Girl Scout News: Ripley Price, Fleetwood, organizes Flag Retirement

Ceremoniously removing the Canton (field of blue) from the flag that Fleetwood Area School District Superintendent, Dr. Paul Eaken, gave his blessing for Ripley to retire in her ceremony.
Senator Judy Schwank with Girl Scout Ripley Price.

Girl Scout Silver Award Candidate, Ripley Price, an 8th grade student at Fleetwood Area Middle School (age 14 years). Ripley was born in Australia but has lived in the USA for 10 years and is very patriotic towards her new country. Ripley invited Scouts from all the branches of scouting to participate; Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts (from Troop 183), Cub Scouts (from Pack 183) and Venturing Crew (from Crew 5.14) and involved the local community.

On Saturday June 7 at 1 p.m. (prior to the Maidencreek Community Days), Ripley organized and conducted a Flag Retirement Ceremony at the Maidencreek Park Pavilion to ensure a ceremonious disposal of American flags that were no longer serviceable (torn, tattered, faded, worn). In conjunction with this, she visited Boy Scout meetings, Cub Scout meetings, Girl Scout meetings within Blandon and Fleetwood and Venturing Crew meetings at Reading Rocks Climbing Gym in Reading to train youth about the flag code, flag folding, flag ceremonies and the importance of showing respect for the flag.

Ripley is working towards her Girl Scout Silver Award and chose to organize a Flag Retirement Ceremony and education program for youth as her ‘take action’ project.

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She involved all branches of Scouting: Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts (from Troop 183), Cub Scouts (from Pack 183) and Venturing Crew (from Crew 5.14). She also invited the community to participate in this event and invited special guest, Senator Judy Schwank to attend.

Ripley worked with the Maidencreek Township staff, Blandon Fire Company, Boy Scouts of America, and the American Legion to organize a Flag Retirement Ceremony for local residents. She chose Maidencreek Community Days to hold it so as to attract as many participants as possible. She especially wanted to involve her fellow youth so that they could learn more about showing respect for the flag, the flag code, flag folding and flag ceremonies. She is currently creating a “Flag Awareness Kit”. She hopes to be able to present copies of this resource to the Fleetwood Library, Maidencreek Township and for use with Girl Scouts.

Ripley placed flag collection boxes at the Fleetwood Post Office, the Beaver Family Service Center (offices of the Boy Scouts), at Senator Schwank’s Reading Offices and collected flags from the Fleetwood Bank, (Fleetwood and Blandon locations, and Vist Bank). She had set a goal of collecting 50 flags from the local area but when it came time for the Flag Retirement Ceremony she had 218 flags to retire in total.

Ripley also retired three very large flags graciously given to her by Mr. Gaspari, of Ontelaunee Mushroom Farms, Inc, Beaver Family Service Center and Fleetwood Area School District.

She felt strongly that the American Flag is a very large part of the American identity and that it was important to teach children/youth to appreciate the symbolism and history of this country. She believed it was important to honor the flag in a respectful retirement ceremony with ceremonial splendor and she wanted her friends and local youth to experience this first hand and be involved in this process.

Ripley is very active in Scouting. As well as being a Cadette with Troop 11096, Ripley is a Venturing Scout with Crew 5.14 (Venturing is a youth development program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for young men and women who are 14 years of age and under 21). She recently completed National Youth Leadership Training in Chester County with the BSA to ensure she had the leadership skills she needed to undertake her Silver Award Flag Retirement Ceremony.