Girls Scouts and the White House: The Ms. President Patch

Girls Scouts and the White House: The Ms. President Patch
Hillary Clinton: First Ladies' Lives

Skill: Elementary School
Time Required: Two to three class periods


Introduction:

As a young girl in Chicago, Hillary Rodham was a Girl Scout, and as First Lady, she was honorary President of the Girl Scouts (as are all modern First Ladies).  In 2002, the Girl Scouts, in collaboration with The White House Project on women in leadership, created a patch for the Girl Scouts called the Ms. President Patch.

Objectives:

Students who participate in this activity will learn about the Ms. President Patch and The White House Project. They will also design a new patch or merit badge for a contemporary or historical woman leader of their choice.

Materials Required:

Access to the Internet.  Art materials.

Procedures:

1.  Discuss with students the idea of a merit badge or a "patch" in Scouting (for both boys and girls).  Ask students if any of them are already Scouts and if they have earned some badges.  If so, ask them to bring them to show the class.

2.  The Ms. President Patch has different activities for different ages of Girl Scouts that are required in order to earn the Patch.  Divide the class into three groups and have each group research the activities for Daisy and Brownie Girl Scouts, Junior Girl Scouts, and Girl Scouts who are 11-17 (these can be found on the Ms. President Patch website listed below).  Ask the groups to compare lists and discuss the relative merits of each.

3.  Accessing the White House Project listed below, ask students to study the mission of the organization and discuss the degree to which they think that more women should be in positions of leadership at the local, state, and national levels.

4.  Following this discussion, ask students to select one women, from the list of female contenders for President in 1908, or from the list of Women's Firsts (below).  Each student should select one person, research that person's life, and then design a Scouting badge for one age group of Scouts that represents some aspect of knowledge or skill that represents that person, as well as the activities that will earn that badge. 

5.  Have students display and discuss all the badges.

Extending the Lesson:

This lesson could be extended by writing short essays about the female leaders selected by students, and/or by assembling all the badges, activities, and essays into a notebook or scrapbook for the class to keep.

Sources & Resources:

Websites:

The Ms. President Patch

The White House Project

Top Female Contenders for President in '08

Women's Firsts from 1847

 

Credits:

This lesson was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.