Together with RocketChair Productions, we are pleased to announce a collaboration on the VIA Patch Program (Visibility, Inclusion, and Accessibility) — a new element of our “Including All Girls” Patch Program that is designed to heighten Girl Scouts’ awareness, understanding, and acceptance of people’s differences and disabilities.
The collaboration is the result of a conversation between COO Kristen Garcia-Hernandez and Adiba Nelson, the author of highly-rated children's book Meet ClaraBelle Blue and President of RocketChair Productions. After Nelson’s daughter, Emory, faced challenges participating in her school’s Daisy troop, Nelson proposed her book as a way to prompt discussion within our Girl Scout community around inclusion of children with disabilities, and what it means to have an inclusive, accessible Girl Scout troop.
“My daughter’s aide at school shared with me that the troop leaders were struggling to successfully include her,” Nelson says. “It wasn’t their fault, they just didn’t know the best way to include a child who communicates differently, and uses a wheelchair to get around. As a parent you want your child to have as much of an immersive experience as the next child, so I decided to let the local council know what our experience was.”
Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona has always welcomed Girl Scouts of all abilities, and we care deeply about making Girl Scouting available and accessible to every girl. As longtime members of the National Inclusion Project, we are grateful for the opportunity to partner with RocketChair Productions in order to continue to improve Emory’s and other girls’ experiences. Adding Meet ClaraBelle Blue to the inclusion patch program is particularly exciting. Stories told through girls’ perspectives are especially valuable teaching tools, because girls can easily relate.
And this is just the first step! Though all GSSOAZ program staff receive inclusivity training, the same opportunity has not been consistently available for our volunteers. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with RocketChair Productions to make that possible.
Meet ClaraBelle Blue will officially debut as part of the Girl Scout curriculum at the VIA patch program held at the Angel Charity Place for Girls on December 9th. This program will include evaluating a local structure for accessibility, and learning how to adapt games and toys so that all children are able to play together.