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Salvation Army Quirks #4 – The Fanatical Sunbeam

Sunbeams are an interesting bunch in The Salvation Army.  These are elementary-aged girls who meet each week to work on emblems – it’s the Army’s version of Girl Scouts.  While Adventure Corps gets the badge work done that they need so they can go play basketball, the girls diligently work on their emblems and go beyond the requirements.

But there’s always that one Sunbeam.  A name or two will probably pop into your head when I begin to describe them to you.  Almost every Sunbeam troop has the Fanatical Sunbeam.  This is the Sunbeam of all Sunbeams – the one that wakes up determined to earn every single emblem possible.  She will not rest until she has done every combination of emblem with stretch stars and has earned her gold star for her Commissioner Sunbeam award.

When you see this girl at the awards ceremony, you will be able to tell her apart from the rest because she’s the only one who ran out of room on the front of her sash.  She stands proudly as she receives her newest emblems (which takes the Sunbeam leader 5 minutes to announce them all).  Her mother, who was also a Fanatical Sunbeam in her day, sits in the front row snapping picture after picture and whispering to the people next to her that that’s her daughter.

The mother plays an important role in the Fanatical Sunbeam’s life.  She instills in her the necessity of being the best Sunbeam she can be and that it is essential that she gets all the awards possible.  Many times, the mother will sit up late at night with her daughter and work on the emblems that the other girls just don’t want to do and the Sunbeam leader doesn’t want to teach.  It’s a fast-paced life for the Fanatical Sunbeam because she must stay ahead of the game compared to the other Sunbeams in her troop.

During troop meeting time, the Fanatical Sunbeam takes on the role of a leader as she ‘encourages’ the other Sunbeams to work harder and faster to complete their emblems.  She essentially becomes the foreman of the troop.  She doesn’t want to be held back from getting more emblems done.  To her, time equals more emblems.

As the Fanatical Sunbeam ages out of the program, she usually continues her tactics as a Girl Guard.  She sees the transition as an opportunity to earn even more distinguished awards and be the best Girl Guard she can be.


Question: Do you know of a Fanatical Sunbeam?  What are some other characteristics they have?

About the author
Blake Fewell
Blake Fewell is a Salvation Army Lieutenant serving as the Corps Officer in Marion, IN. He grew up in Rockford, IL attending The Salvation Army all his life. Blake is passionate about Salvation Army theology and ministry. Other passions include running, brass band music, social media, reading, writing, and preaching. He holds a Bachelor's degree in systematic theology from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL and is working towards his Master's degree at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL.