I have a confession to make: I’ve never been a Girl Scout. I always wanted to be; I thought the uniforms were cool. The camaraderie and girl-power mentality seemed cool, and the cookies? Who wouldn’t want access to Thin Mints for weeks on end? But for one reason or another, it never happened. I grew up, and left my Girl Scout dreams behind.
But today, one particular Girl Scout by the name of Alice Paul Tapper made me yet again wish I was part of this amazing organization. Because the spirited little 10-year-old — who just so happens to be the daughter of CNN news anchor Jake Tapper — just helped launch a brand new patch (and corresponding initiative) that’s boosting the confidence of girls everywhere.
According to Alice, the “Raise Your Hand” badge aims to inspire girls to “have confidence, step up, and become leaders by raising our hands.”
In an op-ed published by The New York Times Tuesday — because yes, when you’re dad’s Jake Tapper, you get to voice your thoughts in one of the biggest newspapers in the world — Alice explained that the idea was actually born on a class trip: “Last year on a fourth-grade field trip, I noticed that all the boys stood in the front and raised their hands while most of the girls politely stayed in the back and were quiet,” she wrote. “It made me upset.”
So upset in fact, that Alice spoke with her mom about it immediately following the trip:
“On the car ride home I told my mom about what happened,” she wrote. “We talked about how it seemed unfair and how boys and girls should be equal … I told my mom that I thought girls weren’t raising their hands because they were afraid that the answer was going to be wrong and that they would be embarrassed. I also think they were being quiet because the boys already had the teacher’s attention … my mom and I decided that we should take the experience to my Girl Scout troop.”
After speaking with the troop, Alice and her mom realized this was not an isolated problem or incident. So Alice and her troop began brainstorming, and before long, the “Raise Your Hand” campaign was born. In order to earn the patch, a Girl Scout simply has to “pledge to raise her hand in class and recruit at least three other girls … to do the same.” And as a former quiet girl in class — who was easily intimidated girl and rarely raised her hand — I can’t adore this enough. Because what I didn’t know then was that there is power in numbers, and that peer support can be everything.
Teaching our girls early that they have every right to sit at the table, every right to raise their hand, and every right to speak up for themselves, is perhaps the greatest lesson we can give them. It’s so amazing to see that thanks to one little girl, that message will be spread far and wide.