Did you know there are five Legacy Athletic badges? With these badges, girls learn how to be a valuable member of a team by becoming familiar with the rules of the game and how to play so that everyone feels included. The take away is that girls learn what it takes to be a part of a team and support others on and off the field.
These badges connect girls to health, leadership, learning, and teamwork through sports. While having fun, staying active and leading a healthy lifestyle, girls earn five age-appropriate athlete badges that teach them about fair play, practicing with a purpose, good sportsmanship, cross-training, and coaching.
Fair Play – Brownie
Playing fair means that everyone has the same chance to play, because everyone follows the same rules. That’s what this badge is about. You’ll learn to work together to have the most fun possible. That’s fair play!
Practice with Purpose – Junior
Even the best athletes weren’t born great at sports: They had to practice with purpose. Have fun with these activities as you learn to improve a skill—no matter what track, court, rink, pool, slope, or field you like to play on. Game on!
Good Sportsmanship– Cadette
It’s good to be an athlete, but the greatest athletes agree it’s just as important to be a good sport. When you make good sportsmanship a habit in games and in life, others want to play with you, hang out with you, and generally live up to your example. So whether you’re a dedicated athlete with a chosen sport or you just like to enjoy an occasional game among friends, this badge will help you have more fun on the field—and off.
Cross-Training – Senior
Whether you’re a competitive athlete, new to exercise, or want to improve your skills in surfing, hiking, or even throwing a Frisbee, this badge will help you customize a cross-training fitness program that’s effective and, most important, fun! The idea of cross-training is to incorporate a variety of cardio, strength, and conditioning exercises into a routine that trains your whole body. Grab your sweatband, and create a plan that’s perfect for your body, mind, and goals.
Coaching – Ambassador
What does it take to motivate a team to accomplish its goals? The best coaches put their answers into action at every practice. In this badge, find your answers and share them! Coaching is an opportunity to share your love of a sport, demonstrate your athletic skills, and to inspire and empower athletes to realize their potential.
Over 160,000 Girl Scouts participate in STEM programs annually, and a majority of
councils offer their members more than ten STEM programs each year.
These programs serve to engage young women in STEM topics and scientific reasoning, and allow them to apply concepts learned in school in new ways. When situated within the context of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE), these programs also afford girls the opportunity to combine STEM learning with leadership development, growth mindset development, and other socially desirable skills in a flexible, informal environment that supports student-driven exploration and experimentation. While the content and intensity of STEM programs vary, they are often developed with the same impact goals in mind—increasing girls’ interest in STEM, increasing girls’ confidence in their STEM-related abilities, educating girls about STEM careers, and exposing girls to STEM professionals, to name a few.
Though these outcomes are often considered “soft” and less valuable than academic performance goals, research has found that factors such as STEM interest and perceptions of relevance of STEM to one’s life provide the necessary foundation for successful STEM learning and careers.
How Girl Scout STEM Programs Benefit Girls is a collection of findings from evaluations of nationally funded Girl Scout STEM programs conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) from 2010 to 2015. These findings illustrate just some of the benefits to girls when they participate in STEM programming through Girl Scouts, particularly in relation to the social and emotional impact goals described above.
The Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) is built on three core implementation strategies, or processes, that support girls’ leadership development: girl led, cooperative
learning, and learning by doing. Research by the GSRI has shown that program engagement through the processes is strongly associated with achievement of key leadership skills and academic outcomes. The hands-on and inquiry-based nature of STEM disciplines make them a natural fit with the GSLE, and our evaluation
research shows that Girl Scout STEM programs rely significantly on these practices and consider them important program components.
Girls engage in cooperative learning as they work together to solve problems. Girls work with one another, as well as their adult leaders, to conduct experiments and plan and implement projects in Girl Scout STEM programs. Girls in the Imagine Your STEM Future program indicated that they learn by working with other girls (70%) and work with others to learn things I would not be able to do on my own (66% & 81%), while 84 percent of girls who participated in the evaluation of GSUSA’s 2012-2013 Robotics program achieved the Cooperation and Team Building GSLE outcome.
Girls lead their own explorations in Girl Scout STEM programs. A majority of girls in STEM programs agree that they have many opportunities to decide what we do and how we do it (66% & 81%) and that they have more of a say than they do in other
programs (74% & 72%). Girls in Imagine Your STEM Future have the opportunity to drive their own learning—74 percent of them agreed that in this program, we learn more by doing things ourselves than by being told things by an adult.
Girls take on leadership roles more often and in different contexts. Eighty-one percent of robotics evaluation participants agreed that because of Girl Scouts, I’ve been a leader in more activities with friends, class or community, and 86 percent of evaluation participants from GSUSA’s Journey and Connect Through Technology program agreed that Girl Scouts prepared me to be a leader.
Girls are most satisfied with program components that manifest the Girl Scout processes. Robotics participants consider working with others on a team (77%) and building things with their hands (73%) the most important components of their STEM programs.
Girls receive support and inspiration from STEM professionals. Adults help girls learn about the program content and serve as role models, providing real-life insights into how girls can prepare for successful careers in STEM. The Imagine Your STEM Future program, for instance, integrates career presentations by working STEM professionals into the series and many councils partner with local colleges and universities to provide girls with opportunities to visit campuses and meet with scientists and their students. More than three-quarters (83% & 91%) of Imagine participants agreed to some extent that in Imagine, there is at least one adult who has helped me think about my future.
Adult leaders provide emotional support by making girls feel valued. A majority of girls across programs consistently agree that in their STEM program there is at least one adult who makes me feel like I am valuable (82–93%), and that those adults listen to girls more than they do in other places (67–87%).
Girls learn about STEM careers and professions. Girl Scout STEM programs place a strong emphasis on introducing girls to STEM careers, demonstrating what STEM professionals, such as engineers and scientists, do in their work and how they do it. These programs also offer the opportunity to meet successful female STEM professionals which, in turn, helps girls understand what opportunities are open to them with hard work and a strong STEM education, and to visualize themselves in similar careers.
Learn more about the Girl Scout Research Institute’s report on the benefits of girls in STEM programs.
Contributed by Lauren Wallace and The Girl Scout Research Institute
Every day around the country, Girl Scout Juniors go Bronze, completing incredible service projects that help make their communities and the world a better place. The Bronze Award is the highest honor Girl Scouts in grades four and five can earn. Their daring efforts show just how much it means to them—because going Bronze isn’t really about winning an award, but about changing others’ lives and inspiring others to do the same.
Here is a great example of how a Kentucky’s Wilderness Road Girl Scout is making big things happen our community.
Addison Hill of troop 1035 in Garrard County, Kentucky completed her Bronze Award this year by improving the walking trails at Girl Scout Camp Shawano. Addison noticed during one of her stays at the camp that the trails needed to be cleaned up and accurately marked, so she took it upon herself to develop a plan and assemble a cleanup team. With the help of fellow Girl Scout, Kayma Galloway, and many adult helpers, Addison was able to successfully clear the trails and mark them with creative signage.
Addison and Kayma also used an app called Map My Run and images from Google Earth in order to gain knowledge of the distance of the trails, and create a more accurate map of Camp Shawano.
Not only did Addison provide an amazing service to her community, she discovered that, “pushing myself to always do my best is better than only doing the minimal requirements to complete as task of project.” She also discovered that she really enjoyed working as part of a team in order to accomplish her goals.
We are very proud to have Addison Hill, and her teammate Kayma Galloway, represent our Council as leaders in our community. Congratulations Addison Hill for completing your Bronze Award Project, and being a 2018 Bronze Award recipient.
In a time when politics are extremely contentious, your girl might be anxious, scared, or just have questions about what she’s seeing and hearing, and as a parent you want to help. So where do you start?
“Now more than ever, we have to stand together as one people, one nation—regardless of our opinions, race, religion or beliefs, gender, who we love, what language we speak, or where we come from,” says Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist, Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald. “But unity doesn’t mean abandoning the things that make us different from one another, and it doesn’t mean standing by or looking the other way in the face of bigotry and hatred. Real unity is what you get when a lot of very diverse people come together to form one complex yet seamless whole. It’s about equality, inclusiveness, and dignity—values I think we as parents all hope to instill in our children.”
Your inclination might be to avoid the topic, but it’s incredibly important to take her concerns seriously. Address them in an age-appropriate way. It’s even okay to share that you’re feeling uncertain as well—both adults and kids often do during times of transition and change.
Moving forward together takes leadership, and not just from one person. We all have a role to play. Here are a few ways you and your girl can lead:
1. Practice Empathy and Promote Inclusion Because of who you are, what you look like, where you come from, and what you believe, you might not have a problem being accepted in your town or community. But that’s not true for everyone. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes—perhaps the neighbor who practices a religion different from yours or the new girl at your girl’s school who moved here from a different country. Are they made to feel welcome in your community? Do they have the same sense of belonging that you do? If you don’t think so or aren’t sure, reach out in kindness. Encourage your daughter to invite a classmate who gets picked on to eat with her at lunch. Knock on your neighbor’s door and invite them to an upcoming block party or holiday event. It’s about being big-hearted, and it’s easier than you might think.
2. Be a Friend or Advocate to Those Who Need One
You or your girl might feel alone in wanting to bring people together, but chances are, there are many people around you who feel the same. So be brave and challenge yourself to speak up when you witness an act of injustice or hear people speaking disrespectfully of others. Let your girl see you doing so. Chances are, once you’ve vocally supported what’s right, others will quiet or perhaps even join you in speaking up. And you’ll feel good about having stood up for your beliefs.
3. Sign Up to Help Everyday acts of kindness go a long way toward making unity a reality, but there’s a lot more we can do. With your girl, find an organization that supports the rights and wellbeing of a group that might be marginalized. Donating money is a great way to contribute if your family has room in the budget—but giving your time and presence can be just as, if not more, meaningful. It’s also a tangible demonstration of your values to your daughter. You and your girl will feel empowered knowing you’re supporting change and addressing a crucial need, with the added pluses of making new friends and learning about your community. And the group you volunteer with will certainly appreciate having you on its team.
4. Don’t Get Discouraged Remember, doing the right thing is rarely synonymous with doing the easy thing, and taking a stand for unity will be hard at times. There are people who feel threatened by those who are different from themselves. There are individuals who think only their way matters, or that some people should be valued over others. Tell your girl that it’s absolutely okay and understandable to feel fearful, anxious, and sad when faced with hateful, exclusionary language and ideas. Those emotions are what make us human, and she shouldn’t be embarrassed to let people know she’s feeling them.
Encourage your girl to own her feelings and channel them into courageous and compassionate action—for action, both small and large, brings real change. Remind her how much courage her favorite heroines from books and movies had to have in order to create a better world. For example, in Harry Potter Hermione was afraid—the Death Eaters specifically hated people like her—but even in the darkest of times, she never stopped fighting for others who were also being treated badly. If your girl needs a little motivational boost, pick a book or movie to share with her that demonstrates the everyday or historic courage and heroism of its characters. Seeing how others have overcome challenges will help your daughter see that she can do the same.
While none of us can snap our fingers to create instant unity, we can—we must—take action and stand together for what’s right. It will take time and a lot of work to bring people together, but we can and must start today. Small changes and gestures add up, bridging divides and strengthening communities.
We all have voices, and now is the time for us to raise them—together.
For more than 100 years, Girl Scouts and their enthusiastic supporters have helped ensure the success of the iconic annual cookie sale—and they’ve had fun, developed valuable life skills, and made their communities a better place every step of the way.
Girl Scout Cookies had their earliest beginnings in the kitchens and ovens of our girl members, with moms volunteering as technical advisers. The sale of cookies as a way to finance troop activities began as early as 1917, five years after Juliette Gordon Low started Girl Scouts in the United States, when the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project.
In July 1922, The American Girl magazine, published by Girl Scouts of the USA, featured an article by Florence E. Neil, a local director in Chicago, Illinois. Miss Neil provided a cookie recipe that had been given to the council’s 2,000 Girl Scouts. She estimated the approximate cost of ingredients for six- to seven-dozen cookies to be 26 to 36 cents. The cookies, she suggested, could be sold by troops for 25 or 30 cents per dozen.
Throughout the decade, Girl Scouts in different parts of the country continued to bake their own simple sugar cookies with their mothers and with help from the community. These cookies were packaged in wax paper bags, sealed with a sticker, and sold door to door for 25 to 35 cents per dozen.
In 1933, Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia Council baked cookies and sold them in the city’s gas and electric company windows. The price was just 23 cents per box of 44 cookies, or six boxes for $1.24! Girls developed their marketing and business skills and raised funds for their local Girl Scout council. A year later, Greater Philadelphia took cookie sales to the next level, becoming the first council to sell commercially baked cookies.
In 1935, the Girl Scout Federation of Greater New York raised money through the sale of commercially baked cookies. Buying its own die in the shape of a trefoil, the group used the words “Girl Scout Cookies” on the box. In 1936, the national Girl Scout organization began the process of licensing the first commercial bakers to produce cookies that would be sold nationwide by girls in Girl Scout councils.
Enthusiasm for Girl Scout Cookies spread nationwide. By 1937, more than 125 Girl Scout councils reported holding cookie sales.
Girl Scout Cookies were sold by local councils around the country until World War II, when sugar, flour, and butter shortages led Girl Scouts to pivot, selling the first Girl Scout calendars in 1944 as an alternative to raise money for activities.
After the war, cookie sales increased, and by 1948, a total of 29 bakers were licensed to bake Girl Scout Cookies.
In 1951, Girl Scout Cookies came in three varieties: Sandwich, Shortbread, and Chocolate Mints (now known as Thin Mints). With the advent of the suburbs, girls at tables in shopping malls began selling Girl Scout Cookies.
Five years later, flavors had evolved. Girl Scouts sold four basic types of cookies: a vanilla-based filled cookie, a chocolate-based filled one, shortbread, and a chocolate mint. Some bakers also offered another optional flavor.
By 1966, a number of varieties were available. Among the best sellers were Chocolate Mint (now known as Thin Mints), Shortbread, and Peanut Butter Sandwich cookies.
In 1978, the number of bakers was streamlined to four to ensure lower prices and uniform quality, packaging, and distribution. For the first time in history, all cookie boxes—regardless of the baker—featured the same designs and depicted scenes of Girl Scouts in action, including hiking and canoeing. And in 1979, the brand-new, Saul Bass–created Girl Scout logo appeared on cookie boxes, which became even more creative and began promoting the benefits of Girl Scouting.
Girl Scout Cookies for sale during the 1970s included Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos®, and Shortbread/Trefoils® cookies, plus four additional choices.
In 1982, four bakers still produced a maximum of seven varieties of cookies—three mandatory (Thin Mint®, Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos®, and Shortbread/Trefoils®) and four optional. Cookie boxes depicted scenes of Girl Scouts in action.
In the early 1990s, two licensed bakers supplied local Girl Scout councils with cookies for girls to sell, and by 1998, this number had grown again to three. Eight cookie varieties were available, including low-fat and sugar-free selections.
GSUSA also introduced official age-appropriate awards for Girl Scout Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, and Seniors, including the Cookie Activity pin, which was awarded for participating in the cookie sale.
Early in the twenty-first century, every Girl Scout Cookie had a mission. New cookie box designs, introduced in fall of 2000, were bold and bright, capturing the spirit of Girl Scouting. Two licensed bakers produced a maximum of eight varieties, including three that were mandatory (Thin Mints®, Peanut Butter Sandwich/Do-si-dos®, and Shortbread/Trefoils®). All cookies were kosher. And, much to the excitement of our youngest Girl Scouts, Daisies started selling cookies!
With the announcement of National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend (the next one is February 23–25, 2018) and the introduction of our very first gluten-free Girl Scout Cookie, the decade was off to a big start. But the really big news was the launch of the Digital Cookie® platform in 2014. A fun, safe, and interactive space for girls to sell cookies, Digital Cookie takes the iconic cookie program digital and introduces Girl Scouts to vital 21st century lessons about online marketing, app usage, and ecommerce. But most importantly, Digital Cookie retains the one-to-one personal approach to selling that is essential to the success of the program and the girls who participate.
Who can forget the amazing moment in 2016 when Girl Scouts took the stage at the Academy Awards to sell cookies to Hollywood’s A-list? It was a stellar beginning to the nationwide celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts selling cookies. The centennial festivities continued with the introduction of Girl Scout S’mores™. Paying homage to an iconic Girl Scout outdoor tradition— Girl Scout S’mores quickly became the most popular new cookies to launch in our history. As the largest entrepreneurial program for girls in the world, the Girl Scout Cookie Program is powering the next century of girl entrepreneurs toward greatness.
For more cookie fun, take a look at these vintage Girl Scout Cookie TV commercials!
Want to make sure the girls in your life know they can do and be anything they want? Then it’s time to flex some muscle and start busting gender stereotypes! Girl Scouts’ Developmental Psychologist Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Ph.D. puts it this way: “Kids have this amazing, natural ability to see the world as limitless, but when adults signal that certain things or behaviors are off limits for kids based on their gender, their worlds get smaller and smaller—and that’s not just sad, it can be damaging as well.”
Obviously, every parent has the best intentions, but sometimes it’s possible to unknowingly promote stereotypes that can fence your girl in. To make sure she understands she can accomplish anything she wants in life, try these six easy tips and encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to do the same!
1. Let toys be toys—for girls and boys!
Make sure your children get a wide variety of toys to play with. You never know what they’ll gravitate toward or why. “Maybe your son will love the mini kitchen playset, because he sees you cooking every day and wants to be like you,” says Dr. Bastiani Archibald. “On the other hand, your toddler daughter might like toy trucks because she sees them drive through your neighborhood and likes to create scenarios around the things she encounters in her everyday world.” The point is that you won’t know what your child might really be into unless she’s given options and encouraged to seek out what interests her most. And if she prefers dolls over dump trucks? So be it! “There’s nothing wrong with a girl who loves playing tea party while wearing a dress, as long as it’s her choice and not the only option presented her.”
2. Plan meaningful meet-ups
Expose your children—boys and girls!—to women who’ve followed all sorts of paths in life. Your local fire department just hired a female firefighter? Stop by the station to say hi and thank her for her service. The woman next door is a computer programmer? Fantastic! Encourage your children to ask her about her career. “Women, even those with very successful careers in male-dominated fields, are still too often seen by children only as the ones who fix the snacks for the weekend soccer game,” says Dr. Bastiani Archibald. “Helping your little ones understand that the women in their lives have interests, passions, and careers outside of the family life they see will expand your children’s horizons and show them all the things women can be and do.” And don’t stop there! Look for kid-friendly biographies and autobiographies that showcase the amazing and wide-ranging achievements of girls and women all over the world. “She may not have the opportunity to meet a Supreme Court Judge or an astronaut in her neighborhood,” says Dr. Bastiani Archibald, “but that shouldn’t keep her from meeting the phenomenal women in those roles through books!”
3. Watch, then talk
After watching a movie or TV show with your girl, set aside some time to talk about what you’ve just seen, making sure to discuss how different genders were portrayed. Was the “smart” girl portrayed as nerdy or not as cool as the others? Was the main character male or female, and if he was male, would the story have made sense if they’d reversed that character’s gender? Explain that because TV shows and online videos have a short period of time to tell a story, they too often rely on visual cues—often stereotypes—to quickly communicate ideas about their characters. As Dr. Bastiani Archibald notes, “the more we help our girls look critically at the media and come to understand the negative impact of gender stereotypes, the better equipped they’ll be to defy them throughout their lives.”
4. Think before you speak
The way you speak about the women in your life (and yourself!) has a huge impact on the way your girl views herself. Be honest: When you give compliments to your girlfriends, your sisters, or your female coworkers, are they mainly about the things they wear or how they look? Try broadening what you praise in other women by noting the smart comment they made in a meeting, her ability to stay calm under pressure, or even her thoughtfulness for calling you during a busy day. “We need to do more to show girls all that they’re valued for,” says Dr. Bastiani Archibald. “Of course you think your girl is beautiful, and there’s no reason to not tell her so sometimes, but she—and all the women in your world—need to know they’re valued for so much more than just their looks.” And the same goes for negative comments. When your daughter hears you talking negatively about the way you or another woman looks, she’s learning to pick apart her own looks and judge others based on appearances. She’s looking to you as a role model in life, so if you want her to be kind to herself, you can show her how by being good to yourself first.
5. Remember that chores have no gender When it comes to household responsibilities, families so often assign tasks in a very old-fashioned way without even realizing it. If you have a girl and a boy, does your daughter typically take care of domestic things like washing the dishes and setting the table, while your son is doing more physical tasks like mowing the lawn or climbing ladders to replace lightbulbs? “Put household responsibilities on a rotating schedule, so that everyone gets to try their hand at everything,” says Dr. Bastiani Archibald. “Having mastered these skills will benefit both your girls and your boys, showing them that there’s no such thing as men’s work or women’s work—it’s all just work!”
6. Embrace Adventure Have an open weekend where you and your girl could do pretty much whatever you wanted? There’s nothing wrong with getting your nails done for some quality time, but make sure that’s not what you’re doing every time (or even most of the time) when you have a chance to bond. Change it up! Grab a basketball and head to the courts in your local park. Check out the new laser tag place in town to see what the fuss is all about. Heck, grab some wheels and cruise on over to the skate park. Engaging girls in active sports, especially those not traditionally seen as “ladylike” helps her see her body as strong and capable, and not just “pretty.” Plus, it’ll teach her from an early age that the fun of sports isn’t just something for boys to enjoy—she belongs in these places and on these teams, too.
Contributed by Lauren Wallace and Girl Scouts of USA
A lot of us were raised in what some might call the school of hard knocks. When we complained that a situation wasn’t fair, parents, teachers, or other adults would all-too-often shrug their shoulders and tell us that life wasn’t fair. That we should just accept things the way they were, even when we had an inkling there was potential for change.
What’s the problem with that? Well, for starters, everything.
While it’s true that lots of things in life aren’t fair, we can—and actually have a responsibility to—work toward making things better, more equitable, and just. Telling kids they’re powerless in the face of injustice isn’t just disempowering, it’s ultimately not true. Every person, regardless of their age, has the ability to stand up for what’s right and help the world become a more equal and fair place.
So what should you do when a girl in your life complains that something isn’t fair? And how can you support her as she learns how to stand up to injustices in the world? This guide can help you raise up girls who fight for what’s right and make the world a more fair and equal place.
1. Is it really unfair? Some things, like rain on your birthday or an elderly relative’s death are hard to deal with, but they’re not actually unfair as they’re simply part of nature and beyond our control. Other situations—like another student outperforming her at the school spelling bee—can be frustrating, but if that other student studied as hard as your daughter and no one cheated, then the outcome is absolutely fair, even though things didn’t go her way.
Additionally, sometimes people or groups who might already be at a disadvantage of sorts (perhaps people with disabilities or from underrepresented groups) are given extra resources to put them on equal footing with everyone else. For example, a student with dyslexia might be given extra time to complete an exam. Situations like these aren’t unfair, they’re equitable—meaning that they give everyone the same chance of success.
That said, if the outcome she’s complaining about was affected by favoritism or bias—then it is unfair, and there’s no need for her to shrug it off and accept that as “the way things are.” Whether she’s upset that boys get called on more in class than girls, or that a park in a higher-income area is kept up nicely while parks in lower-income areas are left in poor condition—there are steps she can take to create positive change.
2. What would you do differently? Complaining that something isn’t right without also having a suggestion for how it could be made better isn’t actually very helpful. So when your girl has identified something that’s unfair, ask her what a more fair solution would look like and how it would work. There may be several different ways to solve the problem, so help her think through as many as the two of you can come up with, think through the pros and cons of each, and decide on the one she thinks is best for all involved.
3. Who’s in charge? Next, you can help her identify the person or people who have control over changing the situation. Who gets to make the decisions? Depending on the issue at hand, that person could be her teacher, her sports coach, a local government official, or—yes—even you if the situation is happening at home or involves family rules!
4. How did the situation get to be unfair in the first place? Once she’s figured out who has the power, suggest she calmly let that person know how she feels and then ask why things are this way. If it’s someone she sees in her day-to-day life, she might find a quiet moment to approach them in person; if it’s a local official, she might want to attend a city council meeting, send an introductory email to request a phone call or meeting, or even reach out via social media.
Once she’s planned the best way to contact this person, remind her it’s important to keep her cool—just because something’s unfair doesn’t mean the person who created the situation did it on purpose. Perhaps it’s an issue that hadn’t been noticed before, and the people in charge will thankful that she brought it to their attention. Alternatively, your daughter might learn more about decision-making process and discover factors that help her see the situation differently.
Still, many people get defensive when their ideas, decisions, or actions are questioned—especially by someone younger than them—so there’s a chance she won’t get the answers she’s looking for when she tries to discover the “why” behind the situation. If that’s the case, she’s still got some work ahead of her!
5. Who else wants to get involved? There’s strength in numbers, and it’s time for your girl to gather the troops, and to educate and inspire others. Does she already know other people who care about the same issue? Suggest that she ask them to raise their voices by contacting the people in power. The more people she gets to join her in speaking out through petitions, letter writing, social media campaigns, or community events, the more attention she can bring to the injustice at hand. And the more attention it gets? The more pressure there will be for those in charge to do something about it!
6. How can you harness your own power? It’s important to push the people in power to make important changes, but sometimes it’s helpful to take matters into your own hands. If the city council isn’t willing to spend the money to fix up a rundown park, talk to local shops to see if they’ll donate supplies and then gather volunteers to clean up the place and plant new gardens! If tickets to your formal dance are too expensive, leaving kids who can’t afford it out, think about planning an alternate event that everyone could attend instead. Or if kids at your school are being treated badly based on stereotypes in the news, invite them to sit with you and stick up for them when you hear people saying unfair things.
Beyond all of these things? If your girl doesn’t think the decisions being made by the people in charge are fair or effective, she can work toward becoming one of the people in charge herself! Getting involved in student government, either by running for office yourself or by supporting another candidate, is a solid first step in that process. Encourage her to explore those opportunities and more.
The bottom line is that whenever any of us see something that’s unfair or unjust, it simply means we have work to do to make things right. Help your daughter understand her agency. Saying “life’s not fair” won’t fix a thing.
Are you ready to be a catalyst for change in your community—and the world? Champion your views, influence leadership, and advance the G.I.R.L. Agenda to make the world a better place.
Learn more about the G.I.R.L. Agenda and what you can do to take civic action– click here.
Contributed by Lauren Wallace and the Girl Scouts of USA
When it comes to outdoor adventure, the girls of Daisy Troop #4890 from Girl Scouts North Carolina Coastal Pines are always up for it! Thanks to their troop leaders, Shanna Stinehour, Kate Berlin, and Karl Jicha, the girls (15 of ‘em!) have gotten valuable outside time early and often. Although at first it was mainly a way to help them bond with one another since they don’t all attend the same school, it soon became obvious that outside is where these girls shine their brightest.
“Our first meeting of the year (2017) was a park playdate over the summer. We had a few activities planned, but everyone had the most fun hiking, exploring the woods, and climbing trees,” Shanna said.
“We took that as a cue that we needed to be getting outside a lot with this group. Each troop has their own personality, and our girls are all very active and curious. One of the best parts of Girl Scouts is how each troop can reflect the interests of the girls. There are so many different activities to choose from.”
According to Shanna, Girl Scouts has provided her young explorers with opportunities to do things they might not have tried otherwise. The program has also given the girls a unique opportunity to explore the outdoors in an all-girl environment, where they’re always free to discover new things and be themselves, and to try, fail, and get right back up again, no matter how many times it takes. And the memories and sense of community they build in the process are priceless.
At their fall camporee, the girls did archery, went canoeing, roasted marshmallows, and sang campfire songs. They also got to spend time with older-girl troops that planned the camporee, observing them in important leadership roles. This was the third camping trip for some of the second-year Daisies, who are by now visibly more comfortable with camping and other Girl Scout traditions—they were even able to help guide their younger, kindergarten counterparts, showing that great mentors can start early! Shanna recalls the girls’ excitement and laughter at the event as contagious; there’s something really special about having that kind of an adventure with 14 of your BFFs, she noted. The girls just love it.
Grace, age six, says she really enjoys outdoor treks with her Girl Scout troop. “When we go hiking, I can point out all the things I see in nature, and the other girls point out things they see. Like sometimes someone else will see a beetle that is blended in with the dirt. I might not have seen it on my own, but I’m so glad I did, because it’s really beautiful.”
Camille, seven, loves spending time with her best Girl Scout buddies and figuring out new things together. “I really like camping!” she said. “I liked learning about animals, trying archery for the first time, doing crafts outdoors, and cooking with my friends.”
Getting outside and gaining relevant safety skills builds the girls’ confidence and self-reliance, Shanna explains. “These skills are so important, especially for young girls. When they learn to paddle a canoe or shoot an arrow, it helps them to face other challenges with the confidence they need to be successful. They know that they are strong and that they can do hard things, whether it be on a camping trip, in the classroom, or on the playground.”
Troop co-leader Karl also believes in the power of getting young girls outside often. “It teaches them teamwork skills and shows them how everyone can have an important role in group activities. The girls just seem more interested in participating when they have an actual task they’re responsible for. And the camping trips—they just offer so many activities that the girls wouldn’t normally find around their community.”
Karl’s favorite part of taking girls on outdoor adventures is watching them immerse themselves in the activities of the day and seeing the sheer excitement on their faces when they try something they’d never before considered—and that they end up loving. “We really do have a tremendous group of girls, and they seem so comfortable taking on just about any challenge when they’re together.” That’s the power of community, Karl!
It’s a fact: hitting the great outdoors is good for girls’ well-being. Our research shows that regular outdoor exposure increases girls’ challenge-seeking and problem-solving know-how, as well as drives their leadership development, improves their health overall, and offers them important opportunities to practice cooperation and teamwork and try new things, and build confidence throughout. And the best part? Research shows girls really enjoy outdoor activities at Girl Scouts.
Curious to see how far your girls’ confidence and sense of adventure can soar in the great outdoors? Learn more.
Girl Scouts of Central Indiana Cadette, Liz, Troop 198
Yes, Girl Scout Cookies are absolutely delicious, but there’s so much more to it than that! Selling cookies gives millions of girls across the country the ability to power new, unique and amazing experiences, while also learning critical life skills, and taking the lead (like a Girl Scout!) to change the world.
Goals? She sets ‘em and slays ‘em. Making decisions? No problem! Managing money? Check! People skills? She’s always ready to speak up. Business ethics? It’s at the center of everything she does.
So whether it’s taking a life-altering trip across the pond, building meaningful solutions for homeless communities, or supporting a troop member’s Gold Award project, when Cookie Bosses get together, there are no limits to what they can accomplish.
Girl Scouts of Central Indiana’s Liz talks about her cookie selling goals:
“I really love setting and reaching goals,” Liz said. “My goals give me a map of where I want to go and ultimately be in life. The path has been bumpy and sometimes exhausting but filled with amazing people and stories. One man gave me a picture of Juliette’s (Gordon Low’s) home he took while on vacation, and many have told me I was a refreshing reminder that my generation cares about others. I’ve even received several hugs from complete strangers because of my goal to collect 1,000 boxes to share with soldiers.” — For more of Liz’s story click here.
No matter what your thoughts are on #MeToo or #TimesUp, many parents of young girls may think, “She’s still so young. Do I really need to talk to her about something so adult?”
With the topic spreading far beyond social media—including the recent Golden Globes broadcast, featuring powerful speeches given by women in entertainment, such as Oprah—the surrounding movement to stop sexual harassment, assault, and the overall unequal treatment of women in general may already be on your girl’s radar. While it’s up to each parent or family to do what’s right for their girl, the age she may need to know about these topics starts younger than most people think.
Why? The discrimination and abuse of girls starts early, and it is likely to already be happening to your daughter or one of her friends. More than one in ten girls is catcalled before her 11th birthday, and more than one in six girls in elementary and secondary school deals with gender-based harassment. Beyond this being patently wrong and damaging to girls’ well-being, discrimination can also distance girls from activities and subjects in school, like math and science, where she feels unwelcome or worries she may not be able to compete. We can’t afford to be quiet about it any longer.
For far too long, the responsibility has been put on girls and women to stay out of harm’s way rather than on boys and men to not harm in the first place. Similarly, for far too long, girls and women have been told either to keep quiet about harassment and abuse so as to not cause a scene or alternatively, to speak out immediately in the face of sexual harassment, abuse, and general sexism—despite the effect that could have on their schooling, career, credibility, and future prospects. If and when they do speak out, they are often framed as too sensitive, or making a big deal out of something minor, despite the damage the harassment is doing to her.
We owe our girls a world where they can speak up without fear of retribution and where their concerns are always taken seriously and given a careful hearing, and providing her with the tools and tips to advocate for herself are a powerful start. It’s also time for boys and men to take an active role in advocating for the worth of girls and women and to not only value and support their female peers but also call out abusive and sexist behaviors when they occur.
There’s no doubt that we still live in a society in which our daughters need to know (from a very young age) how to spot potentially dangerous situations, how to defend themselves if necessary, and how to speak up should they ever have the need. We need to help girls, and all of our children, realize their worth and find the confidence to use their voices not only to their own benefit, but also to create a more just and safe world for all of us.
If you’re unsure how to broach the topic with your kids, consider asking them what they’ve heard about discrimination or harassment, if they’ve read about it on social media, or if it’s a topic of conversation with their school friends. Alternatively, many TV shows and movies provide examples of gender-based harassment, violence, or general discrimination and can act as a natural conversation starter. Ask your kids how they feel about what they saw, and let the discussion evolve from there.
When you talk to your daughter about gender discrimination, harassment, and related issues, emphasize:
Harassment, unwanted touching, and sexist behavior are never her fault, no matter what.
Unwanted touching or “teasing” is not a sign that someone likes her. If someone truly likes her, they’ll treat her with respect and kindness.
There is no need to be “nice” or “polite” in the face of sexual harassment, unwanted touching, or damaging behavior—because none of those are nice or polite at all. It is absolutely fine to ignore the harassment and walk away or, if she feels safe, to stand up to the harasser and let them know their actions are unacceptable.
Pretending that nothing’s wrong or ignoring a situation of harassment or abuse without telling a trusted adult can actually do more harm than good (many girls try to put on a brave face or decide to “not let it bother them”). It’s not selfish or self-centered to put her own safety and well-being first. Plus, if someone is harassing her, there’s a good chance they’re doing it to others as well.
Even if she’s not sure something “counts” as harassment or abuse, she should always tell you or another trusted adult if someone’s behavior or actions simply don’t feel right to her. This isn’t about getting anyone in trouble, it’s about standing up for herself and what’s right.
Experiencing sexual harassment, unwanted touching, or sexist behavior does not make her weak and is nothing to be embarrassed about.
If someone sexually harasses, abuses, or discriminates against her because she is a girl, she is not alone. Many prominent, successful women and girls around the world have had similar experiences. Let her know you have her back and that there is a powerful community that does too.
For more information about the Time’s Up mission, click here.
Contributed by Girl Scouts of USA and Lauren Wallace