The Impact of a Volunteer: The Girl Scout Difference

Girl Scouts makes a difference. That’s the whole point behind our Girl Scout Difference campaign and what we’re so passionate about sharing. We want people to know there’s a reason we remain girl-only; we have the time-tested and research-backed programming that tells us this is the best space for her to grow.

But to accomplish this, we need you.

We’re able to offer girls the opportunities to build robotic arms and create shelters in the wilderness because of our volunteers. Our caring adult mentors and strong female role models help shape the environment for our girls. Girl Scouts makes a difference because of our volunteer partners.

As a volunteer, you’ll see the proven results of how girls thrive in these five ways …

  Develop a strong sense of self.

  Seek challenges and learn from setbacks.

  Display positive values.

  Form and maintain healthy relationships.

  Identify and solve problems in the community.

… and you’ll know you had a hand in helping them get there.

It’s about more than just being there for the girls. Girl Scout volunteers tell us about the personal rewards they’ve encountered, like making new friends, enjoying new experiences, and even learning new things right along with their troop.

Girl Scouts doesn’t just make a difference in our girls’ lives, it will make a difference in yours.

Contrary to popular belief, you can volunteer even if you don’t have children. You can volunteer if you’re a man. We have roles beyond troop leader; we need people to help transport the children, manage cookie sales, assist at meetings, speak at events, and everything in between.

Just like the potential we see in our girls, there’s no limit to what you can do as a volunteer for Girl Scouts.

STEM Training for Adults!

It’s hard to believe that our 2017-2018 membership year is winding down. Then again, it’s hard to believe how fast 2018 is going! As October approaches, we’ve begun to assemble our new programming for next year.

While most of our opportunities are for the girls, like trips to Maine and hockey days, we do have something scheduled that is extra special for adults.

One of Girl Scouts main objectives is getting more girls involved in STEM, both as children and professionally. This year, GSUSA added 30 new STEM badges to help push this cause. Our girls have more opportunities than ever to experience science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. While this is spectacular, you as a leader might be feeling overwhelmed. We’re here to help.

To aid in your understanding, we’re holding training for adults around the council. From October to April, you can pick a time and location that works for you!

STEM Adult Lab Learning

Unleash Strong! Be a Girl Scout.

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The Fourth of July feels the peak of summer fun, but fall is right around the corner. You can even see it in stores . Despite school not starting for more than a month, the back to school sections are popping up. Pool toys are being swapped out for classroom supplies and the bus will be rolling down the street sooner than you’d like.

When school begins, so do the never ending extracurricular activities. At times, it can feel like every night is booked. It’s easy to cut certain programs you don’t feel are as valuable. Unfortunately, Girl Scouts is one that doesn’t always make the cut.

The case for Girl Scouts

You want your girl to succeed in her life, whatever it may look like. You want her to opportunities to shape her own future. While a number of activities can help her, none partner along side of her quite like Girl Scouts.

At Girl Scouts of Western New York, we’re dedicated to building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. When your girl joins a troop, she isn’t just signing up to do arts and crafts and sell cookies. She’s joining a sisterhood where she can be her own person and make a difference in her community.

We believe in the inclusive, all-girl environment and have the research for why it matters for you girl. This helps us create a safe space for her to try new things, develop new skills, take on leadership roles, and work toward earning the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards.

What we do

At Girl Scouts, your girl will have the opportunity to experience new adventures while giving back. All of our programming focuses on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), the outdoors, like skills, and entrepreneurship.

Bottom line, we know this is a man’s world, but we want to help your daughter reshape it for herself and generations to come.

Why it matters

More than just what we offer, we have proven results. Women who were Girl Scouts are more successful, enjoy higher incomes, are active volunteers, and vote more regularly.

Half of all female business leaders are Girl Scout alums. More than 70 percent of female U.S. Senators were in Girl Scouts. Every former female Secretary of State are Girl Scout alums.

Unleash strong!

Become a Girl Scout this fall and see the difference it can make for yourself. Join Girl Scouts today!

Our STEM focus extends to our camps

Hosting STEM programs at camp this summer is like the marrying of two of the initiatives we’re most excited about. Girl Scouting has always been about enabling girls to do more and push themselves and their knowledge further. Because of this, our programs always take a progressive approach to dealing with problems faced by women every day.

This is one reason camp has been a part of Girl Scouts since the beginning. We believe in helping girls become leaders in the great outdoors by showing them important skills. Plus most of us can agree that some of the best memories are created at camp!

Our STEM focus is to battle the overwhelming majority of men who work in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. A major goal of Girl Scouts is to funnel more women in the STEM pipeline and close the gender gap currently found there. By exposing girls to STEM activities at younger age, they feel more comfortable with their place in that world.

With STEM-specific camps, we combine the outdoor fun with the educational aspects associated with these programs. With five programs targeted at younger girls, we want them to get excited about STEM and their potential future in the field!

Camp Piperwood

  • Citizen Scientist to the Rescue (Grades K-8)
  • Science Wonders (Grades K-8)

Camp Seven Hills

  • Silly Scientists (Grades 1-3)
  • Zoologist (Grades 1-3)
  • GIRLbots (Grades 4-6)

 

If you haven’t registered for camp yet, now is the time!

Girl Scout Alums Remind the World That Girl Scouts Grows Female Leaders Who Drive Powerful Change

Girl Scouts of the USA recently released a new national PSA, “Lifetime of Leadership,” heralding the organization’s legacy of fostering female change-makers and preparing girls for a lifetime of leadership, success, and adventure. Featuring notable Girl Scout alums in fields such as technology, politics, media, and sports, the PSA showcases the positive change these powerful female leaders have created through activism, speaking up, breaking glass ceilings, and more—and illustrates the importance of Girl Scouts in providing girls with the leadership experiences they need to make their voices heard and effect change.

From philanthropist Melinda Gates and athlete Venus Williams, to supermodel and entrepreneur Karlie Kloss, Girl Scout alums highlighted in the PSA have inspired people worldwide. Narrated by Queen Latifah, the PSA also features Dolores Huerta, Barbara Walters, Katie Couric, Senator Tammy Duckworth, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Ellen Kuras, Dr. N. Jan Davis, Tyra Banks, Sheryl Crow, Céline Dion, Dakota Fanning, Susan Wojcicki, Senator Susan Collins, and Cassandra Levesque, a 19-year-old Girl Scout alum who worked to ban child marriage in New Hampshire.

“Lifetime of Leadership” brings to life what recent studies have shown: Girl Scouts have better life outcomes than their non–Girl Scout peers. They are more confident, seek challenges to a greater degree, are more active decision-makers, and are more proficient problem-solvers in their communities. The PSA also shows how civic engagement is a core part of the Girl Scout DNA—which is why it premiered today at G.I.R.L. Agenda 2018: Leading Change Through Civic Action. This unique event, which took place in Philadelphia, featured a keynote address from educator and former second lady of the United States Dr. Jill Biden, and a panel moderated by writer, professor, and television host Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry. Thousands of girls and those who care about them joined in-person and virtually for a conversation about preparing girls to lead positive change. The PSA brought to life what a Girl Scout’s leadership journey can look like as she grows into a woman, and it inspired all in attendance to take the lead and take action in support of causes they care about.

“We are proud to premiere our powerful new PSA and showcase the impactful change that Girl Scout alums have created to make the world a better place,” said Sylvia Acevedo, GSUSA CEO. “We know that leadership and meaningful civic action start at a young age—at home, at school, and in local communities. This PSA is a rallying cry for more girls to realize their leadership potential with Girl Scouts. The world is counting on them, and we hope our more than 50 million alums will be inspired to reconnect with us and share their leadership journey with the next generation of girls who will lead our country into the future.”

“I have no doubt that the girls of today will become the leaders and change-makers of tomorrow. Supporting them, empowering them and ensuring they have the opportunities they deserve is good for all of us,” said Dr. Jill Biden. “My Girl Scout experience taught me confidence, perseverance, and gave me skills that inspired me to pursue public service and helped me become a better leader. Girl Scouts is the preeminent organization that gives girls the place and the opportunity to develop their powerful voices.”

The new Girl Scout PSA was created and written by Girl Scout alum, Rachel Howald, founder and CCO, Invisible Man.

To watch the PSA and for more information about Girl Scouts, visit www.girlscouts.org/leadership. To join or volunteer, visit www.girlscouts.org/join.

Why Girl Scouts should still be the choice for your girl

Today Boy Scouts announced a change in who they are – while its parent organization will keep the title of Boy Scouts of America, its actual boy scouting program will be called ‘Scouts BSA,’ starting next February. This change came after the controversial decision in 2017 to let girls join its program.

For more than a century, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts coexisted with programming designed to nurture boys and girls in separate, targeted environments with strategies to aid in leadership development. As the world changed, so did the programs to reflect the current challenges each gender faced and the best way to overcome. At least that’s the case for Girl Scouts.

It’s not a secret that both organizations have experienced declines in membership due to increased competition. Families are running from one activity to the next and for a number of reasons, including a lack of understanding, Scouting is falling lower and lower in importance. While both organizations have felt these effects, we’ve chosen to respond differently.

Boy Scouts is throwing up the Hail Mary by inviting girls into their programming. A campaign set to launch this summer – ‘Scout Me In’ – is designed to show the ease of taking all your children to the same meeting, making it more convenient to be a Scout. Rather than design unique programs, Scouts BSA will simply divide boys and girls where they will follow the same curriculum. A selling point is that now girls can also work toward the highly praised level of Eagle Scout.

What that fails to mention is Girl Scouts already have the option to not only reach that same level, but pass it with their project. The Girl Scout Gold Award, while less seen, requires more time and effort to achieve than the award of Eagle Scout. Because it doesn’t have the Boy Scout boost and notoriety, few understand just how incredible it is for a girl to become a Gold Award recipient.

More importantly, Girl Scouts refuses to budge from its stance on only accepting girls because it will not compromise its mission. Especially in today’s world with more and more women finding their voice and fighting for their seat at the table, we understand the value of what we do. We’re showing girls from a young age their value and letting them know they’re capable of anything. We believe in building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place, and we don’t plan to step away from that.

Girl Scouts is an organization that is fun for girls, but we can’t forget its importance. Yes, it might mean taking your children two places for their troop meetings, but your child’s future shouldn’t be built on convenience. While we try to make it as easy as possible for you, we want your girl to be a part of our organization because of what she can become.

We’re more than cookies, crafts, and friendship bracelets. We see the lack of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics so we’re creating more programs to expose girls to these opportunities at a young age. We teach outdoor skills and survival, all while making sure your girl is empowered.

Our programming comes from years of research to ensure we’re raising female leaders. Even better, we have proven results. All of our female Secretaries of State were Girl Scouts. Almost all female astronauts. Your girl has potential, and we want her to unleash it early and often with Girl Scouts.

Lee Snodgrass from the Girl Scouts of Northwestern Great Lakes council summarizes it well:

“We proudly own the ‘Girl’ in Girl Scouts. Since our inception, Girl Scouts of the USA has been about putting girls front and center, ensuring that everything we do is with their best interests in mind and equips them to be the fearless leaders and change-makers our more than 50 million alums prove themselves to be. For 106 years, Girl Scouts has prepared girls with essential leadership skills and provided them with a supportive network of girls and women who can face any challenge, from the wilderness to the boardroom, with confidence, compassion, and success. Our focus has always been and always will be girls.”

Girls Scouts isn’t just an activity for your girl. It can change her life beyond the memories she’ll make at at camp and the lifelong friends she’ll find. Just like you, we believe in your girl’s greatness. Join us today and help her grow.

Why STEM, Why Not STEM?

Lately I’ve noticed quite a few articles on women breaking barriers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.

I think the progress being made in this direction is wonderful.  There are numerous benefits to having women in STEM careers. They are able to provide greater financial support to their families because traditionally STEM careers pay above the average pay scale. This shift in careers debunks the stereotype that boys are stronger in math and science.  It also speaks volumes to our young girls because it expands the number of career options available to them.

In fact, many companies are lending their financial support to organizations that are exposing young girls to opportunities in STEM.

I recently read an article, Women in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) on iseekcareer.com that said approximately 17 percent of women are chemical engineers and 22 percent function as environmental scientists.  The article listed the top three reasons why there is a gender gap in these careers is because there are no female mentors, there is a lack of acceptance from coworkers and there are gender differences in the workplace.

According to the National Science Foundation, in 2009, 22.6 percent of master’s degrees in engineering went to women. The article said it was the lowest percent given in science, technology, engineering and math fields. The US Department of Commerce found that one in seven engineers is female. These numbers show that men dominate women in STEM careers, but why.

I think men disproportionally outweigh women in STEM careers because there was a time when boys were encouraged to consider careers in math and science and girls were encouraged to go into professions that relied heavily on service occupation skills.

My thoughts were confirmed when I read a Forbes article, STEM Fields and the Gender Gap: Where Are the Women?The article said, “The problem starts as early as grade school.”  That’s when I had my “aha” moment. Working for an organization that builds leadership skills in girls, are we the solution?  Can we be the catalyst for change in this area?

Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) released a study called, Generation STEM, What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

The study was conducted with girls in focus groups and in a national sampling.   The study found that problem-solving, asking questions and figuring out how things worked made girls interested in STEM. Another finding discovered that girls interested in STEM are overachievers, doing well in school, and have support systems versus girls who are not interested in STEM.  One of the final findings revealed that although a girl has an interest in STEM activities it doesn’t always translate into an interest in pursuing a STEM career. We still have work to do.

So, how do we encourage girls to consider career opportunities outside of Art/Design, Social Sciences and Entertainment (ranked the highest by girls in the GSRI study)?

The African proverb says it takes a whole village to raise a child. Anyone who has influence in the life of a girl can make a difference.  Parents, educators, school counselors and non-profit organizations such as Girl Scouts, can dispel myths and increase awareness of what a career in STEM looks like.  This can be accomplished with programs like “bring your child to work” day, having guest speakers who are currently working in a STEM career, and creating programs and activities that are STEM related are steps in the right direction.