Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About Citizen Badges

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) recently launched the G.I.R.L. Agenda Powered by Girl Scouts, a nonpartisan initiative to inspire, prepare, and mobilize girls and those who care about them to lead positive change through civic action. The multiyear effort celebrates the Girl Scout legacy of civic engagement, and for the first time ever, we’re sharing these free, expert-curated resources beyond our 2.6 million members so we can reach as many girls as possible. The materials are derived from renowned Girl Scout programming that has driven generations of girls over the past century to become leaders.

Although the initiative is new, encouraging girls to speak up and advocate for the issues and ideas important to them is not. In fact, even before women could vote in the United States, Girl Scouts could earn the Citizen badge by displaying their knowledge of government and how to get involved!

As part of the initiative, we’ve introduced the new Good Neighbor badge for Daisies (girls in grades K–1). This badge joins a lineup of existing Citizen badges—Celebrating Community, Inside Government, Finding Common Ground, Behind the Ballot, and Public Policy—that engage girls in age-appropriate activities involving community service, public policy, government, voting, and more. Over time, the badges build girls’ knowledge of local and global communities and show them how their actions as citizens make the world better for everyone.

Check out a breakdown of all the new Citizen badges below.


Good Neighbor: With this brand-new badge, Daisies will explore the communities they belong to—from their roles as Daisies in Girl Scouts to their place as residents of their town. They’ll also learn how people work together to be good neighbors to one another.


Celebrating Community: Brownies who earn this badge will discover how communities celebrate their unique qualities and how supporting the people within communities can mean everything from looking for landmarks to marching in a parade. Girls will learn how their communities honor and observe their special traits as they celebrate their traditions.


Inside Government: Citizens are responsible for knowing the basics of government. To earn this badge, Juniors will go beyond the voting booth and inside government by examining laws, reporting on issues, and deciding what it means to be an active citizen.


Finding Common Ground: Cadettes will explore the challenges of finding common ground with those who have different opinions. Elected leaders often need to make compromises, so girls will investigate how negotiations happen by learning about civil debate, accommodations, mediation, and group decision making.


Behind the Ballot: Making your voice heard through voting is both a right and a responsibility, whether you’re voting for class president or our nation’s leaders. Seniors will learn about elections, investigate the ins and outs of voting, and help get out the vote.


Public Policy: Ambassadors have already learned about the need to speak up about issues important to them, but by taking the next step and exploring public policy, they’ll dive deeper into the laws and government actions surrounding specific issues. Through advocacy, learning about public policy on a local or state level, and action, Ambassadors will learn firsthand how citizens can change the world.

By earning these badges in an all-girl, girl-led environment, girls build the confidence they need to become the civic-minded leaders of tomorrow.

Find out more about the badges using the Badge Explorer.

To learn how your Girl Scout troop can get civically engaged, visit www.GIRLagenda.org.

GSUSA Lifting Fundraising Restrictions for Hurricanes Irma and Maria

Sylvia Acevedo with two National Young
Women of Distinction Laura (2014-left)
and Vilmarie (2017-right)

This Hurricane Season led to unprecedented destruction and devastation throughout the United States. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria led to led to massive flooding and devastation in many communities. Unfortunately, Harvey negatively affected many Girl Scouts and their families in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico and beyond.

Many have asked how you can contribute to the recovery efforts for our sister Girl Scouts. We have learned when girls have experienced natural disasters like these and are surrounded by recovery efforts, participating in Girl Scouts can be one way to help them, and their families, feel some sense of normalcy.

That’s why GSUSA is lifting fundraising restrictions to enable girls to raise money for Girl Scouting recovery efforts at the four impacted councils: Girl Scouts of Caribe, Girl Scouts of Citrus, Girl Scouts of Gateway, Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida, Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida, Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, and Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia. As we previously shared, the fundraising ban was also lifted for those councils impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

Fundraising efforts will be undertaken with the sole intention of providing membership scholarships to impacted girls. Such scholarships are typically defined as dues, uniforms, credentials (e.g., insignia worn on uniforms), and Girl Scout materials. To contribute to this effort, please go to http://www.girlscouts.org/DisasterRelief You can give to the fund for all affected councils, which GSUSA will dispense based on need as defined by impacted membership, or you can choose a specific council.

Furthermore, the impacted councils remain so grateful for the outpouring of support. However, please note that these councils continue to ask for time to assess and focus on their specific needs and to get back up and running during this critical time. Although material donations and troop offers of assistance have been greatly appreciated, as you can imagine, the councils are not currently in a position to process and organize them.
Stay tuned for more information from GSUSA and councils on how Girl Scouts can support other Girl Scouts during this time, for example by teaming up on projects that troops in these areas are carrying out to support recovery efforts in their communities. We also encourage you to check out some resources we do have in place:

It’s been an incredibly challenging time for many people in the affected areas, and Girl Scouts have displayed tremendous courage, confidence, and character during such a trying time. It’s been heartening to see so many in our Movement come together to help the affected communities in their time of need.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

G.I.R.L. 2017—A Global Gathering for Every Girl

From dive tanks to infinity rooms to inspirational speakers (and more!), G.I.R.L. 2017 truly was an epic event—and the LARGEST girl-led event in the world! Hosted by Girl Scouts, this mega event took place in Columbus, Ohio, October 6–8 and provided every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ with unforgettable experiences as they got inspired, gained tools to empower themselves, and mastered the know-how to lead change in their communities, all while connecting with some of the most influential women in the world along the way.

And the best part? G.I.R.L. 2017 was 100 percent girl-led! That’s right! Twenty-one girls from across the Girl Scout Movement, nicknamed the G-Team, made up the core of G.I.R.L. 2017’s planning efforts to ensure this national Girl Scout convention was the best one yet!

And before G.I.R.L. 2017 kicked off, hundreds of Girl Scout delegates—both girls and adults—traveled from across the United States to represent their councils and the Girl Scout Movement at the 54th National Council Session. At this meeting, delegates are responsible for influencing the strategic direction of the Movement by providing guidance to the Girl Scouts of the USA Board of Directors, whether that be in the form of electing new board members, amending the Constitution, or proposing positive change.

Girl delegates using their voice at the 54th National Council Session.

Flag Ceremony at the opening of the 54th National Council Session.

Accomplished public figures such as Chelsea Clinton, Gabby Douglas, Barbara Pierce Bush, Mae Jemison, and more joined G.I.R.L. 2017 throughout the weekend, leading panels and intimate breakout sessions on the pressing issues facing girls today. Plus, the event featured performances by talented young artists, such as Angelica Hale and Caly Bevier from America’s Got Talent.

Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas with the Girl Scout G-Team.

Girls rocking out to Angelica Hale.

The 2017 National Young Women of Distinction—the top Gold Award Girl Scouts of the year—were recognized at G.I.R.L. 2017 for their remarkable leadership and excellence at creating positive change in their communities and beyond. All ten Gold Award Girl Scouts joined Chelsea Clinton on Saturday, October 7, to discuss ways girls can take action in their own communities and change the world.

The 2017 National Young Women of Distinction - the top Gold Award Girl Scouts of the year.

Chelsea Clinton with the 2017 National Young Women of Distinction.

And speaking of taking action, on the first day of the event, GSUSA launched the G.I.R.L. Agenda Powered by Girl Scouts, a nonpartisan initiative to inspire, prepare, and mobilize girls and those who care about them to lead positive change through civic action. The multiyear effort celebrates the Girl Scout legacy of civic engagement, and for the first time ever, GSUSA is sharing free, expert-curated civic engagement resources beyond its 2.6 million members.

At the G.I.R.L. Agenda booth in the AT&T Hall of Experiences, girls could take action right away by being a good neighbor and sending letters to friends and family in celebration of the NEW Daisy Good Neighbor badge. Girls also had the option to join their Girl Scout sisters by petitioning to change the name of the Savannah River Bridge to the Juliette Gordon Low Bridge in Savannah, Georgia (the birthplace of the Girl Scout Movement!).

Girl Scouts take action at the G.I.R.L. Agenda booth in the G.I.R.L. 2017 Hall of Experiences.

The Hall of Experiences was one of the biggest (literally!) attractions at G.I.R.L. 2017, offering more than 100 unique hands-on activities focused on Girl Scouts’ national program pillars of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); entrepreneurship; life skills; and the outdoors. Here girls also had an opportunity to make an impact both locally and globally by taking part in the “Rise Against Hunger” Take Action project. For the project, girls packed a whopping 20,768 meals for people in need—in Columbus and beyond.

Girl Scouts in the AT&T Infinity Room in the Hall of Experiences. Through interactive touch points, girls experienced the endless ways future STEM leaders can impact our world.  
Girls taking a dive in the Go Dive Now pool. Girls were able to try their hands at scuba diving in the Hall of Experiences.

Girl Scout Brownie taking the lead in a STEM workshop in the Hall of Experiences.

Girls learning new skills in leathercraft - a skill many Girl Scouts learn at camp! 

Girls see what it's like to be a Space Camp trainee through simulated space shuttle missions.

Closing celebration of G.I.R.L. 2017

Where else can thousands of go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and leaders gather to spark change and make the world a better place? Girl Scouts, of course!

G.I.R.L. 2017 sponsors include Platinum Sponsor AT&T; Gold Sponsors Big Lots Foundation and Toyota Financial Services; Silver Sponsors Nationwide’s Make Safe Happen program and American Electric Power; Bronze Sponsors American Petroleum Institute, JOANN Stores, Little Brownie Bakers (a division of the Kellogg Company), and Thirty-One Gifts; and Pearl Sponsors ABC Bakers, The Columbus Foundation, General Mills, Hogan Lovells US LLP, JPMorgan Chase & Co., KPMG LLP, Palmer & Cay, PayPal, Inc., Preemadonna, Macy’s, Mercer, Visit Orlando, and WBNS TV. Girl Scouts of the USA thanks all of our sponsors for their generous support and for championing the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Girl Scouts Is the Girl Leadership Expert

Girl Scouts is the best girl leadership organization in the world, created with and for girls. We believe strongly in the importance of the all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment that Girl Scouts provides, which creates a free space for girls to learn and thrive.

The benefit of the single-gender environment has been well-documented by educators, scholars, other girl- and youth-serving organizations, and Girl Scouts and their families. Girl Scouts offers a one-of-a-kind experience for girls with a program tailored specifically to their unique developmental needs.

At Girl Scouts, we are the girl experts, and for more than a century we have provided millions of girls opportunities for adventure, inspiration, and valuable mentoring. Offering hands-on, girl-centered learning in STEM, the outdoors, and entrepreneurship, and abundant opportunities to develop invaluable life skills, Girl Scouts helps all girls take the lead early and often. The Girl Scout Leadership Experience pairs girls with strong, caring female role models and mentors who prepare them to take the lead from age 5 to 18 and into adulthood. And we’re backed by more than 100 years of experience and expertise in the field.

As the premier leadership organization for girls, we are unmatched in delivering proven outcomes: 
  • Our Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, is a top-tier credential for girls as they enter their post–high school lives, enabling them to distinguish themselves in the college admissions process, earn college scholarships, and enter the military one rank higher.
  • No one does girl leadership better than we do. Compared to women who weren’t Girl Scouts in their youth, Girl Scout alumnae:
    • Are better educated and have more success in their careers 
    • Enjoy higher household and personal income
    • Are more active as mentors and community volunteers 
    • Have more confidence in themselves and their abilities
    • In the U.S., 90 percent of female astronauts, 80 percent of female tech leaders, 75 percent of current senators, and all U.S. Secretaries of State are Girl Scout alumnae.

At Girl Scouts, girls learn the skills, have the experiences, and cultivate the relationships that enable them to soar in life. From taking a night time hike under the stars to accepting a mission on the International Space Station; from lobbying the city council with her troop to holding a seat in Congress; from running her own cookie business today to tackling cybersecurity tomorrow—a Girl Scout is ready to change the world right now and accomplish big things in the future.

The need for female leadership has never been clearer or more urgent than it is today—and only Girl Scouts has the expertise to give girls and young women the tools they need for success.

Girl Scouts works. We’re committed to preparing the next generation of women leaders, and we’re here to stay.

Click here and enter your zip code to find troops and other opportunities near you!

Happy International Day of the Girl!

Since 2012, October 11 has been the official International Day of the Girl. The day highlights and addresses the needs girls have and the challenges they face while promoting their empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights.

To celebrate this important day, Girl Scouts is rallying girls and those who care about them to do their part to encourage more girls to engage in civic action to better their communities. The world’s 1.1 billion girls are an unstoppable force with limitless potential. Many are already taking action to empower themselves, work toward their dreams, and contribute to their communities.

But there’s so much more to do to achieve justice for girls and ensure that they’re prepared to take action and make their voices heard. The G.I.R.L. Agenda Powered by Girl Scouts is a nonpartisan initiative to inspire, prepare, and mobilize every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to lead positive change through civic action.

Through online civic engagement resources tailored for girls ages 5–17, it’s easier than ever to support and prepare girls to be empowered, motivated citizens. Whether they choose to advocate for positive change in their communities, stand up against everyday injustices, prompt others to donate or volunteer for causes, or meet with public officials and community leaders to educate them about important issues, girls have plenty of options to get started.

To advance the G.I.R.L. Agenda and inspire the next generation of female leaders to become catalysts for change, take your voice to social media!

On Facebook and Instagram, share stories that illustrate how girls engage in civic action and include a link to www.GIRLagenda.org. On Instagram, include #GIRLagenda.

Check out these great examples from this year’s National Young Women of Distinction.

    • Elizabeth K., Gold Award Girl ScoutGirl Scouts Heart of the Hudson
      • Bees are critical to our livelihood and food chain, and more and more are becoming endangered. Through grassroots advocacy and education efforts, Elizabeth taught the public how to take action to help bees, successfully persuading lawmakers in New York State to pass legislation to protect bee populations. Learn how you can take civic action at www.GIRLagenda.org
    • Vilmarie O.  Gold Award Girl Scout | Girl Scouts of Caribe
      • After Vilmarie’s mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), Vilmarie became an educator and advocate for people with MS and cancer. She advocated for the approval of Senate Bill 1180, which sought to create a required centralized registry of people diagnosed with MS. Both legislative assemblies of Puerto Rico approved the measure, and the bill became the first law in the world requiring a registry of people with MS, which will shed light on the incidence of this disease and assist in obtaining federal funding for research. Learn how you can take civic action at www.GIRLagenda.org.
    • Caroline C., Gold Award Girl Scout | Girl Scouts of Citrus
      • To create a more meaningful relationship between travelers passing through her community and those who live in it, Caroline established a charitable foundation for the Orlando International Airport. She worked with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and state government agencies to place collection bins before TSA checkpoints and throughout the airport terminals so travelers could donate their spare change to local charities. Learn how you can take civic action at www.GIRLagenda.org.
On Twitter, share civic engagement resources and include #GIRLagenda with a link to G.I.R.L. Agenda resources available at www.GIRLagenda.org.
  • Here are some examples:
    • Support the #GIRLagenda, and prepare a generation of girls to take civic action and use their voices to change the world! GIRLagenda.org 

    • New #GIRLagenda resources will inspire, prepare, and mobilize girls ages 5–17 to lead positive change through civic action! GIRLagenda.org
    • Join @girlscouts to inspire a generation of girls to change the world through civic action! GIRLagenda.org #GIRLagenda