Girl Scouts Honor Betty White with Commemorative Patch: 'A Wonderful Tribute'

The Betty White patch program by the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore generated 712 registrations when it was first announced on Dec. 20, but has since increased to 2,059 sign-ups coast to coast

betty white patch
The Betty White Girl Scouts patch. Photo: Snappylogos/Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore

The Girl Scouts are paying tribute to the life and legacy of Betty White.

As part of their Amazing Woman of the Month Series in January, the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore (GSJS) will be offering a nationwide program to earn a commemorative patch in honor of White. The beloved actress died at the age of 99 on Dec. 31.

"We are truly saddened at Betty White's passing, but the incredible response to the patch program is a wonderful tribute to her impact on women," Heather Coburn, the Interim Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore tells PEOPLE.

"She is a strong role model for girls — a feminist, civil rights supporter, animal activist, brilliant actress, and overall nice human being," Coburn adds.

The Amazing Woman of the Month Series was developed in October 2021 by GSJS staffer Stacy Petti. Her hope was to introduce young girls and member adults in central New Jersey and across the country to inspiring women leaders.

Each month, the series focuses on an iconic woman figure through a program that includes self-guided activities. When completed, participants earn a customized patch in honor of the woman. So far, the group has offered patches honoring Shirley Chisholm, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

betty white
Betty White. getty

On Dec. 20, Coburn says the group began promoting White as their January icon. The program honoring White includes teachings about what made her so groundbreaking and will allow girls to build a pretend TV, create their own game show, advocate for animals and learn how to get along with others.

Initially, 712 people signed up for the patch.

Then the beloved Golden Girls actress died on Dec. 31, just 17 days before her 100th birthday. In the time since that day, Coburn says registration numbers have jumped to 2,059 participants coast to coast.

Registration is still currently open and anyone can sign up for $10. An introduction to the program will be held live on Jan. 12 from 7 - 7:30 p.m. ET via Zoom. Those who sign up after Jan. 12 will receive a link to the recorded Zoom program.

RELATED VIDEO: Betty White, The 'Golden Girls' and 'Hot in Cleveland' Star, Dead at 99

Before her death, White opened up to PEOPLE about her feelings on the 100th birthday milestone. "I'm so lucky to be in such good health and feel so good at this age," she said. "It's amazing."

Following her death, her agent and longtime friend Jeff Witjas told PEOPLE that White knew of the love fans had for her during her finals days, adding that he would remind her of it "often."

"Even when she wasn't working, I said, 'Betty, millions of people out there are still asking for you. You're getting your fan letters, I'm getting offers for you,'" he explained. "I don't know if she ever embraced it, [or] really, really felt it. The extent of it. I really don't."

"I would always reinforce it with her because I always felt she should know that," he continued. "I never wanted her to think while she was sitting at home, that the world has passed her by. It never did."

Witjas added, "Betty lived a great life and she lived a life that she chose. She was happy. Every time I told her, 'Betty, you're loved,' she would look at me with a wry smile and say, 'Really?' I hope she knew. I think she did. It was something beyond love."

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