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Stars, Stripes And Scouts
July 19, 2014
By Wendy Hayworth
Girl Scout Service Unit 649’s annual summer day camp brought scouts a little closer to their country.
“This year they were earning their citizenship badges, so everything we did in those three days was all about being a citizen of your community, of your country, what that represented, and what that meant,” day camp director Liz Gregoire said.
This three-day camp takes on a different theme every summer and was open to girl scouts of all ages, K-12.
The adventure began on Friday, June 27 when the Service Unit toured the city of Independence. They had a mock trial and the Jackson County Annex Courthouse, met the mayor, spoke with the local police department, visited the 1859 historic jail, and learned about the different parts of the government and what their duties were.
“We took the Pioneer Trail wagon ride around the city of Independence and they stopped at the veteran’s memorial, the log cabin courthouse, the Truman home, kind of a brief tour of historic landmarks in the city,” Gregoire said.
On Saturday, each of the four groups within the Service Unit selected two candidates to represent their ‘district.’ They made slogans and campaign signs for their respective candidates before breaking into rotations to learn about amendments to the Bill of Rights.
“One of those being the right to bear arms, so each one of the girls got the opportunity to learn slingshotting,” Gregoire said.
A guest speaker from the Missouri National Guard came and spoke with the girls about why she chose that path, what her duties are to the state of Missouri, and what opportunities she has.
“We spent the other rotation learning about election topics so that on Sunday morning when they came back to camp, they had a full fledged election,” Gregoire said.
The Jackson County Board of Elections loaned five voting booth stations and created an official ballot for the girls to use.
“The kids got to sign in. They had to prove who they were using their girl scout ID card, and they went to the voting booth and they elected their candidates,” Gregoire said. “Then they had to answer some other questions just like we would answer.”
Just before the election, the candidates held a debate so that the scouts could get to know their representatives better.
“I’ve received emails from them [the four elected candidates] and they are very excited to know that they will be helping plan the events for the rest of the year for our service unit,” Gregoire said.
Kathy Smith, president of the Lee’s Summit Historical Society, then came and spoke about the historical landmarks of Lee’s Summit.
“We had the veterans come out and do a flag retirement ceremony for us,” Gregoire said.
Participating veterans were Lee's Summit VFW Post 5789 Commander Jim Nail, Comrade Sammy Rhoades, Auxiliary President Paula McKinley and Betty Akers
“We had three women come in who have gone through the full immigration process or are in the process of immigrating to the US and kind of talked about what that looked like and what created that decision to come to the US and what prompted them to stay, to kind of talk about why citizenship within the US is so unique,” Gregoire said.
The camp came to a close with a mock fireworks display with water bottle rockets and poppers that the girls made throughout the weekend.
This three-day camp brought the girls closer to their country by teaching them what it means to be a citizen of the United States of America. Additionally, it taught the girls that they could stand up and take the lead.
“Girl scouting is a great opportunity for your girls to get lots of different experiences to really help them grow and be independent and understand what it means to take on leadership roles,” Gregoire said.
“There’s always a place for anybody to participate in scouting.”