Girl Scouts Programs Provide Life Skills and Leadership Lessons
Many young women navigate their way through the Girl Scouts program. Girls start their journey as Daisies and finish as Ambassadors, while learning leadership skills to use throughout their lives. As adults, former Girl Scouts look back on their time in the program with fondness, but the program they entered is different than the program of today.
“The Girl Scouts have been around since 1912,” says Katie Dawson, communications manager for Girl Scouts of Central Indiana. “Throughout our history, we’ve prepared girls for a lifetime of leadership. Now we’re focusing on a no-limits approach designed for and by the girls themselves.”
While Girl Scouts may be synonymous with cookies, the programs focus on more than just selling the iconic treats.
“We focus on four areas where girls can gain skills and leadership – STEM, outdoors, life skills and entrepreneurship,” Dawson says. “It’s a collection of engaging, challenging and fun activities like badge earning, attending awesome trips, exploring science, getting outdoors and doing service projects. These activities set up girls for a lifetime of success.”
Cookie sales do more than just teach girls how to be salespeople.
“The cookie program teaches amazing entrepreneur skills, but it also teaches money management skills and business ethics,” Dawson says.
Young women are taught life skills, starting in civic engagement.
“Recently, we started badges in democracy,” Dawson says. “Girls can learn about their local, state and federal government, as well as how they can serve as change-makers in their communities. They learn about how to run for elected office and to explore all sides of an issue in a healthy debate.”
The goal is for girls to learn positive values they can utilize throughout their lives.
“A recent study showed more than one in three women in the U.S. are or were Girl Scouts at some point in their lives,” Dawson says. “It connects them with a huge network of girls and women around the world that helped develop their passions and interests.”
As girls age through the program, they climb the ranks working toward the Gold Award.
“The Girl Scout Gold Award is for our Seniors and Ambassadors, who are girls in high school,” Dawson says. “They’re able to take on issues that matter to them and make a lasting difference in their communities. They must complete 80 hours of work on a project that will continue to help their community after it’s completed. We’ve had girls do things like collecting phones for domestic violence survivors. Girls have set up gardens in their community that will last for years. We’ve had girls who have designed and helped build playgrounds for their local schools. It’s something the girls can take that is important to them.”
Girl Scouts groups are always looking for volunteers to support the girls as they develop into young women.
“We’re looking for volunteers to help guide the girls through their leadership experience,” Dawson says. “We need people who are willing to stand up for a better tomorrow for the girls.”
Programs are offered in-person and virtually. Those interested can sign up by visiting girlscouts.org.