Monday, March 25, 2019

Vlog: Put More G.I.R.L.s on the Path to STEM-ccess with These Easy Tips

Every time a girl finds her love of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through Girl Scouts, there’s a dedicated volunteer by her side supporting and cheering her on. Volunteers are the building blocks of Girl Scouting, providing girls with the support they need to succeed. BUT that’s not to say that volunteers need to be STEM experts to engage girls in STEM.

Abby Whipker, senior manager of STEM programs at Girl Scouts of Greater New York, and Dr. Laura Terrill, STEM program manager at Girl Scout of Central Texas, have looked to their own networks to engage their girls in STEM. And through the generous support of the STEM Next Opportunity Fund, both women have served as STEM Next fellows over the past year, in the process building their councils’ capacity to deliver STEM programming to girls.

Check out our video for tips from Abby and Laura, including some unexpected ways that Girl Scout volunteers can use their resources wisely.

Learn More About STEM Next:

STEM Next proudly supports Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) in working to increase female representation in STEM fields. Through the STEM Next Fellows program, GSUSA and STEM Next aim to strengthen Girl Scouts’ national STEM strategy by increasing the capacity of Girl Scout councils to deliver programming in science, technology, engineering, and math to all girls. The teams will establish a “STEM ecosystem” consisting of various organizations and groups that support youth and STEM, and a means of evaluation to drive long-term sustainability of STEM learning for girls in grades 6–12.

In addition to building councils’ STEM delivery capacity, STEM Next fellows will partner with Tallo, the first web-based solution to help students design personalized career pathways, to provide girls with professional development workshops and career training specifically tailored to careers in STEM.

Monday, March 18, 2019

What is Your Cookie-Selling Superpower?

When girls participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program®, they become an integral part of the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world. They learn five skills that are essential to leadership and life success—goal setting, decision making, money management, business ethics, and people skills—and how to come up with outside-the-box ideas, just like real-life entrepreneurs! Being a Girl Scout Cookie™ entrepreneur who runs her own cookie business takes effort and creativity.

There’s a sense of pride and accomplishment felt by our amazing cookie CEOs and those who support their success (we see you, tireless parents, devoted troop leaders, and unstoppable volunteers!)—and it’s no surprise why. The Girl Scout Cookie Program prepares girls with the business smarts they need to unleash their G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ potential and take on the world!

We took to social media to ask what makes you/your troop really good at selling cookies. Our question: What is your/your girl’s/your troop’s cookie-selling superpower?

What can we say? Your responses did not disappoint. We were excited to see how creative and savvy they were—and how you run your cookie sale like a true superhero. Check out some highlights:

Ready to highlight your cookie-selling superpowers through Girl Scouts’ Cookie Pro™ contest? Check out the super helpful contest resources on our website to help you tell your cookie story. By entering, you could win a once-in-a-lifetime VIP adventure in California designed exclusively for Girl Scouts. And there’s more! Every girl who enters the Cookie Pro contest will unlock an awesome, limited-edition Cookie Pro 2019 patch for optional purchase. So don’t wait!

One last thing: don’t forget to follow us on social media for the latest Cookie Pro contest updates or to just pop in and say hi! We’re all over Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Friday, March 15, 2019

How One Troop Took (Money) Matters into Its Own Hands

Being a Girl Scout isn’t just fun—it also opens doors for girls to make their biggest, brightest dreams come true. One important life skill that all girls learn through Girl Scouting is solid money smarts. Because the financial literacy skills learned while running a Girl Scout Cookie booth will eventually help girls save up for a new car; negotiate their salary; launch their own business; or, like Troop 476 from Girl Scouts of Central Maryland (GSCM), give back to their community and teach other girls about financial empowerment.

To earn their Girl Scout Silver Award, Troop 476 developed an Empowerment Symposium for local girls in middle and high school. The troop’s goal was to help girls feel financially empowered and provide them with much-needed resources to achieve their dreams of going to college—and to bring their community together. So that’s exactly what these go-getters did!

In their proposal, the girls explained, “One of the goals [of the Empowerment Symposium] is to provide resources for the young ladies in this underserved community that will empower them to be financially prepared for college. In addition, we would provide leaders who can teach the girls how to budget their money, how to save, how to spend their money wisely, and possibly even steer them in careers where they can help the community that they live in.”

After the symposium, their council’s membership specialist asked the troop to consider submitting a proposal to GSCM for possible funding to repeat the project later in the year. With hopes to make it an annual conference, the troop worked with staff members from GSCM to apply for a grant from Toyota Financial Services. The end result? Troop 476 received the grant to fund their second Empowerment Symposium. Over 166 people attended, including prominent female entrepreneurs, bloggers, and self-esteem coaches—so inspirational!

According to the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), “girls are optimistic about their future lives but admit to lacking the financial confidence and knowledge to achieve their dreams.” The Empowerment Symposium grew girls’ confidence and connections to one another. Troop leader Kelly said it best: “the symposium is a result of the girls’ research and planning to find a need in the community and how they can help address it. They realized that girls their age struggle with many issues, including lack of self-confidence and confusion as to what route they should take for their future careers.”

Learning by doing and empowering by doing—it’s the Girl Scout way! If you feel inspired by the incredible story of Troop 476 and its goal to make the world a better place by financially empowering more girls, download and use the activities from the TFS “Driving My Financial Future” Tip Sheet while earning Financial Literacy badges. Or if you’re a parent or a troop leader, learn more about financial literacy tips for adults.

“You are the root of your financial success or failure. If you work on the roots, the fruits will grow and take care of themselves.”

Learn more about our partnership with Toyota Financial Services:

Through this multiyear partnership worth over $3.3 million, more than 40,000 4th- through 12th-grade girls in underserved communities across the United States will take part in "Driving My Financial Future," a TFS initiative that teaches girls how to become financially savvy leaders; obtain real-life, age-appropriate financial skills; and gain the tools necessary to make a positive influence in their communities.

According to the Girl Scout Research Institute study Having It All: Girls and Financial Literacy (PDF), nine out of ten girls say it's important for them to learn how to manage money, and 88 percent think it's important to set financial goals. However, only a handful of girls surveyed (12 percent) feel confident making financial decisions.

Thanks to the TFS partnership, select grant councils are provided with grant funding for their participation in the “Driving My Financial Future" program, which helps bridge the divide between many girls’ and their families’ current economic health, as well as girls’ dreams of being financially independent. Through this important program, girls become financially confident and empowered as a means of pursuing their dreams.
Thursday, March 14, 2019

3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Luck

Fact: Good things tend to happen to Girl Scouts. They’ve been invited to camp out at the White House and took to the streets of Manhattan for the 91st Anniversary Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on their very own float. They’re constantly being written up in local papers.  They’ve explored space on historic NASA missions, and lead some of our country’s major companies.

Some people might say these girls and women have been lucky, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It isn’t a four-leaf clover or a wink from a leprechaun that opens doors and creates opportunities for Girl Scouts—it’s hard work, determination, and a passion for improving the world that does the trick. That’s right, Girl Scouts make their own luck, and so can you by following these tips!

1. Take action
Dreams rarely come true without a whole lot of doing on your part! If there’s someone who’s achieved the things you hope to one day have happen in your life, find out what she did to get there and then make a plan for yourself based on the path she followed.

2. Be collaborative,  not competitive
A lot of people think you have to be tough or even ruthless to get to the top or make big things happen in the world, but that’s simply not true! In fact, it’s a lot easier to make your dreams come true when you have a team of people who want to help and support you. When you lend a hand or cheer someone else along in their projects, they’re far more likely to do the same for you. Added bonus? When you finally do finish your amazing service project, land that dream job, or even get elected to government office, you’ll have so many wonderful friends to celebrate with.

3. Do something scary
It’s no coincidence that some of the things that can help you achieve your dreams— like introducing yourself to powerful people, trying a challenging new activity, or speaking in front of large groups of people—might make you nervous. There’s risk involved with each of them, of course, but when you take a step back and think of the wonderful things that these actions might lead to, they almost always far outweigh any negatives that might happen along the way.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Celebrate Girl Scouts’ Birthday with a Planned Gift

Guest blogpost by Dianne Belk, Founding Chair, Juliette Gordon Low Society

  Today is Girl Scouts’ 107th birthday! In 1912, at a time when women in the United States couldn’t yet vote, one courageous woman took a risk and sparked a worldwide movement inspiring girls to embrace their individuality, strength, and intellect.

Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts, was a visionary. She envisioned an organization that would prepare girls to meet their world with courage, confidence, and character. She also knew that she needed to invest in future generations of girls. Accordingly, she honored her vision and commitment to the Girl Scout Movement in her will by gifting her carriage house (Girl Scouts’ first national headquarters) to her “beloved Girl Scouts.” That gift was our first-ever planned gift.

Girl Scout Day is truly a time to celebrate. Show off your Girl Scout pride and honor our worldwide sisterhood and all that it has given you, your community, and girls across the globe by joining the Juliette Gordon Low Society. No matter how large or small your planned gift is or whether it’s for your local council or Girl Scouts of the USA, we welcome you as a member!

To commemorate Girl Scouts’ anniversary, I challenge you to make a planned gift. Doing so is quick and easy—and even free if you make Girl Scouts the partial beneficiary of a retirement plan or life insurance policy. When you do so, you join over 4,000 members of your Girl Scout family who have done the same and joined the Juliette Gordon Low Society.

Leaving a planned gift to Girl Scouts is a special way to support girls and a meaningful way to affirm your belief in Girl Scouting. After 107 years, Girl Scouts is unique in its longevity and ability to keep up with modern girls and maintain relevancy. To continue to make the world a better place, the Girl Scout Movement must have the resources to develop new programming, take care of outdoor education facilities, keep Girl Scouting affordable and accessible for all girls, and provide a high-quality experience for girls. Income from planned gifts ensures that Girl Scouts can thrive for the next 107 years!

Whether you’re a Girl Scout alum, current member, or dedicated volunteer—or you simply have an extraordinary Girl Scout in your life—you’re an important part of the Girl Scout family. Your support makes it possible for future generations of girls to reap the many benefits of Girl Scouting, just as Juliette’s first planned gift still does today.

Learn more about the Juliette Gordon Low Society.