Girl Scouts across the country will learn about black history en route to a new patch created by a Clayton troop.
The Black History Month patch is available to all Scouts who complete activities designed to increase their awareness and knowledge of important African-American leaders and issues. Clayton Troop 3432, which meets at Mt. Vernon Christian Church, thought up the patch as part of a regional contest.
Fourth-grader Marissa Colbert, a member of Troop 3432, said she enjoyed helping her troop’s leaders craft the requirements for earning the patch, using her own knowledge of prominent African-American leaders.
“We have learned about George Crum and how he invented the potato chip,” Colbert said. “And if it wasn’t for Gorge Washington Carver, we wouldn’t have peanut butter.”
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Learning about African-American inventors like Crum and Carver is one of several requirements to earn the patch, said Robin Colbert, Colbert’s mother and Troop 3432’s leader.
Girl Scouts can also use U.S. Census data to learn about African-American demographics in their home county or reach out to local NAACP chapters. Other requirements include visiting an African-American cultural site and connecting with fellow Scouts in African countries.
“We asked the girls, ‘As an African-American troop, what would you want folks to know?’ ” Robin Colbert said. “That really was the catalyst of the patch design.”
Troop 3432 formed in 2013 with the support of Mt. Vernon, where the majority of the Scouts and their families are members. Robin Colbert said the church provides not only financial support but spiritual backing as well. Many of the older church members were Girl Scouts as children.
The troop, which has Scouts in grades K-8, meets Wednesdays at Mt. Vernon, when the church hosts a Bible study.
Mt. Vernon’s pastor, the Rev. Terence Leathers, said he’s been impressed by the Scout troop, which he said is providing families an opportunity to get involved in their community. As for the Black History Month patch, “it’s a big deal,” he said.
“One reason I’m excited about it is the fact that it makes our girls aware of themselves,” Leathers said. “It ties them back into their history, which is important.”
“It lets them see who they are and provides some inspiration to them of what they can be,” Leathers added.
The patch itself, designed by Mt. Vernon deacon Jamie Rowland, highlights the first African-American Girl Scout troop, which was founded in 1917. Today, Girl Scouts of the USA says more than 300,000 African-American girls call themselves Girl Scouts.
“To have people recognize the significance of blacks and what they have done in society and in America in general, it feels good,” Leathers said. “When you see that patch, especially coming from a church in Clayton, it means a lot.”