We live in an interesting time: Facebook and Twitter, economic crises and polarizing political debate. Every day there is something controversial to read about. Our children are exposed to the world earlier, and the importance of their actions – and ours – is being scrutinized. In such an incredibly confusing time to grow up, Girl Scouts have become more relevant than ever.
Involvement. Service. Friendship. Achievement. These all describe the core values of the Girl Scouts, standards that have stayed constant for the people that matter most to our organization: growing girls. But that’s just a portion of what we offer young women. As the National Girl Scouts organization celebrates its 100th anniversary, we can look back at a century of locally centered efforts to help girls grow, prepare and revel in all of their talents.
In an economic climate where the importance of networking and professional connections is great, Girl Scouting is a perfect way to integrate girls into the community and put before them countless opportunities to further themselves.
In a digital age when information is fast-paced and consumption even faster, Girl Scouts offers opportunities for personal connection and communication, but also teaches preservation and accountability.
Girl Scouts serve their communities. The willingness to help others is an attribute our individualistic society can sometimes overlook. In honor of the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts, many councils are participating in “Forever Green” take-action projects, through which Girl Scouts lead a national effort encouraging their families, schools and communities to protect natural resources – thus teaching girls ways to contribute positively.
Girl Scouts learn valuable skills. Our Girl Scout Cookie Program is at its heart a business program in which girls have the chance to learn and put into play skills like goal-setting, decision-making, budgeting, people skills and business ethics.
Girl Scouts gain independence and self-esteem. Programs such as our Summer Resident Camps offer girls practical skills like canoeing, fire-building and archery; but they also offer life skills like being self-sufficient and responsible, building relationships, having respect for the camp and everyone involved, and most of all, having fun.
Girl Scouts are local-centric. We focus on our communities and our values are that of our local chapters. Many times, our Girl Scouts will feel the brunt of controversial national issues that affect chapters in states that span the breadth of the ideological spectrum. Our Girl Scouts are the “Heart of the South.” Every cent raised goes to benefit solely the Heart of the South council.
Today, our local Heart of the South council encompasses about 10,000 girls and more than 3,000 volunteers, all working toward the same goal of giving growing girls more chances to succeed than ever before.
Now more than ever, we understand the importance of supportive leadership for girls. Women are realizing their true potential, and this starts with helping the voices of our girls be heard. Our local council has no agenda but to continually strive to help the girls in our communities. I’d like to extend a very happy 100th anniversary to our National Girl Scouts. We can pride ourselves on being a constant for girls seeking a community of friendship, involvement and success. Here’s to 100 more wonderful years.
Angela Woods is CEO of the local Girl Scouts Heart of the South Council based in in Memphis.