Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama (GSSA) and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) recently released new badges in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and the outdoors, areas girls are not typically encouraged to explore outside of Girl Scouting. The badges will debut on the organization’s first digital platform for volunteers, making it more accessible than ever to unleash the power of every girl.
At a time when 81 percent of American voters think preparing girls for leadership roles should be a national priority, GSUSA—the preeminent leadership development organization for girls—offers girls even more opportunities to learn skills and empower themselves with the experiences they need to succeed in life. And as the Girl Scout Research Institute releases new findings that confirm the outstanding leadership outcomes that Girl Scouts exhibit compared to their non-Girl Scout peers, there has never been a better time to join.
New Programming in STEM and the Outdoors
Through hands-on and age-appropriate experiences for girls as young as five, Girl Scouts is both enhancing the important outdoor opportunities the organization is known for and addressing the lack of exposure many girls have to STEM. In fact, Girl Scouts are almost twice as likely as non–Girl Scouts to participate in STEM (60 percent versus 35 percent) and outdoor activities (76 percent versus 43 percent). With the introduction of 23 new badges, which marks the largest programming rollout in almost a decade, Girl Scouts can design robots and racecars, go on environmentally conscious camping trips, write code, collect data in the great outdoors, try their hand at engineering, and so much more. GSUSA created programming that included contributions from many notable organizations. Collaborators include the STEM-focused Code.org, GoldieBlox, SciStarter, Society of Women Engineers, and WGBH/Design Squad Global, as well as the outdoor-focused Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.
The new Girl Scout programming builds girls’ skills and encourages their interest in STEM and environmental conservation from an early age, increasing their confidence in these areas—in an all-girl environment where they feel comfortable trying new things, taking appropriate risks, and learning from failure. For more information about the new badges, visit www.girlscouts.org/ourprogram.
Girl Scouts Excel in Important Aspects of Life
A new report from the Girl Scout Research Institute, The Girl Scout Impact Study, shows that participating in Girl Scouts helps girls develop key leadership skills they need to be successful in life. Compared to their peers, Girl Scouts are more likely than non-Girl Scouts to be leaders because they:
· Have confidence in themselves and their abilities (80% vs. 68%)
· Act ethically and responsibly, and show concern for others (75% vs. 59%)
· Seek challenges and learn from setbacks (62% vs. 42%)
· Develop and maintain healthy relationships (60% vs. 43%)
· Identify and solve problems in their communities (57% vs. 28%)
· Take an active role in decision making (80% vs. 51%)
Importantly, what girls gain through Girl Scouting positively affects all areas of their lives. For example, Girl Scouts do better than their non–Girl Scout peers in the classroom, earning better grades and aspiring to higher educational attainment, and are more likely to seek careers in STEM, law, and business—industries in which women are underrepresented. And the benefits of Girl Scouting are not exclusive to any particular demographic, which means that no matter where girls live or what their age or background, Girl Scouts can help them develop to their full potential and excel in all aspects of life.
Digitizing the Volunteer Experience
The new Girl Scout program elements are now available to more members than ever before via the recently expanded Volunteer Toolkit, Girl Scouts’ first “digital assistant” for troop leaders and parents, allowing them to more easily plan meetings and activities, keep track of important information, and, ultimately, make it easier to support amazing experiences for girls. In the toolkit, most Girl Scout programming for girls in grades K-5 is auto-populated so that troop leaders can view activity plans and necessary materials, customize meeting plans, track troop finances, and more, all in one place. Further, the instructions that are included throughout make subjects that might otherwise intimidate some volunteers—like STEM—accessible and understandable, so that they can confidently lead troop activities.
“When people think of Girl Scouts, cookies and camping often come to mind. However, we are much more than that; we are the number one girl-led leadership development program in the world, Karlyn Edmonds, CEO of Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama, said. Based on the research study Generation STEM done by the Girl Scout Research Institute, 57% of girls say they think STEM related careers are typically for males. Furthermore, 57% say they would have to work harder than a man to be taken seriously. We’re here to give girls the confidence they need to be the next engineer, scientists, or computer programmer. It’s time for girls to dream even bigger!”
Through Girl Scouting, girls learn to face challenges head-on, embrace failure as a learning opportunity, create lasting relationships, and find dynamic solutions to social issues—all while building the skills and courage they need to take the lead every day and empower themselves for life. To join or volunteer, find a membership event going on in your area at www.girlscoutssa.org.