BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s a huge accomplishment for Girl Scout and Oak Mountain High School alum Taylor Player.
Player earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, for her project, “The Four Little Girls Patch Program.”
Player who is 19 now and a student at the University of Alabama says it began through her involvement with another social organization called Jack and Jill where she learned about the four girls killed in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church Bombing in Birmingham and learned one of the girls, Carole Robertson was a Girl Scout.
Right then she knew she wanted to do something.
Player said, “Girl Scouts everywhere should know what happened to their sister. This is a sisterhood. We all stand for the same thing. We are all different and we are all unique and Girl Scouts is a huge melting pot all over the world. “ Player said, “I just really want to shine a light on our history. not African American history, but America’s history.”
Player decided this would be her Gold Award Project. She began researching the four girls who were killed, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, Addie Mae Collins and Denise McNair.
That included meeting with their families and getting first-hand accounts. Then she met with Alabama Senator Doug Jones in 2019 who was the U.S. Attorney who prosecuted and got convictions for two of the church bombers.
She had to make presentations and get the Girl Scout Council’s approval, and then had to designed the patch herself.
All of her hard work culminated during a recent zoom release of her Four Little Girls Patch project, with invited guests including Senator Doug Jones, Lisa McNair, sister to Carol Denise McNair, one of the Four Little Girls, and Dr. Denise Gregory – Girl Scout Troop Leader and Assistant Provost for Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives and Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Samford University.
Karen Peterlin, CEO of Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama, said more than 300 girls scouts logged on from all over the United States. Some 600 signed up to for the Four Little Girls Patch Project.
Peterlin said, “We had a Girls Scouts Council in New Jersey contact us and they wanted the requirements and they wanted 200 patches - they wanted as part of an educational program on racial justice.”
Peterlin also said, “This program is going to be lasting, truly a lasting impact on girls and young women in our council and across the United States for many years to come.”
Player praised her mom for giving her this kind of exposure.
She said, “So blessed to have the mother I have. She always made sure I was in organizations such as Girl Scouts to instill those characteristics you need to be the best young woman you can be, a powerful leader, entrepreneur, CEO.”
She went to say about her patch project, ”I wanted to make sure that anyone who earns my patch, the Four Little Girls, although they are gone, they are never forgotten.”
She said she wants everyone to see her presentation. Player said, “I think it’s bigger than Girl Scouts. It’s America. We have to know our history in order to not repeat it.”