[Memorial sign in Christchurch.]
[Photo: Camino De Santiago 2014]
For Our Country:
God of the southern sea
and of these islands,
of Maori, Pakeha,
and of all who dwell in our land;
we give you thanks and praise fo our country,
and for what we have achieved together.
Increase our trust in one another;
strengthen our quest for justice,
and bring us to unity and a common purpose.
You have made us of one blood;
make us also of one mind.
A New Zealand Prayer Book 
Releases March 26th.
I’m 10. And I Want Girls to Raise Their Hands.
By Alice Paul Tapper
“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. It made me upset.
On the car ride home I told my mom about what happened. We talked about how it seemed unfair and how boys and girls should be equal. My mom talks to me a lot about women’s rights and how women are treated differently.
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, and they worried they might not be able to get it. My mom and I decided that we should take the experience to my Girl Scout troop.
We talked about it as a troop. All 12 girls in our troop said this was a problem they also noticed and we talked about how we could improve it. I suggested that we create a Girl Scout patch that would encourage girls to raise their hands in class and be more confident about using our voices. The other girls loved the idea, and they had other suggestions. As a troop we decided to go the local council, Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital, which represents more than 62,000 girls in the Greater Washington, D.C., region, to present our idea.
We decided to call it the Raise Your Hand patch. Its message is that girls should have confidence, step up and become leaders by raising our hands.
As with every patch in Girl Scouts, you have to earn this one. To get it, a scout needs to pledge to raise her hand in class and recruit at least three other girls who promise to do the same. As of this week, troops across the country can order the Raise Your Hand patch. I’m proudly wearing mine.
People say girls have to be 90 percent confident before we raise our hands, but boys just raise their hands. I tell girls that we should take the risk and try anyway, just like the boys do. If the answer is wrong, it’s not the end of the world. It’s not like answering a trivia question to win a million dollars on live TV.
Since our patch launched, Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital has received phone calls from troops all over the country who want to get involved. I’m so excited that girls in other troops that I don’t even know will soon sew the patches onto their vests or sashes.
On their first date, when my mom found out that my dad’s middle name was Paul, she instantly knew that if she married my dad and had a baby girl she would call me Alice Paul. Alice Paul was one of the women who led the movement for women to have the right to vote. Having Alice Paul’s name makes me feel special. For women to be equal to men, we have to fight for it.”
Alice Paul Tapper with a “Raise Your Hand” Girl Scout patch.