August 19, 2017

Girl Scouts: Why They are Needed Now More Than Ever.

Posted by rlangley

If I could name only one thing that girls learn when they’re involved with Girl Scouts (as hard as that is!), it’s that they become capable of tackling pretty much ANYTHING. From building robots, to overcoming their fear of a rock climb wall to providing meals for those less fortunate in their communities, Girl Scouts have done amazing things for more than 100 years. And with the right encouragement, guidance, training, and confidence, they grow into women who lead by example to do great things for the world.

Girl Scouts has always known that girls are the key to our collective future. Gender balance in the workplace and in the public sphere are vital to ensuring that every voice is heard and every outlook is considered. It's no mystery why corporate boards with more gender balance outperform male-dominated boards. Women bring an invaluable perspective to the courtroom, the classroom, and the caucus room. So, one of the best things we can do to ensure the long-term strength of the United States is to invest in girls. Girl Scouts IS that investment.

Girl Scouts is the best leadership experience for girls in the world. A strong statement I know, but it is simply because it is created WITH and FOR girls. The cherry on top? The Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Not familiar? It is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program that pairs girls with strong female role models in their communities and empowers girls to develop their potential to the fullest. Girls can find a safe space where they are free to just be themselves without the pressures and social anxieties that can come from a mixed-gender environment. It is a leadership model that is collaborative, yet allows for diversity of perspectives.

We need to insure that today’s girls are acquiring the skills they need to take on the 21st century leadership roles of their futures. Girl Scouts has become the experts at giving girls the tools they need to empower themselves by teaching them that their voices count, that they must stand up for what they believe in, and that they have the strength to take the lead.

Girl Scout programming bolsters the benefits of school by fostering a safe, inclusive, girl-led, and all-female environment where girls are free to practice different skills, try new things, and take on leadership positions. In fact, the all-girl environment is one of the major keys to success. Research shows that girls learn best in an all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment where their specific needs are addressed and met. Girl Scouts provides a place for girls to support and encourage one another in a pressure-free environment without boys. Something that is needed most profoundly, especially in today's day and age.

The girl-only, girl-defined, and girl-led aspects of Girl Scouts are crucial to what is offered, particularly for girls who don’t have access to single-gender environments offered in the private school system. And the fact is, most of a girl’s life is co-ed, making the safe space that Girl Scouts offers imperative for nurturing collaboration instead of competition and receiving support from other girls. With this encouragement, a girl can stretch beyond her limits and transfer knowledge, experiences, and skills to any environment, both now and in the future. (It's important to note that leaders, camp counselors, and volunteers are all thoroughly vetted, and although moms, dads, brothers, and sisters are all welcome, the focus is always on girls.)

The most inventive part of Girl Scout programming is that girls are learning to lead, to find their voice, to discover their inner G.I.R.L. (go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, leader) through a series of creative, fun and challenging programs that keep them thriving. Girls can participate in outdoor activities like hiking, camping, canoeing, and archery to have exciting, girl-led adventures while learning important life skills. At Girl Scouts, every girl has an opportunity to take the lead in the world of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through hands-on learning by doing. The iconic Girl Scout Cookie Program is unrivaled in its ability to teach girls financial literacy skills. And, of course, only Girl Scouts gives girls the chance to pursue the most challenging, rewarding, and life-changing award for girls in the world: the Girl Scout Gold Award. Earned by fewer than 6 percent of Girl Scouts annually, the Gold Award requires girls to demonstrate their leadership skills by addressing a local or global community issue.

Put simply, Girl Scouts works. Proof positive. It’s the best leadership experience for girls in the world because it’s girl-led! For an opportunity to experience Girl Scouting first hand, visit Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England at www.gssne.org.

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