When I started my troop, I knew that I wanted to help my Girl Scouts explore topics they would not learn about in school, so we decided to start with the My Promise, My Faith pin. They enjoyed exploring other faiths and strengthening their own so much that we’ve earned it for five years in a row! My Promise, My Faith has five components; these components are outlined in detail in the handbook available at your local Girl Scout Shop—here’s how my troop did it.
Step 1: Choose a Line of the Girl Scout Law
The first step is to choose one line of the Girl Scout Law, then find a story, song or poem from your faith and see what they have in common. Both years the girls were Daisies, I gave them the option of earning the pin with their families. The first year, I sent home the suggestions found in the Daisy binder with each girl, and told them they could earn the pin with their mother. They found songs from their faith, and discussed how those songs connected to their experiences in Girl Scouts.
Step 2: Connect with People of Faith
Next, the girls are asked to find a woman in either their faith or another faith community, and ask her how that same line of the Law relates to her faith. There are plenty of ways to complete this step, depending on your girls’ particular faiths and interests.
In our second year as Daisies, each girl asked a woman of their same faith to help her explore elements of their shared faith through Girl Scouts. Some of the girls were very excited to share their new insights at our next meeting! You can also explore faiths different than your own or that of the girls your troop—one year we visited a synagogue, and another we had local Mormon missionaries and a friend of mine who is a practicing Mormon come and share their faith. In both situations, girls got to ask questions about what these women believed and how it related to the Girl Scout Law.
Step 3: Find Inspiration
To complete the third step, we gathered inspirational quotes by woman that complemented the Girl Scout Law and talked about how to put them into practice in our daily lives. We did this throughout the year as part of our overall programming. We studied different women and obstacles they had to overcome in their field and read quotes about them. When we visited different houses of worship over the years, we also asked the women what quotes from their faith inspired them.
Step 4: Get Creative
The fourth step is to make something to remind you of what you’ve learned. This can be any kind of craft that takes your fancy. We took plenty of pictures, and used them over the years to make a scrapbook. Another year, we made memory books and tied this into our Junior Scribe badge. Another way to complete this step is to use your craft to make thank-you cards to give to the people of faith that help you with Step 2! For example, the year we spoke with the Mormon missionaries, we bought a bracelet with the local Latter-Day Saint temple stamped on it, and made individual cards for the missionaries who came.
Step 5: Keep the Connection Strong
The final step is to make a commitment to what you’ve learned. Hopefully exploring their own faiths and others will help your girls understand who they are, and how to connect with others better. After all, the heart of this lesson (and why I’ve been so passionate in helping my girls explore different faiths) is to build trust and kindness. We are all more alike than we think, and it’s important to highlight that common ground and show girls how to be respectful of different ideas and faiths. There are also additional Religious Recognitions available to both girls and adults.
Now that we’ve reviewed the 5 steps to earning the My Promise, My Faith pin, here are some things that I’ve learned over the past 5 years that you should definitely keep in mind.
- Communicate with Parents: Communicate with parents well ahead of time about this award. Discussing religion and faith can give some parents pause, so making sure they know exactly what will be covered, and understand your approach will be balanced and focused on learning. Do your research ahead of time, and build trust with your troop parents so they feel more comfortable with you exploring a sensitive topic with their daughters. Remember that some families don’t like to talk about politics and religion, so you may want to consider a permission slip for this meeting, make it clear that the pin is an optional award, and invite parents to tag along to the meeting to make the award feel comfortable and easy for everyone.
- Keep an Open Mind: Not only should you strive towards inclusion and respect towards all faiths you might explore through this pin but keep an open mind about the whole process. For example, I was asked by my girls how we could learn about atheism. I thought about it, and decided if they chose to learn about this faith, I could invite atheist friends to a round-table discussion of what they do and don’t believe, instead of visiting a religious site or talking about a religious text. Girl Scouts has a list of religions that have curriculum for this pin, and it includes many you may not have considered, so be willing to learn new things yourself!
- Supporting Your Guest Speakers: Also remember that not everyone is interested in talking about their faith to your girls. It can be a very personal topic, so be patient and keep looking for someone that is comfortable sharing details of your faith with your Girl Scouts—the younger girls especially can often ask very direct questions! To thank them for their hard work, be sure to take a small gift for presenters. A card signed by the girls is a kind and simple gesture.
Girl Scouts is a secular organization, but the principles and values common across religions are a core part of our group. Our founder put it in the Girl Scout Promise for a reason! As women, we grow and strengthen our positions when we embrace others who hold differing views. I believe teaching our girls about faith, both familiar and different, helps them embrace difference and respect others that think and feel differently than they do. I hope you and your girls enjoy earning this pin as much as my troop did, and that it is a meaningful and enlightening experience!
What to do next:
- Girls of all grade levels can earn the My Promise, My Faith pin. Get started with the help of this fact sheet.
- Girl Scouts has always encouraged girls to take spiritual journeys via their faiths’ religious recognitions. Learn more about how Girl Scouts celebrate spirituality and faith.
- Looking for a related read? Check out our other blog posts on Girl Scout Traditions.
Christina Bell—Christina is a stay-at-home mom and recent San Francisco State University graduate. Mother to three spirited children: Allison (12), Olivia (9) and Jake (8). She has led her daughter Olivia’s troop for five years since its founding; incorporating fun field trips and guest speakers. Married for 15 years to her college sweetheart, they live in Brentwood. She is passionate about inclusion and volunteers as a community special needs advocate. Christina also enjoys traveling.