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If you thought the Girl Scouts were only about camping and cookies, think again. The Department of Homeland Security has enlisted the girls in green and brown to help in times of natural or manmade disasters. The "preparedness patch" can now be earned by any of the 3.4 million Girl Scouts nationwide if they complete the required training.

"This new preparedness patch will increase citizen preparedness and enhance our country's readiness for disasters," said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. To earn the patch, Girl Scouts will have to create an emergency preparedness plan for their families, learn about local alerts and warning systems and get involved in community service. They will also learn how to plan for natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

The unveiling of the patch represents a partnership between the scouts and Citizen Corps, a grassroots initiative developed by FEMA for disaster preparedness in communities nationwide.

The Girl Scouts, which was founded in 1912 and chartered by Congress in 1950, have played a part in past national crises. According to its website, during World War II, the scouts operated bicycle courier services, invested more than 48,000 hours in Farm Aide projects, collected scrap metal and grew victory gardens.
Emily Holbrook is the founder of Red Label Writing, LLC, a writing, editing and content strategy firm catering to insurance and risk management businesses and publications, and a former editor of Risk Management.