need (well…that and the fact that a year passes before we do it again!) The best part of the evening, is the sisterhood!
A few weeks after our event, the girls received their pins which were blessed by Father Jaochim during Mass. The whole troop was honored in front of their entire school and parish community.