This post was authored by Jennifer Ezell, Educational Programs Specialist at the Library of Congress.
On November 4, 2023, from 10am to 2pm, the Informal Learning Office at the Library of Congress will be hosting our second Girl Scout Day, in partnership with the U.S. Copyright Office and the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. Junior Girl Scout Day is dedicated to helping Girl Scouts earn their Inside Government badge in-person. Registration for this event is mandatory and available here.
On the day of the program, registered attendees will come to the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building. Once you’ve checked in, you’ll receive a badge guide with detailed information about the program’s steps and a map of the activity locations.
Girl Scouts will be able to travel between the Library of Congress and the Capitol Visitor Center through connecting tunnels and complete the five required steps of the badge at stations set up in both locations. Activities include facilitated discussions about civic engagement, self-guided tours of the exhibition Join In! Voluntary Associations in America, and the U.S. Capitol, art activities and much more. Girl Scouts will also be able to visit the Democracy Lab, located on the lower level of the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, which highlights the work of Congress in fun, interactive ways.
Once the Girl Scouts have completed their badge requirements, they can take a celebratory photo at a speaker’s podium either on the Library of Congress’ mezzanine or in the Democracy Lab in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.
If your Girl Scouts are unable to attend our November 4th event in-person, but are working on this badge from home, the following activities can help them meet some of the requirements the Girl Scout program has set out.
- Join In! Voluntary Associations in America highlights the history of American volunteerism and encourages visitors to think about what being engaged in civics means to them. The exhibition features materials such as a photograph of the first Girl Scout troop in America, with Girl Scout founder Juliette Low. Anyone can explore this exhibition online, where you’ll find a Girl Scout Handbook from 1933 and a Girl Scout sash and insignia pin from 1964. As you look through the online materials, discuss what being an active citizen means to your Girl Scout.
- Sybil Ludington, whose Revolutionary War ride was immortalized in a 1940 Washington, D.C. Evening Star article, is an example of citizenship in action. Sybil was a sixteen-year-old girl who rode more than 40 miles on a rainy night on April 26, 1777 to alert Connecticut militia members of a British attack. Her efforts helped summon troops to defend the area.
- Rosa Parks is one of the most famous examples of citizenship in action. Her refusal to give up her seat on the bus, prompting the Montgomery Bus Boycott, was one of several actions for civil rights she undertook during her lifetime. As you explore this online exhibition, think about what you believe being an active citizen means. Who else would you describe as an active citizen? Think of people who took part in the Civil Rights Movement or women’s suffrage activism. Write down ten things that make an active citizen.
- Explore online resources produced by the United States Copyright office, including Copyright for Kids. Discuss with your Girl Scouts: how do copyright laws affect your daily life?
- Look at the works of cartoonist Thomas Nast, including his iconic political Donkey and Elephant cartoons, which demonstrate the connections between art and politics. Have your Girl Scouts create their own art work inspired by a civics topic. How can you use art to express yourself?
- Prompt discussions about issues that your Girl Scouts care about using the iconic “I Want You” World War I poster created by artist James Montgomery Flagg. Then, explore a collection of copyright-free materials in the Library’s Free to Use and Reuse sets. Are there any images that inspire you to express your opinions on issues? Create a poster that shows your support for a topic that is important to you.
- Visit a local government meeting and take notes. Think about the ways your life is affected by these government meetings, then present a report about the meeting to your family, friends, or school.
- Look at this photo of active citizen and civil rights advocate Travis Britt and his family meeting with their Congresswoman Gladys Spellman, and President Jimmy Carter. What are some of the ways that citizens engage with their local government?
If you’d like to join us in person at the Library, don’t forget to pre-register . Once your registration is confirmed, we look forward to seeing you for an action-packed, fun-filled session as you earn your Inside Government Badge. We’ll see you on November 4th!