Pen Pal Badge

Electronic forms of communication such as email, text messaging, FaceTime, and Skype have greatly diminished traditional means of communication. Letters are becoming rare. However, for the person receiving such a treasure, the response is still the same—joy!

Providing the opportunity for Girls in Action, Royal Ambassadors, and Children in Action to earn a Pen Pal badge is a valuable learning experience that also has many blessings and benefits for both the receivers and senders of letters. Writing letters helps children develop writing skills, learn how to express kindness and compassion with words, and share with another person interesting information about themselves, which can boost confidence and self-esteem. Letters from a pen pal help a child learn about the life of another person, understand how they are similar and different, and appreciate how another person lives in another part of the state or around the world.

Here are three ideas for planning a pen pal project:

Write to senior adults within your church or community.

  • Contact senior adults who would be interested in becoming pen pals with GAs, RAs, or CAs.
  • Get permission from parents for their children to participate in the pen pal project.
  • Get mailing addresses of seniors and children.
  • Assign each child a senior adult as a pen pal.
  • Once a month, allow time during the weekly meeting for the GAs, RAs, or CAs to write letters to their pen pals.
  • Plan a pen pal party at the end of the year for children and their pen pals.

Write to a missionary.

  • Contact the International Mission Board or North American Mission Board for the name and mailing address of a missionary.
  • Each month, as a group, write a letter that shares about your group’s activities and also asks questions about the missionary’s life in that country or state. Include pictures of your missions group with the letter.
  • Celebrate each letter from the missionary by reading it aloud to the group.
  • Plan a celebration at the end of the year with a FaceTime or Skype pen pal party.

Write to a missions group in another state or within your state.

  • Contact a state WMU office to get the mailing address of a church and the name of their GA, RA, or CA leader.
  • Write a letter to the leader to see if his or her group would like to become pen pals.
  • Each month, as a group, send a letter informing the pen pal group of ways your missions group is telling people about God’s love. Also ask questions for the pen pal group to answer in their letter.
  • Plan to do a similar missions project in each of your communities. Share the experience with your pen pal group.
  • At the end of the year, have a FaceTime or Skype party with the pen pal group, or meet at a state WMU or GA, RA, or CA event if the group is within your state.

When children earn the Pen Pal badge, they have invested in the life of another person, and they are able to see a world outside of their own families, communities, and the walls of the church. So pull out paper and pen and let the letter writing begin!

 

Edith Fisher has served as a GA leader for over 20 years and currently writes leadership articles and curriculum for GA, RA, and CA. Edith lives and works in Virginia, enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, and loves all things WMU.

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