Friday, December 9, 2016

Girl Scouts Recognizes Troop Capitol Hill Co-Chair Representative Donna Edwards

On December 5, 2016, Girl Scouts recognized U.S. Representative Donna Edwards for her years of service as a Troop Capitol Hill co-chair. Leadership from Girl Scouts of Central Maryland and Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital, residing in Edwards’ district, brought girls to thank the representative and present her with tokens of appreciation. Many of these girls have earned or are working toward earning their Gold Award and were able to share their Girl Scout experiences with Representative Edwards.

The recognition event took place at the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument, a historic house and museum of the U.S. women's suffrage and equal rights movements. Located a block from the United States Capitol, the house originally served as a gathering space for suffragists. Today, it is a beautiful reminder of all of the women who worked tirelessly in pursuit of equal rights for women and girls—and it was the perfect setting to honor Representative Edwards, who has been a champion for women and girls throughout her tenure in Congress.

For almost a decade, Edwards has advocated for legislation that increases young people’s access to STEM education and policies that promote equal opportunities for women and girls. We thank Representative Edwards for her extraordinary support of our organization and her outstanding commitment to our nation’s youth—especially girls—and we wish her all the best in her next adventure.

Read on for more about this special event from Lalah C. Williams, Gold Award recipient from Troop 5081, Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital, who also shared some words about a past experience she had with Representative Edwards.

My Girl Scout troop is one of five troops (Daisy, Brownie, Junior, Cadette, and Senior/Ambassador) that meets on the first and third Saturdays of each month at a church in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. There are about 75 girls total. At the end of the year, we usually have one big “end-of-the-year awards and bridging ceremony.” The year that I earned my Silver Award, the troop leaders decided it would be nice to invite Congresswoman Donna Edwards to speak at our ceremony. (She said yes!) We were so excited to be getting our badges and patches—and bridging to the next level and welcoming new girls to our level. And our leaders, parents, and grandparents knew that having our U.S. representative as the speaker was a good opportunity for us to see another example of what we, as Girl Scouts, can do when we grow up. [In preparation], our leaders asked us to learn one fact about Congresswoman Edwards. I learned that the first law she worked on in Congress [supported setting up] an after-school meal program in Maryland. At the time, I did not understand just how meaningful it was for our U.S. representative to attend the entire ceremony, serve as the keynote speaker, and stay for photos afterward. I now know that this was truly important.

Having the opportunity to talk with Congresswoman Edwards yesterday was amazing. It was an honor to represent Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital and to thank [Edwards] for her support and let her know what Girl Scouts are doing today. It was encouraging to hear her talk about her career and the path she pursued, [including about how she] saw a need in her community and wanted to work as a member of Congress to fix it. She set this goal and did the hard work for many years—achieving her goal like a true Girl Scout. Her contributions to the community made a difference. (Her annual college fair is just one example.) Knowing that [for Edwards], being a Girl Scout is part of the foundation of her success inspires me even more. Congresswoman Edwards has always talked proudly about being a Girl Scout and has always been supportive of our programs. Although her time in Congress is ending soon, she shared that she won’t stop working to make a difference in her community. I can't wait to see what she does next.