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Standing Up for Students

Making Change at School Feature 530x220

Even at a young age, Girl Scouts are making the world a better place! From creating new school programs to updating policies negatively impacting students, girls learn to advocate for their ideas in our program. By working with peers and adult mentors to earn badges, plan camping trips, and volunteer, Girl Scouts learn how to stand up for positive change and how to work with authority figures respectfully to implement their ideas.

Last school year, many Girl Scouts stepped outside of their comfort zones to work with teachers, principals, and school boards to create a more positive environment for students. Find inspiration for this upcoming school year from these Silver Award Girl Scouts!

Alivia & Kaelee

The Bettendorf Middle School students began noticing negative effects from an assigned seating policy during lunch. During their break from classes, this was an opportunity to socialize, vent, and connect with friends. Not only did the seating arrangement separate friends, but place kids right next to their bullies. While noticing so many issues, they knew that research was needed to pitch a change to administration.

“We decided to make a difference and help our fellow peers,” says Alivia.” Students in better health physically and mentally learn better in classrooms, which means better-educated people which to leads to a better more knowledgeable community.”

Alivia and Kaelee enlisted the help of a nutritionist and child psychologist and surveyed their peers to put together a video explaining the negative impact of assigned seating. Once the girls met with the Principal, she was so impressed that she tasked them with another initiative to continue the improvement of physical and mental health in schools.

“Our Principal was so impressed by our video that she gradually phased out of assigned seating,” says Kaelee. “While meeting with her, she also gave us the idea of finding a way to help students eat outdoor lunch.”

There are not enough teachers to supervise an outdoor lunch, but the girls put their film skills to work and made another video, this time, targeting parents. At conferences, the video was played on a loop to explain to parents the benefits of outdoor recreation and invited them to come volunteer over the lunch hour.

Cheyenne & Morgan

The Girl Scouts noticed that their classmates with physical disabilities wanted to join sports activities at school, but were unable to join their peers. Cheyenne and Morgan pitched a plan to the school Principal and Superintendent to approve more activities for students of all abilities. The school gladly provided gym space and sports equipment, and the girls organized after-school sessions for all kids to practice their skills, and more importantly, feel included.

As more and more students, of all abilities, joined the after-school sessions, many friendships were made, and several students even advanced to the state Special Olympics.

“Students would smile when walking halls and getting high fives when going by,” says Cheyenne. “We even formed a tunnel for them to go through as a sendoff to competition with all grades 5-8. This brought some to tears and added excitement to students!”

Tipton Middle School plans to continue with Special Olympics activities even as the girls move on to high school. They still plan to come back and support the bowling and track programs.

As Cheyenne says, “Once a Tiger, Always a Tiger.”

Through their accomplishments at school, these Girl Scouts earned the Silver Award, the highest award girls in grades 6-8 can achieve!