Girl Scouts Honoring Veterans

Girl Scouts Honoring Veterans

Throughout history, Girl Scouts across the nation have honored both the active members of our military and veterans who have sacrificed to protect our freedom. This Memorial Day is no different. Even though we are observing this day from home, Girl Scouts continue to show appreciation for our veterans. 

This week’s Member Monday falls on Memorial Day, which marks the beginning of Service Week across our council. We’re taking this opportunity to highlight Girl Scouts who have earned the Girl Scouts GCNWI Honoring our Veterans patch

A Girl Scout alum—who just happens to be army veteran and United States Senator Tammy Duckworth—teamed up with us to develop a special patch program so girls can connect with and honor veterans in their communities. By completing a service project, visiting a veteran, or telling a veteran’s story, girls can earn the Girl Scouts GCNWI Honoring our Veterans patch

Since the launch of the patch program last Veterans Day, so many Girl Scouts have shared their experiences working with veterans with us. 

The stories below are from some of the council’s service-minded Girl Scouts who dedicated time to veterans in their communities previously, before we sheltered in place to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Serving Those who Served

Girl Scouts from three different troops from Glenview, IL, organized a Cards for Veterans Service Project for veterans at the Hines VA Hospital. The girls ended up exceeding their initial goal, collecting over 140 cards that were delivered to the hospital on Veterans Day 2019. The girls hope to inspire more people in their community to share their messages of appreciation, not only around Veterans Day, but throughout the year. 

Girl Scout Troop 75142, in celebration of Veterans Day, hosted an event filled with music, food, games, fellowship, and a performance by the Loyola University Rambler Battalion Color Guard, all in honor of the sacrifices women United States service members have made to defend our country. Later, the girls organized a donation drive to benefit the Women’s Residential Program at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center. 

Service is an essential part of the Girl Scout DNA, and Gold Award Girl Scout and Senator Duckworth knows this well. When she thinks of Girl Scouts, she thinks of “hard work… a commitment to making the community, and the country around you, a better place.”

Watch Senator Duckworth speak on the importance of service in Girl Scouting:

Visiting a Veteran

Some Girl Scouts took a more personal approach to the patch program, like Sophia, who chose to interview her stepfather. During this conversation, Sophia gained insight into someone important in her life and a deeper understanding about how to better support veterans. She learned that being home can sometimes feel harder than being away, and that a supportive friend group is essential. 

Last October, Girl Scout Anne decided to volunteer at the Manteno Veteran’s Home, where she met Jimmie, a veteran with a love for Bob Hope. Anne learned about his time in Korea and how he got to see his favorite comedian, Hope, who dedicated himself to providing laughter to active service members. Anne loved earning this patch so much she joined an Auxiliary Post with the American Legion in her community to continue helping veterans. 

A group of Girl Scouts from Chicago also kept their project close to home, connecting with their own troop leader and the father of one of the girls, both veterans. The girls listened closely to their stories, learning about the different branches of the armed forces, how to become a veteran, and the treatment of women in the army. They also learned that, like in the Girl Scouts, everyone in the military has a part to play and must “be prepared” at all times. 

Honoring our Veterans from Home

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to honor and support veterans from home. The Village of Lake Bluff will be hosting a virtual Memorial Day observance ceremony, available for online viewing on Monday, May 25 at 9:00 a.m. Filmed in front of the Veteran’s Memorial at the Village Green, the ceremony will be shared online through the Facebook pages of the Village of Lake Bluff, LakeBluffStrong, and the Lake Bluff History Museum.

Girl Scouts interested in completing the Honoring our Veterans Patch Program should complete at least two of the criteria from the list below and share their story in order to earn the patch. 

Complete a Service Project Benefitting Veterans 

You may complete two service projects to earn the patch. Below are some ideas: 

  • Send cards of appreciation 
  • Donate Girl Scout Cookies to a veteran home or program 
  • Coordinate and lead a virtual activity with a veteran 
  • Work with a local veteran or senior center to coordinate the delivery of hygiene supplies, clothes, and other needed items. 

Visit with a Veteran: While meeting in person may not be currently safe, coordinating online meetings with veterans you know or in a program can fulfill the requirement. 

Tell a Veteran’s Story: Interview a veteran virtually and tell their story through writing, video, or another way! Use digital resources and get creative with how you tell and share their story. 

Download the patch program guidelines [PDF] » 
Share your story to earn the free patch » 

Unexpected Generosity in Uncertain Times

by Nancy Wright, CEO, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana

Today, my goal is to fill your hearts with hope and inspiration.

The COVID-19 pandemic has toyed with our emotions for two months. It has been a social-emotional roller coaster, at times filling us with profound grief, uncertainty and anxiety about the health of our loved ones and concerns about the state of our global economy. 

Yet, just as spring pushes forward despite the darkness of the winter months, humanity’s optimism is emerging to showcase unexpected generosity.

Good news can, indeed, be found around us, hiding in plain sight.

As Girl Scouts rushed to do a “good turn daily,” like sewing masks and delivering cookies to essential workers, so, too, have thousands of others. Their stories touch our hearts, and spark even more acts of generosity.

Actor John Krasinski launched Some Good News to recognize acts of kindness across the globe, attracting millions of viewers hungry for light in the darkness. He most recently matched four remarkable teens with Oprah Winfrey, Malala Yousafzai, Steven Spielberg, and Jon Stewart for commencement conversations, showcasing the brilliance of young people whose drive and resiliency will guide us into a changed world.

Creative artists have filled our screens with their voices, images, and music to inspire us. Everyday citizens are finding ways to express their gratitude to their neighbors, teachers, parents, and first responders. Nonprofits, municipalities and funders are partnering to explore innovative ways to address education equity and access issues, as demonstrated by a recent announcement by WTTW, the City of Chicago, and Citadel.

Signs of unexpected generosity emerging from the depths of this pandemic are everywhere.

Last week, after we made the painful decision to cancel our full portfolio of in-person programming for the summer, including day and resident camp, an unexpected heartening trend emerged with more than 250 people to date donating more than $13,000, primarily by designating a portion of their prepaid fees, and in a few cases, the entire amount, to help close our funding gap. Others shared words of encouragement, applauding our ability to pivot and provide virtual experiences almost immediately.

That spirit of generosity is at the heart of today’s national Giving Tuesday Now campaign

This campaign matches the need of overflowing hearts searching for ways to help others. We hope that you will consider supporting our girls in any way you are able at Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, as well as other organizations that bring light to the darkness and good news to your life.