Girl Scout Braille book earns gold

Students at the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired read their new Braille Girl Scout manuals.

Girl Scouts are taught the three C's ...courage, confidence, and character.

Girl Scouts in Troop 6780 in Jacksonville, Illinois put those three values to good use.

"Just because we're visually impaired, doesn't mean we can't read. We wanted to read things for ourselves instead of having them read to us," Rayette Rucker, a member of 6780, said.

It takes courage to ask for what is needed, which is exactly what a Girl Scout troop based out of the Illinois School for the Visually Impaired displayed.

Girl Scout manuals were not available to them in Braille.

"They offered us audio books, which for some girls, and some girls across the nation, I'm sure is a great alternative ...You can't read? Audio. Our girls can read Braille so we kept pushing for Braille, pushing for Braille," Troop Leader Amanda Rodda-Tyler explained.

Breanna Carpentier agreed, "I want to be like the other people and be able to read and be normal and read what everybody else does."

These young women have come across the problem before. When they need a book transcribed in Braille they must make a request and wait until it is completed. It often happens with text books.

When they contacted the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., the organization was in favor of a Braille version of the manual, but the decision is up to the publisher. These scouts confidently made their case to the publisher.

"I wrote a short letter to the publisher, telling them that we need books in Braille so that we can read them ourself," Jada Pumphrey said.

"I wrote a letter to the publishing people asking them to write books for us in Braille," Kayla James said.

The girls made it a project for their gold award. They made calls, wrote letters, and waited for a response.

"Like everybody else around here, I'm not patient," Carpentier admitted.

"I know it was very frustrating for the girls, it was very frustrating. Many of them said I've never been able to be a Girl Scout. I want to be a Girl Scout. Part of being a Girl Scout is having that book, being able to read that material yourself, decide what badges you want to work on, and go do it," Rodda-Tyler explained.

The girls displayed good character. Braille manuals are now available for any visually impaired Girl Scout.

"We were being helpful to other Girl Scouts who may be visually impaired in other parts of the state," James said.

"I'm happy because we finally get to read and be normal and maybe we can get more things done than we did last year," Carpentier said.

The project fits right in with some of the earliest ideals of Girl Scouting.

"Jueliette Gordon Low, the starter of Girl Scouts, pushed for girls with disabilities being included in Girl Scouting. Her first troop had young ladies with different disabilities in it. She said everybody should be welcome. We were meeting this obstacle of welcoming everybody," Rodda-Tyler explained.