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Archive for September, 2009

Last night, while checking my email, I discovered one from my 9 year old daughter.  This immediately raised my curiousity, as my kids don’t spend much time sending emails and such.  Turns out it was an idea for a new badge for Frontier Girls, the Cartoon Badge.  I groaned, as my first thought was that she must want to spend hours watching cartoons, but as I continued to read, I began to puff up with pride.  Even at  just 9 years old, my daughter has figured out the mechanics of basic badge writing.

As any girl in my troop will tell you, they can earn badges on any subject that interests them, but they do have to actually work at it.  My daughter’s Cartoon Badge suggestion came with requirements such as find out what the first cartoon was and who drew it;  name 5 people who do voices for cartoons;  draw your own cartoon;  and learn how cartoons are made.  The longer the girls are in the Frontier Girls program, the more they begin to discover the world around them.  Everything they see and do takes on a new dimension when they put it in the framework of a badge.  It makes them ask questions they may never have thought of otherwise.

I encourage you to talk with your own girls about writing badges on topics they are interested in.  They will get as much from writing the badge as they will from actually earning it.  Writing a badge makes you ask questions,  questions lead to new discoveries, and new discoveries lead to new interests.  There is as much value in the process, as there is in what they actually learn.

Happy badge writing!mightymouse

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When Frontier Girls was first founded, we made a commitment to write a badge for anything a girl wanted to learn about, with the exception of controversial topics we thought were better addressed by parents and religious leaders.  Little did we know where that commitment would lead us.

Thanks to the involvement of girls and parents all around the country, we now have a badge list of over 1200 individual badges the girls can earn.  Of these, roughly 600 are already written and we are adding more daily.  Visit the website for the current list and if you wish to earn one that hasn’t been written yet, email us and we will push it to the top of the list.  We can usually get a badge ready for your within 2 weeks.

The best way to keep girls involved in Frontier Girls is to let them have a say in what they do and what they learn.  By writing a badge for virtually anything, we give the girls control of their program while still maintaining the structure and guidance they need.

If you have expertise in a certain area and would like to help with the badge writing process, we can always use extra volunteers.  Go to the Frontier Girls website at www.frontiergirls.com and click on “contact” to get involved.

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group pictureFall has arrived, and with it several new Frontier Girls troops.  In the last year and a half we have grown from one troop in Redding, CA serving 20 girls, to 18 troops around the country serving close to 200.  I am excited to welcome new states to our ranks this fall, including Washington, Maryland, Indiana, and North Carolina.  With the addition of these new troops, we now have active Frontier Girls in 12 states and hope to open several more before the end of the year.

As a small, all volunteer run organization, we have a very small budget, leaving virtually no room for effective marketing. It never ceases to amaze me how many people find our website, in spite of the fact that very few people even know we exist.  The Frontier Girls program serves a need that other programs for girls simply don’t meet, and as word gets around, we anticipate rapid growth over the next few years.
You can help us expand by telling others about Frontier Girls, posting flyers at your local schools or churches, or best of all, starting a troop of your own.  For more ways to volunteer within Frontier Girls, visit our website at http://www.frontiergirls.com/ and click on “volunteer.”

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In looking for ways to bring American History alive for kids, I discovered the American Heritage Education Foundation.  AHEF  is a non-profit, non-partisan, educational foundation (501.c.3) dedicated to the understanding and teaching of America’s factual and philosophical heritage.  Their focus is on constructive citizenship, freedom, unity, progress, and responsibility among our students and citizens.  This wonderful organization provides a free CD of lesson plans for teachers and parents who wish to teach their children not only the historical facts of our country, but the philisophical significance behind them.

“American Heritage, a Lesson in Liberty” is  a group of lesson plans divided into three books for elementary, middle school, and high school age students.  These plans contain specific activities in which students not only learn about American history, but assess and analyze their own identities as Americans.

The following exerpt was taken from the AHEF website and explains the philosphy behind their program:

“Freedom, Unity, Progress, and Responsibility are central themes in America’s heritage that generations of Americans from diverse backgrounds have embraced for over two centuries. While diversity has always contributed to the strength of our republic, the recent focus on what sets us apart rather than on what binds us together clearly tends to divide and weaken our nation. The effort in our schools to celebrate diversity for diversity’s sake without a corresponding understanding that diverse peoples are only one part of our national character will result in a ‘house divided’ with potentially catastrophic social, cultural, and economic division. AHEF believes that the concepts and themes of our American heritage must be objectively studied and continually improved for today’s students and citizens to understand, appreciate, and perpetuate the ongoing miracle of our unique republic of the people, by the people, and for the people.  Through a renewed study and understanding of historical events, founding documents, national symbols, and significant individuals, students can better understand the foundational philosophical ideas underlying the establishment of the United States of America.  Our students and citizens can therefore become increasingly aware of and proficient in the inspired, noble, and virtuous ideals of our constitutional republic that is founded on certain unalienable rights and the equality and freedom of all persons. As a result, students will become more patriotic, informed, responsible, active, enthusiastic, and united citizens able to perpetuate the ideas of Freedom, Unity, Progress, and Responsibility that we value as members of the American family.”

For more information on the American Heritage Education Foundation and how to bring their program to your school, please visit their website at www.americanheritage.org

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