Mark your calendars! Girl Scouts will be once again be showcasing their leadership style at the Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!
No matter where you are, join Girl Scouts, R&B platinum-selling artist Andra Day, and rap superstar Common to stand up for something you believe in. When you spy the Girl Scout float, take to social media and share what you stand for using #GIRLagenda and #StandUpForSomething.
If you plan to be in New York City on Thanksgiving morning, use this list to make the most of the inspiring celebration. Let’s do this!
Pick a viewing location. A Girl Scout is always prepared! Our map will help you scope out the best views of the parade—don’t forget to get there early. For more parade tips, visit macys.com/social/parade. To watch with your fellow Girl Scout sisters, we will have special meet up locations on the WEST side of Central Park West and 75th Street and WEST side of 6th Avenue and 45th Street.
Bring your SWAPS. What better way to meet new Girl Scout friends than by making SWAPS (Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere) to trade at the parade? In case you didn’t know, SWAPS, an honored Girl Scout tradition, are small, girl-made tokens of friendship exchanged among Girl Scouts who meet while traveling. It’s so much fun!
Visit Girl Scout Headquarters. After your parade adventure, take a stroll up to 37th Street and 5th Avenue to check out Girl Scouts of the USA’s national office at 420 5th Avenue. The building will be closed Thursday, but the Girl Scout sign out front is a great backdrop for a photo op.
Shop your favorite Girl Scout gear. Be one of the first to visit Girl Scout Central, our all-new store, and grab the latest Girl Scout gear or some gifts for your Girl Scout sisters back home—they’ll love it! The shop is located on the bottom floor of the national office and will be open on Black Friday from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM.
Can’t join us in the city? That’s OK! Participate in these four ways from the comfort of your own home.
Tune in! The 91st Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade airs nationwide on NBC on Thursday, November 23, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. across time zones.
Celebrate the Occasion. Don’t forget to visit the Girl Scout Shop to pick up your Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade photo or commemorative patches to remember the event. Plus, the all-new parade float ornament is the perfect way to showcase your Girl Scout pride all holiday season long. Quantities of these special-edition items are limited, so don’t miss out.
Give back to your Girl Scout sisters. This year has been especially difficult—between Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the wildfires ravaging California, many Girl Scouts across the United States have found themselves in challenging situations. This Thanksgiving, while sharing what you are grateful for, take a moment to donate to those in need. And don’t forget to save the date: Girl Scouts of the USA will be joining forces with Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council to host a special Facebook Live on November 28 with more ways to help.
Now that you’re ready to celebrate, don’t forget to follow along on Facebook, Twitter,and Instagram on Thanksgiving Day to catch behind-the-scenes moments from the parade and so much more!
It’s no secret that there are fewer women than men in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields today. In fact, women hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs, despite filling close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy. And women who do hold STEM jobs earn 33 percent more than those in other industries—making the gender wage gap comparatively smaller in STEM fields.
At Girl Scouts, we’re more than ready for a change—and STEM leaders start here, with us. Since our founding in 1912, Girl Scouts has introduced girls of all ages, from five-year-old Daisies to high school Ambassadors, to these important fields to help them see for themselves how they can improve the world using valuable STEM skills.
We are the foremost experts in preparing the next generation of female STEM leaders. Want proof? Girl Scouts are almost twice as likely as non–Girl Scouts to participate in STEM activities (60 percent versus 35 percent), and 77 percent of girls say that because of Girl Scouts, they’re considering a career in technology.
It all starts with a badge. Girl Scouts has more than 35 of them—many introduced earlier this year—that challenge girls to stretch their STEM skills to make the world a better place. And because everything behind our badges is girl-led and girl-approved, we believe each badge can be an important step a girl takes to help close the STEM gender gap once and for all.
Only 1 out of 3 environmental engineers are women.
Meet the Water badge for Girl Scout Ambassadors. With the Water badge, Ambassadors learn innovative ways to find, treat, and conserve this natural resource. Girls can explore the engineering behind dams and water treatment plants and how they help the environment. They might look into hydroelectricity and how they can use it to power the community and address environmental concerns. Or they could get inspired to design their own water filters or initiate rainwater collections to save drinking water. Talk about innovative! Earn this badge.
Meet the Trees badge for Girl Scout Cadettes. Cadettes put their naturalist hats on when earning their Trees badge, digging into the science of trees—from identifying different species on a hike to learning about all the ways we can protect them. Girls make connections between how trees benefit the earth and the people on it, including as components of fuel, medicine, shelter, and more. And as any Girl Scout would, girls use their new tree knowledge to take action in their communities! Earn this badge.
Just 1 in 3 chemists are women.
Meet the Home Scientist badge for Girl Scout Brownies. Thanks to the Home Scientist badge, Brownies can tap into their inner scientist by conducting various (fun!) experiments in their own home. Girls can test density, concoct tasty treats using the principles of science, discover how carbon dioxide reacts with other compounds, marvel at static electricity, and so much more! Get that periodic table ready! Earn this badge.
Roughly 1 out of 10 physicists and astronomers are women.
Meet the Sky badge for Girl Scout Seniors. Seniors are doing more than looking at the night sky when they earn their Sky badge. They’re studying specific stars, constellations, and planets. These girls can learn how telescopes work and how astronomers use them to study the universe. Seniors are also exploring the world of aviation and space missions! How cool is that?! Earn this badge.
Fewer than 1 in 5 women are industrial engineers.
Meet the Inventor badge for Girl Scout Brownies. On their way to earning the Inventor badge, Brownies put their STEM skills to use to solve key problems. After warming up their inventor’s mind, girls come up with a list of problems they see play out every day that they’d like to solve. They then pick one they’re especially passionate about and strategize an innovative solution—drafting designs, presenting their ideas to friends and family, and even building prototypes! Earn this badge.
Fewer than 1 in 4 computer and information scientists are women.
Meet the Website Designer badge for Girl Scout Seniors. What’s awesome about our Website Designer badge is that girls decide what their website will be about. They might elaborate on a favorite hobby, highlight progress on their Girl Scout Gold Award project, create a digital journal—whatever their passion! With this badge, girls can learn to build a website from scratch, program, and create site blueprints and wireframes. They can also dive into web design, learning about fonts, imaging, and more. And once their site launches, girls are tasked with getting the word out about it! Earn this badge.
Just 1 out of 10 electrical or computer hardware engineers are women.
Meet the Robotics badges for Girl Scout Daisies. Through earning these three badges, Daisies learn all about robots, including how they solve problems in STEM fields. Girls brainstorm ways a robot could solve one of their own problems, learn how engineers talk to robots by programming algorithms, and use their new skills to create a robot prototype! Did we mention Daisies start in kindergarten? Now if that’s not impressive… Earn these badges. Less than 8% of mechanical engineers are women.
Meet the Programming Robots badge for Girl Scout Juniors. Juniors put their coding skills to the test when earning their Programming Robots badge. After learning about the intricacies of robots, including the sensors that make up a robot’s “brain,” girls program their own algorithms to instruct robots to move and react in a certain situation. The algorithms are then translated into a special code that girls can test and correct using a device of their choosing. Earn this badge.
In related news, earlier this week we announced a brand new initiative to reduce the gender gap in STEM fields by bringing millions of girls into the STEM pipeline over the next eight years. The Girl Scout STEM Pledge is an initiative that seeks to raise $70 million by 2025, affecting 2.5 million girls. To support the Girl Scout STEM Pledge, visit www.girlscouts.org/STEMpledge.
Studies have predicted that within the next decade, the U.S. workforce will need 1 million more STEM professionals than it can produce. Girl Scouts has already been expanding opportunities for girls to explore STEM and today we announced the Girl Scout STEM Pledge. This groundbreaking national initiative pledge seeks to reduce the STEM gender gap by raising $70 million, impacting 2.5 million girls by 2025.
Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, announced the pledge during Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual gathering and the largest software conference in the world. GSUSA was honored to be selected as a “Trailblazer” and nonprofit of choice at this year’s conference. By selecting the organization, Salesforce acknowledged Girl Scouts’ work in STEM and its ability to transform the lives of millions of girls across the country, in virtually every residential zip code, preparing the next generation of female leaders.
“Girl Scouts has the largest pipeline of future female leaders available, and no place is this more important than in STEM fields,” said Acevedo. “By working with individuals and companies that understand the importance of investing in all girls, we can fundamentally change the STEM pipeline and the future of its workforce. Girl Scouts is the only organization for girls with the expertise and reach to help pave the way for any young girl—no matter if she lives in Middle America or a major city—to break barriers and achieve any dream she may imagine. For millions of girls, this means excelling in STEM—and I’m incredibly proud that the Girl Scout STEM Pledge will make that dream a reality and change the dynamics of women in these exciting fields.”
Our commitment to encouraging girls to discover and excel in STEM fields is already yielding real results: Girl Scouts are almost twice as likely as non–Girl Scouts to participate in STEM activities (60 percent versus 35 percent), and 77 percent of girls say that because of Girl Scouts, they are considering a career in technology.
Calling all troop leaders! Through your dedication to the girls you serve every day, you’ve already shown us that you believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to stand up, speak out, and accomplish amazing things. Help us unleash that power in even more girls today by pledging to add one or more girls to your troop by March 1, 2018—and you’ll qualify to win some fantastic prizes!
Take the pledge between November 1 and November 15, 2017,and tell us how your troop is working to advance the G.I.R.L. Agenda in your community. The agenda is our nationwide initiative to elevate every voice in the advancement of girls’ leadership and status in the world. By pledging to add at least one new girl to your troop, you’ll help even more girls spark positive change through civic action!
Taking the pledge is easy:
Upload an image of your trailblazing troop.
Take the pledge.
Share how your troop is advancing the G.I.R.L. Agenda.
Start recruiting girls for your troop.
What Your Troop Can Win
Once the pledge closes, 600 prize winners will be randomly selected to receive a FREE limited-edition G.I.R.L. Agenda patch for their troop. In addition, four grand prize winners will be randomly selected to have GSUSA share their story on Facebook (on Thanksgiving!), as well as receive the patch for their troop. SWEET!
Pledges must be submitted by November 15, 2017 by an adult 18 or over. One entry per troop. See the official rules for full details.
Need Help Recruiting Girls for Your Troop?
Don’t sweat it—we’ll give you the tools to make it happen. Once you complete the pledge, check your email inbox for some articles and resources you can share with your friends and family to introduce them to the power of Girl Scouting, and spread the word that you’re looking for more girls to join your troop!
Still have questions? Review our FAQ for more information.
I recently had an amazing Girl Scout experience that I want to share. I knew that going to National Convention as a delegate would be exciting, but I had no idea that it would change the way I look at Girl Scouting. I have returned from Ohio more motivated than ever before, and want to encourage you to share my energy. Even more importantly, I want to convince all Girl Scouts to attend a National Convention themselves.
I am a Mountain Communities Trainer and also teach the Program Aid course. I am a strong advocate of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) and enjoy opportunities to teach others. I’ve worked with so many talented Girl Scouts, but I was blown away by the girls chosen as national delegates. The girl delegates were active in giving opinions on our voting topics. They were thoughtful, insightful, passionate, and persuasive. However, when the discussion topic of how to get more girls into Girl Scouting and keep them, they were incredible. These young women had talked with other girls and shared their stories. They had concerns about diversity, funding, and leadership. They expressed that while many girls are tired of Journeys, others really like them. They presented original ideas that made everyone in the room think, “Wow, why aren’t we doing that?”
I want to encourage all of you to return to your troops and let the girls take the reins. It takes a bit of encouragement to get them on the leadership path, but I’ve seen what can happen when they succeed. I can only hope that my daughter becomes half as successful and amazing as the young women chosen to represent their councils.
I had a meeting with my friend and mentor, Nancy Mucklow, who encouraged me to apply to be a delegate. She wants to plan some big Girl Scout travel, and I virtually doubled her list. Did you know that there is a petition to name the bridge over the Savannah River in Savannah, Georgia the Juliette Gordon Low Bridge? When I told my troop about a chance to participate in their bridging ceremony, their eyes lit up and I think they started their packing list in their heads. I was unaware that Girl Scouts has a camp in Minnesota that does Boundary Waters canoe trips, and the cost is so low it’s staggering. You can go as a large group, an individual, or even a family. I was thrilled to find out that this high adventure trip is affordable and am starting to look at dates. I hope that I can encourage others to join me. I also learned a great deal more about the different world centers and Nancy is starting our travel plans for 2019 – I can’t wait!
The Hall of Experiences was just amazing. I learned information that I never realized existed. It had activities for the girls, from crafts, to the local science museum, to NASA. We were especially impressed with one gentleman at the NASA booth. Not only did he tell us about current science and demonstrate thrilling technology, he gave out important advice about high school and college classes to focus on and emphasized the importance of earning your Gold Award before applying for colleges. My favorite part of our conversation though, was about his daughter’s troop that he leads. We talked with our first colleges, and the advisors there taught my daughter the important questions she should be asking. They talked to her, not me. They asked her the important questions and helped her narrow down her scattered thoughts. I’m grateful for their approach in helping my daughter start her college search.
The breakout sessions were so informative and fun. My daughter attended the girl only yoga and self-defense class. She was very excited to prove herself to the self-defense instructor. She was told to hit the instructor if attacked. When the instructor snuck up on my daughters back and grabbed her hand, my daughter turned and hit her. The instructor was so thrilled that it was caught on video and she posed together yelling YEAH! While she was beating up adults, I attended a bullying seminar. While this was not normally not my thing, I was extremely impressed and inspired. The speaker had a different way of looking at the topic, and I can’t wait to share what I learned.
The inspirational speakers and videos were simply phenomenal. Coming from a family of gymnasts, hearing Gabby Douglas speak was thrilling. Chelsea Clinton was a joy and we just loved her discussion with the Young Women of Distinction about their Gold Awards. The psychologist that spoke was simply amazing. I am still discussing her theories with my daughter. However, in my opinion, the best speaker of the Convention was our very own CEO, Sylvia Acevedo. The way she could engage every person in the audience, regardless of their age was so wonderful. She loved getting all of us to stand up, dance and celebrate Girl Scouting together. If her speaking skills weren’t enough, she also took the time to talk with anyone who wanted her ear and smile for hundreds of selfies. If you have never heard amazing woman speak, I encourage you to seek her out.
The point that I want to stress is that National Convention is just so much more than just a convention. It’s a lifetime experience. I met people who have been attending National Convention since the 80’s. I was inspired by one woman who brings her granddaughters to every National Convention. I find this idea compelling and hope to someday be able to follow in this woman’s footsteps. Did I forget to talk about SWAPS? Just imagine bringing 250 swaps representing our great state and trading with Girl Scouts from around the country – and the world!
When I returned from convention, I was simply exhausted. There were so many fun and interesting things going on that we averaged about five and a half hours of sleep a night. The most amazing part of the convention started after I got home and got a real eight hours of sleep. I have ideas. I have plans. I am motivated. I see how my local troop and my volunteer efforts fit into Girl Scouts around the country. I want to see Girl Scouts of Colorado become a leader in our amazing national organization. I want to see more Girl Scouts, young and old, attend national conventions and come home as inspired as me. I want you to join me at the next national convention in 2020 in Orlando, Florida!
Juliette Gordon Low’s desire to make the world a better place was evident early in her life. When she was just 16, she convinced her cousins to start the Helping Hands Club with her, to make clothing for families who had recently immigrated to the U.S. This was Juliette’s first foray into civic action, organizing in the community, and inspiring girls to take the lead for the greater good.
Fast forward to 1912, when Juliette, affectionately known as “Daisy” by her family and close friends, gathered 18 girls in her hometown of Savannah, Georgia, to share what she’d learned abroad about a new outdoor and educational program for youth. With this, the first Girl Scout troop was formed—and the Girl Scout Movement was born to serve all girls nationwide.
Our earliest Girl Scouts, along with our pioneering founder, blazed trails and redefined what was possible for themselves and for girls everywhere. And ever since, Girl Scouts has provided girls with transformative experiences that set them up to lead in their own lives and the world. Because of Girl Scouts, millions of G.I.R.L.s (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ have been prepared for a lifetime of leadership—from hiking under the stars to accepting a mission to the International Space Station; from lobbying the city council with their troop to holding a seat in Congress; from running their own cookie business to tackling cybersecurity.
Here are three things you can do to honor Juliette Gordon Low and her remarkable legacy on Founder’s Day:
Proudly shout out what Girl Scouts has done for you! Share your story on social using #becauseofGirlScouts—and be sure to tag @girlscouts on Instagram and Twitter. You might even be included in our collection of #becauseofGirlScouts stories.
Elevate the legacy of Girl Scouts’ founder—sign our petition to support renaming the Talmadge Memorial Bridge in Savannah after Juliette Gordon Low. There are so many reasons this iconic bridge should honor our go-getting founder!
Share your #GIRLagenda by posting on the civic issues and causes you’re passionate about and taking action to impact—in the process, you’ll motivate others to act, as you honor our founder and shared mission to make the world a better place. Need a little inspiration? Tips for leading positive change through civic action? Check out our G.I.R.L. Agenda resources, which include materials for girls ages 5–17—and adults, too!
Ever since the first Girl Scout troop was formed more than 100 years ago, Girl Scouts has provided girls with transformative experiences. Because of Girl Scouts, millions of G.I.R.L.s (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ have been prepared for a lifetime of leadership—from hiking under the stars to accepting a mission to the International Space Station; from lobbying the city council with their troop to holding a seat in Congress; from running their own cookie business to tackling cybersecurity.
Our girls are big thinkers, groundbreakers, and role models with access to plenty of unique girl-led experiences—yes, because of Girl Scouts.
We want to know what Girl Scouts has done for you! Share your story on social media using #becauseofGirlScouts—and be sure to tag @GSColo and @girlscouts on Instagram and Twitter!
What’s even more fun than a new year of Girl Scouts? Welcoming new girls to your troop! After all, new members bring fresh ideas, different ways of looking at things, and excitement that can spark creativity and energize everyone. Plus, introducing new friends to Girl Scouting allows existing members to flex their leadership skills and build confidence. Basically, everybody wins!
Though you may already be a few months into the new school year, it’s still the perfect time to get more girls involved in your troop’s adventures. Get ready to recruit some fresh faces with these tried-and-true tips from Marissa Vessels, who writes for Girl Scouts of Northern California’s blog The Trailhead:
1. Host a Bring-a-Friend meeting.
It’s common that your girls might want to invite their friends to troop meetings to see what Girl Scouts is all about! So lean into your girls’ natural desire to be social and host a special “Bring-a-Friend” meeting for your troop (or just designate certain meetings throughout the year as being open for friends).
When hosting a Bring-a-Friend meeting, it’s important that the meeting is authentic to your troop’s Girl Scout experience. If your troop is full of outdoor adventurers, a meeting filled with crafts and games may not be the best way to attract the girls that are right for your group. And if your girls are a little more on the low-key side, your troop trip to a theme park might not be the right event for potential new Girl Scouts to experience. Instead, plan a meeting that will allow for lots of interaction between the girls, down time for you to talk to the potential new parents, and a fun activity that is true to your troop’s interests.
2. Add your troop to the Opportunity Catalog.
Did you know that there are thousands of girls all over the country waiting to find the perfect troop, and likely hundreds right in your area? We need to do our part to help these girls find their homes in Girl Scouts! Many councils have a troop Opportunity Catalog—an online listing that provides detailed information about the troops in your area that have open spots available. The troop catalog is the perfect opportunity to tell new members about what your troop likes to do and what makes you, you. You’ll fill in all of the details about the age levels of your girls, when you meet, and what kinds of activities you enjoy, which will help new Girl Scouts and volunteers find their perfect match. Check with your council on how to make sure you’re there.
3. Have your girls rock their Girl Scout swag on meeting days (and share their Girl Scout story).
No matter how old your girls are, wearing their uniforms or other Girl Scout logo merchandise out and about is a powerful way to recruit new members for your troop. Not only are these items symbols of pride, they tell a story of girls’ unique experiences—the skills they’ve learned, the adventures they’ve gone on—and it’s hard for friends not to ask about it. Encourage your girls to don their Girl Scout duds at school, back-to-school night, and out in the community on days that they have Girl Scout events to attend, and you’re sure to pique interest.
4. Invite your friends and their girls to attend Service Unit or Council events with you.
There’s something magical about the Girl Scout sisterhood, isn’t there? So what better way to recruit new members than to invite your friends and their girls to join along for a service unit or council event to get a taste of the wider Girl Scout community! From building robots to singing songs around the campfire, there are opportunities for every girl in Girl Scouts, no matter what her interests are.
Whether we’re environmental champions, budding entrepreneurs, or passionate about changing the world, the next opportunity to stand up, speak up, and take the lead is never far away. So round up your favorite friends and invite them to see why Girl Scouts is the best place for their girls to grow into the confident, courageous, and strong women of tomorrow, today. (Seriously, what parent can say no to that?)
5. Hand out physical invitations for girls to share with their friends.
Your girls are by far your best recruiters. Make it easy for their friends to join in on the fun by giving out a handful of physical invitations for your girls to pass out at school, in the community, clubs, church, sports practice, dance classes, back-to-school night, student government meetings, and, well, you get the idea!
Your invitation should include space for your girl to write her name, her friend’s name, meeting details (date, time, and location), and your troop leader’s contact information.
I was a delegate at G.I.R.L. 2017, the 54th National Girl Scout Convention, after being selected by the GSCO Board of Directors. Having never been a delegate for Girl Scouts before, I was both excited and anxious. In the weeks leading up to the event, we learned more and more about the Council session that we would be participating, debating, and eventually voting in. We learned more about parliamentary procedure and the proposals we would be voting on. The National Council convenes every three years and its responsibilities are to:
• Elect the officers and the other members of the National Board and the National Board Development Committee
• Amend the Girl Scout constitution as needed
• Establish requirements for certificates of membership, council charters, and all other credentials
• Act of proposals to foster and improve Girl Scouting, receive reports of the National Board of Directors, and give guidance to the National Board upon general lines of direction of the Girl Scout Movement and Girl Scout program
This triennium, we had a total of 1,058 voting members in attendance at the National Council Session in Columbus, Ohio. This included 13 delegates from Colorado! Our delegates included GSCO Board President RaeAnn Dougherty, President & CEO Stephanie Foote, and MCC President Caroline Cornell, among other volunteers and myself representing many areas of our state.
The most interesting part of the National Council session to me was watching and participating in a meeting utilizing parliamentary procedure. It was incredibly fascinating watching the tradition of this regimented way of conducting business in action! So many of the girl delegates from around the nation stood up and made dazzling, brilliant statements presenting their ideas to the entire group. They were shining examples of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and all that our movement exists for.
As part of service on the delegation, we had to attend webinars and learn about the proposals and why the National Board was recommending them. Then, at the meeting, we all had the opportunity to debate why we were for or against the changes and could even make amendments to the proposal. Then, we could debate the amendment, vote on it, and then move forward. We did this for each of the three proposals – it was a long, but very interesting and engaging day. One of the proposals that passed that I think will be most impactful for our membership is the change and adoption of the Lifetime membership fee to $400 and then offering a discount to our young alumnae of $200. For more information on this update, please contact our Customer Support Team by sending an email to: email@example.com
The delegation also elected the National Board. According to Monica Gil, Chair of the National Board Development Committee (NBDC), “The NBDC engaged in a yearlong process to identify, recruit and cultivate talent. They received nearly 200 candidate referrals from across the Movement. They sought individuals who understand Girl Scouts and how to expand our efforts to a national scale, and who are deeply invested in girls’ success.”
As delegates, we were provided bios of the proposed members. I was impressed with the candidates! They are all successful, well-educated, and have a ton of experience to bring to the National Board. Many of them are Girl Scouts or are Lifetime Girl Scouts and all that we got to hear from were dynamic speakers! They all have a sincere interest in the success of our Girl Scout movement. During our time at Convention, I was honored to have the chance to speak with several of these board members, including one that represents our region, Debbie Nielson from Ogden, Utah. She really listened to what I had to say and was very interested in our thoughts on the debates we had been engaged in during the National Council Session.
When it came time to talk about the discussion topics that were sent out ahead of time, it was very reassuring to hear many of our own volunteers’ thoughts being expressed by other councils as well. The question was, “What does Girl Scouts need to do to reach more girls and increase impact?” They gave us some great research based facts about the “Girl Scout Difference” and how our demographic, social, and economic changes will be impacting girls in the future. We heard a lot of ideas about reaching ALL girls and making sure we continue to be all-inclusive. Girls brought up ideas on keeping our older girls engaged and bringing back some of our more historical life-skills badges. Per the GSUSA constitution —
“RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE MOVEMENT AND THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS The ultimate responsibility for the Girl Scout Movement rests with its members. We govern by an efficient and effective democratic process that demonstrates our leadership in a fast-changing world.”
It is my belief that we need to spend the next two years getting engaged with our membership here in Colorado. Let’s talk to our fellow volunteers, girls, and staff members about how we can continue to support Girl Scouting here in Colorado. How can we engage and improve our program for girls? Can we work with other programs and organizations to reach more girls? How can we support our valuable volunteers and retain them so girls in Colorado are encouraged and supported as well? Older girls are important to GSCO, how can we continue to engage these girls and keep them interested? How can our story be heard by others outside of Girl Scouts so that everyone knows how impactful our program is? Each and every one of the 33, 000 girl and adult members we have in Colorado has a role to play in this. The question is, what role is it? How can you help? I am excited to hear what you think! Please contact your service unit managers, volunteer support specialists, or any of the delegates that went to this year’s convention. I can’t wait to see what we do and can bring to the next national council session in 2020 in Orlando, FL!
Allison Ellington is a volunteer support specialist in the Western Colorado region. She has been with GSCO for four years and a Girl Scout for nearly 15 years. She is an innovator that loves to brainstorm and think outside the box!
Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) recently launched the G.I.R.L. Agenda Powered by Girl Scouts, a nonpartisan initiative to inspire, prepare, and mobilize girls and those who care about them to lead positive change through civic action. The multiyear effort celebrates the Girl Scout legacy of civic engagement, and for the first time ever, we’re sharing these free, expert-curated resources beyond our 2.6 million members so we can reach as many girls as possible. The materials are derived from renowned Girl Scout programming that has driven generations of girls over the past century to become leaders.
Although the initiative is new, encouraging girls to speak up and advocate for the issues and ideas important to them is not. In fact, even before women could vote in the United States, Girl Scouts could earn the Citizen badge by displaying their knowledge of government and how to get involved!
As part of the initiative, we’ve introduced the new Good Neighbor badge for Daisies (girls in grades K–1). This badge joins a lineup of existing Citizen badges—Celebrating Community, Inside Government, Finding Common Ground, Behind the Ballot, and Public Policy—that engage girls in age-appropriate activities involving community service, public policy, government, voting, and more. Over time, the badges build girls’ knowledge of local and global communities and show them how their actions as citizens make the world better for everyone.
Check out a breakdown of all the new Citizen badges below.
Good Neighbor: With this brand-new badge, Daisies will explore the communities they belong to—from their roles as Daisies in Girl Scouts to their place as residents of their town. They’ll also learn how people work together to be good neighbors to one another.
Celebrating Community: Brownies who earn this badge will discover how communities celebrate their unique qualities and how supporting the people within communities can mean everything from looking for landmarks to marching in a parade. Girls will learn how their communities honor and observe their special traits as they celebrate their traditions.
Inside Government: Citizens are responsible for knowing the basics of government. To earn this badge, Juniors will go beyond the voting booth and inside government by examining laws, reporting on issues, and deciding what it means to be an active citizen. Cadettes
Finding Common Ground: Cadettes will explore the challenges of finding common ground with those who have different opinions. Elected leaders often need to make compromises, so girls will investigate how negotiations happen by learning about civil debate, accommodations, mediation, and group decision making.
Behind the Ballot: Making your voice heard through voting is both a right and a responsibility, whether you’re voting for class president or our nation’s leaders. Seniors will learn about elections, investigate the ins and outs of voting, and help get out the vote.
Public Policy: Ambassadors have already learned about the need to speak up about issues important to them, but by taking the next step and exploring public policy, they’ll dive deeper into the laws and government actions surrounding specific issues. Through advocacy, learning about public policy on a local or state level, and action, Ambassadors will learn firsthand how citizens can change the world.
By earning these badges in an all-girl, girl-led environment, girls build the confidence they need to become the civic-minded leaders of tomorrow.