The Girl Scouts of America has always stressed the importance of building self-esteem, character and confidence in the young ladies involved in the organization and everywhere.
Nothing does more to meet those efforts than offering them the experience of giving back to their community. Each year in Danvers, the Girl Scout troops come out to participate in the town’s Memorial Day events in a profound way.
In addition to marching in the town’s annual parade, during the week before Memorial Day, Scouts of all ages honor the sacrifices of veterans by helping mark their graves with American flags.
This tradition was born in 1993 when local Girl Scout, Jessica Rajotte, who was working towards her Gold Award (which is the equivalent to the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Award), completed a mapping project identifying the locations of veterans’ graves within St. Mary of the Annunciation Cemetery on Hobart Street. Since then this annual event has drawn hundreds of Girl Scouts out each year to help with the duty of marking the soldiers’ graves with flags, younger scouts being guided by their elder counterparts in the proper rules of flag etiquette.
Cindy Veatch is the troop leader in charge of organizing the event — she’s also the Neighborhood Administrator for Danvers, which means she serves as the local liaison to the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. According to Veatch, there are more than 400 Girl Scouts in Danvers.
“Girls from kindergarten through high school will be there to place flags on veterans’ graves and remove old ones. They love this project and the families of the veterans seem to like seeing the young girls remember their family members’ sacrifices,” Veatch said.
The Girl Scouts will be replacing old flags with new ones to honor the veterans on Tuesday and Thursday at the Hobart Street cemetery from 6-7:30 p.m. During the march in next Monday’s parade, the Scouts will help place wreaths at memorials along the parade route.