Dolly Parton Earns Girl Scout Patch

Earning a new patch to add to one’s sash or vest is exciting for any Girl Scout. Receiving the patch from Dolly Parton? Now that’s got to be even better than setting a troop record for selling the most Tagalongs and Do-si-dos!

Parton, a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts of Tanasi Council, presented the “Coat of Many Colors” patch to 450 Girl Scouts Saturday at her Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. The country singer was decked out in her own Girl Scout uniform, including a sash filled with patches she had earned.

“Have you ever felt bad about being different?” Parton said, according to the Girl Scouts of Tanasi Council Web site. “I’ll bet you have, but you shouldn’t—being different is what makes you special!”

Photo: Girl Scouts of Tanasi Council
Lifetime Girl Scout member Dolly Parton shows off the patches she’s collected.

The “Coat of Many Colors” patch is named after Parton’s 1971 song of the same name. Parton’s inspiration for the song stems from a childhood experience. Her mother sewed her a coat out of rags but after proudly wearing the new garment to school, classmates poked fun at the young Parton. Parton’s classmates may have had a laugh but she earned a hit song – and is now spreading the lesson with girls with a new Girl Scout patch.

“Honoring yourself and standing up for diversity are two of the most important messages in Girl Scouting, and that’s what this earning this patch is all about,” said Lise Bender, Tanasi’s director of program services, who wrote the patch program.

The Girl Scout site noted the patch program helps scouts develop self-esteem and compassion for others. To earn the badge Girl Scouts must help others – examples include sharing gently used items with local needy kids and families – and make a collage.

Parton announced scouts across the world can earn the “Coat of Many Colors” patch because Saturday’s event marked the global rollout of the badge. The singer also performed her legendary song and then led the Girl Scouts in a parade through Dollywood.

Click here for the Girl Scouts of Tanasi Council Web site.