Can you continue with Girl Scouts when you PCS overseas?
You are on the verge of PCS overseas and your daughter is a Girl Scout. Your life is about to change drastically – new barber, new babysitter, new favorite café – but as a military spouse, you strive to make the transition as smooth as possible, especially for your children.
You want your daughter to continue as a Girl Scout but don’t know who to turn to. Girl Scouts Overseas, or USAGSO, is here to help.
What’s the first step? After receiving your orders from PCS, visit USAGSO’s Military support page to begin the transfer of Girl Scouts of the USA, said Katherine Nolan Brown, USAGSO’s fund development and partnership strategy manager. Then send an email to “[email protected]”, where you will receive help navigating the process as you travel to and from overseas.
The process, which is similar to moving from one council to another, includes transferring members, placing troops, and / or purchasing new uniform badges.
” There is the The Girl Scout Promise and the Girl Scout Act, and the girls you are going to meet in Poland or elsewhere know the same promise and the same law, ”said Brown.
How Girl Scouts Abroad Can Help Make the Transition
The two teenage daughters of Air Force wife Rebecca Jaeger have been involved with Girl Scouts since they got into pre-K. They have been active in Girl Scouts in Texas, overseas at Yokota Air Force Base, Japan, and Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany, and are now returning to Randolph Air Force Base in Texas.
Jaeger knew that a new country would be a big change, and the Girl Scouts would help them adjust to the culture, meet people and experience local events.
“Not only did my daughters have amazing Girl Scout experiences, but my husband and I also enjoyed working alongside other Girl Scout volunteers and local nationals throughout our overseas tours,” said Jaeger. “We have made lifelong friends and connections all over the world. “
Like Jaeger, the family of Marine Corps wife Shellii Roach has moved from the United States to overseas and back again. Roach’s daughter started Girl Scouts in Northern Virginia, and they were very excited to continue the experience when they moved to Okinawa, Japan.
Scouts use translation devices and earn special accolades only available abroad, such as the International Friendship Pin and the Lady Baden-Powell Award, Roach said.
“We absolutely love Girl Scouts, and the experiences and friendships last a lifetime,” Roach said.
Is being a Girl Scout any different abroad?
Girl Scouts posted abroad have the same opportunities and traditions as those in the United States. USAGSO says they earn the same badges, awards, and sell cookies, although their selling season may be at a different time of year.
If you’ve never been with Girl Scouts before, joining overseas is a great opportunity. By registering your daughter, what you can do onlineyou will find a group of girls who are in the same age range and share the same interests. Overseas troops have the unique opportunity to earn community badges, which are made in conjunction with other Boy Scout groups, Brown said.
Additionally, only Girl Scouts living overseas are eligible to win the Lady Baden-Powell Award, “said Brown,” which strives to reunite USAGSO Girl Scouts with their sister host nation WAGGGS [World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts] organization. Girls who get this award must be motivated by their desire to get to know people from a different culture than their own. “
The most common challenge facing families is transferring documents from one council to another. Brown said USAGSO has taken steps to make things easier, including creating a support page early June 2021 and hiring a business services manager related to the army.
The way certain badges and projects are earned can be difficult overseas as well.
“With local rules and language barriers, completing an off-base service project is usually not an option,” Jaeger said. “If you are trying to complete a project on the basis, many levels of approval are often required.”
Then there’s the issue of recruiting new members and volunteers, especially if you weren’t associated with Girl Scouts before PCSing. Roach said they rely on word of mouth to recruit, but finding new volunteers is a problem in the military community as spouses feel pressure to volunteer everywhere. Volunteer opportunities are plentiful and vary in terms of time and level of involvement. You can volunteer to help girls get a specific badge or take part in administrative tasks instead of leading a girls’ group.
“We are grateful to have had a wonderful relationship with the base leadership and the base elementary school,” said Roach. “Fortunately, we had a strong response to an open house and gained new girls and volunteers. “
Scouts also have opportunities if their military families are abroad. Boy Scouts of America is part of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, and its members can participate in activities with any of the three BSA councils that serve members who to live abroad. If there are no BSA services where you are moving, the Lone Scout program is an option.
Make your next PCS / transfer easier with Girl Scouts
About 35% of the USAGSO, which currently has more than 6,000 registered girls, is affiliated with the military, Brown said, and the other families involved are expats or those working overseas in some other capacity. . The USAGSO customer service team is based in Italy and Japan, so it can be aligned to different time zones to assist volunteers and troops.
Roach suggests that incoming families search social media for information about Girl Scouts in their new duty station.
“You might find a Girl Scout volunteer or other Girl Scout parent that you can connect with and get the scoop on upcoming activities or a welcome event,” she said.
Roach leaves Japan for Tampa, Florida, and returns to the council where she was a Girl Scout as a child. Jaeger also hopes her daughters will continue to remain active in Girl Scouts, as she has.
“No matter where they are in the world, their daughter can continue with the Girl Scout program, either as a troop, through virtual programming, or as an individual,” Jaeger said.
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