Monday, October 17, 2016

Girl Scouts are Committed to Ending Poverty

Initiated in 1993, October 17 was designated Global Poverty Day to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries. Global poverty remains at the core of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the development of the new Sustainable Development Goals. Girl Scouts  can dive into issues around poverty by engaging in one of these program options with that focus in mind.

Each year, Girl Scouts of all levels can earn their Global Action Award. This award connects the WAGGGS sisterhood by helping girls work together to make a difference on a topic that affects girls and women all over the world. It’s an official national award, so girls can wear it just like a badge on the front of their vest or sash. See how to earn yours.
The Sow What? Journey is all about food—how and where it’s grown, harvested, processed, distributed, and consumed—and why it matters. Seniors share their knowledge and host a farmers market, inspire others to eat locally, or plan a community vegetable garden.

In GIRLtopia, Seniors develop their own vision of an ideal world and acquire the skills to make it a reality. By exploring women in history, interviewing inspiring mentors, or creating a short film, girls learn real-life lessons while building a brighter future.

The reality is, in many parts of the world, it is hard for girls to go to school and finish their education whether due to poverty, lack of school, or cultural factors. We believe every girl deserves the chance to get an education and Girl Scouts are taking the lead to make it happen. Join us. 

Do you know a Girl Scout who is taking action to address issues related to poverty?  Encourage her take the Girl Scout Challenge for a chance to win a $500 scholarship sponsored by Metlife Foundation and yes, even the youngest Girl Scouts are eligible to participate. Learn more. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

This G.I.R.L is Tackling Income and Education Inequality in Bhutan

Today, in celebration of International Day of the Girl, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) announced its 2016 National Young Women of Distinction—10 young women from around the country whose efforts reflect extraordinary leadership.

As background, each year GSUSA honors 10 Girl Scouts as National Young Women of Distinction, selected from the thousands of exceptional young women in grades 9–12 who earn their Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. National Young Women of Distinction transform an idea and vision for change into an actionable plan with measurable, sustainable, and far-reaching impact at the local, national, and global levels. From creating an original comic book to support siblings of individuals with special needs, to developing a mock diagnostic activity to help young people learn about Ebola, the actions of these girls show how they’re taking the lead to solve today’s pressing issues, both in the United States and around the globe.

Each of the National Young Women of Distinction's projects exemplify the extraordinary leadership, grit, and collaborative efforts of Gold Award recipients as they lead the Girl Scout way, like a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™. Approximately 5 percent of all Girl Scouts earn their Gold Award each year—and just 10 girls in this already high-achieving group are honored as National Young Women of Distinction!

Meet Hanna Chuang, the first  G.I.R.L we're featuring in our ten part 2016 National Young Women of Distinction series.

Hanna, a Girl Scout from USA Girl Scouts Overseas, was inspired and motivated to take action through her experience living overseas in Singapore, where she noticed the stark income inequality that existed in neighboring countries like Bhutan. In her sophomore year of high school, Hanna partnered with a small NGO to cofound a service club called READ (Rural Education and Development) Bhutan. Club members constructed a READ center in a rural village in the Haa Valley of Bhutan, and Hanna collected and donated 3,200 books to the center. She also developed a school-sponsored trip that now takes 20 students and 2 supervising faculty members to Bhutan for one week every year, to engage in service at the READ centers as well as cultural experiences.

Earning the Gold Award and receiving scholarships are just two of the incredible opportunities girls have through Girl Scouts. To join Girl Scouts and find out more about the Gold Award and National Young Women of Distinction, visit and
Saturday, October 8, 2016

Hear It from a Girl Scout: Putting the G.I.R.L. in Girl Scout Convention

Following is an account from Shannon (Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast) of the G.I.R.L 2017 Girl Planning Team kickoff meeting in July 2016. 
This past May, I received an email from my troop leader sharing an amazing opportunity I had never heard of before. GSUSA was looking for 20 or so girls from around the country to help plan G.I.R.L. 2017, location Columbus, Ohio. I applied and got in, not knowing exactly what I was getting into. I thought this group was planning an event (on a smallish scale) that would be open to Girl Scouts from all over the country. Cool! I was pretty excited. I would get to go to Ohio and New York to help plan and meet new people—right up my alley.

Team-building ropes course

We started on the Internet, with virtual meetings every month to prepare us for the work. I got to know some names and faces of the 20 other girls I would be working with over the next year and a half, but it wasn’t until July that I finally realized the extent of G.I.R.L. 2017.

The retreat itself proved to be fantastic. We toured the convention center where [the event] will be held, and suddenly it all seemed real.

Our main job was to begin the process of planning this, as [I learned it will be], huge event. A lot of our time was spent in a conference room at the hotel, listening to presentations and brainstorming ideas. We toured COSI (Center of Science and Industry), too, where we hope to hold the largest museum sleepover ever. (I’m talking Guinness world record here).

The Greater Columbus Convention Center

Tour of COSI

The kickoff is here. It’s happening—and we are on the case. G-TEAM, as we like to be called, is made up of 21 girls from all over the U.S.: Ohio, Michigan, Arizona, California, Virginia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Texas, Delaware, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

We have one mission: to make G.I.R.L. 2017 the best and biggest girl-led event in the history of time.

Save the date now for G.I.R.L 2017
Friday, October 7, 2016

Girl Scouts and Netflix Are Joining Forces in a Big Way!

The cast of Project Mc² greets Girl Scouts at Netflix HQ.
From left to right: Belle Shouse (Ember), Ysa Penarejo (Camryn), Victoria Vida (Adrienne), Genneya Walton (Bryden), and Mika Abdalla (McKeyla). 

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and Netflix are joining forces to empower young girls to envision their futures in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Centered on Project Mc², a Netflix original series from MGA Entertainment Inc., the collaboration takes STEM beyond the small screen with hands-on experiences for Girl Scout troops and the debut of a STEM Superstars Guide (PDF), an online resource that encourages Girl Scouts across the country to discover just how exciting, fun, and rewarding STEM can be.

Girl Scouts Interim CEO Sylvia Acevedo and actress Bella Shouse talk to Girl Scouts about STEM.

This week we kicked off our new collaboration in a BIG way! Girl Scout troops from Silicon Valley, representing Girl Scouts of Northern California, were invited to Netflix headquarters to hear from real-world STEM experts (including reps from Google, Instagram, Intel, and Twitter!) and learn how their pursuits in STEM fields led to unexpected and rewarding careers.

The Girl Scouts also got a sneak peek of season three of Project Mc², talked with the cast, and put their own STEM skills to the test through two hands-on experiments inspired by the show (season 1, episode 2). Specifically, the girls were challenged to create their own volcanic eruption using household items, and to build a robot out of a soda can!

Girl Scouts try their hands at the Soda Can Robot experiment by Project Mc². 

Despite initial interest in STEM fields, nearly 50 percent of girls feel that STEM isn’t a typical career path for them—and their interest fades as they move through middle and high school. Showing girls how STEM subjects are woven throughout their everyday lives and introducing them to STEM enthusiasts like the cast of Project Mc², Girl Scouts’ new Helping Girls Become STEM Superstars guide provides Girl Scout volunteers nationwide with the tools they need to keep girls’ passion and curiosity for STEM subjects alive. And our guide offers something for everyone with girls in their lives, showing just how easy it is to make STEM matter for girls—through conversation starters, troop activities, and examples of STEM role models. Check it out!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

How taking healthy risks in life helped me succeed!

Featuring Guest Blogger Megan Alexander

I’ve always enjoyed taking on a challenge, but that doesn’t mean I always succeed at everything I try. I have come to really appreciate my failures, because most of the time, they’ve led to better opportunities and experiences that I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t failed at the thing I thought I wanted in the first place. This has allowed me to view failure in a completely new way – instead of being upset, I view every failure as an opportunity for improvement. And not only has embracing failure as a learning opportunity helped me learn new skills and confidence, but this approach has even been proven with research! Studies have shown that embracing failure as a learning opportunity can improve all aspects of young girls’ lives, particularly academics. That’s why I am so excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with Girl Scouts. As a Girl Scout, you have a safe space to try new things and take healthy risks—the possibilities for what you can accomplish are endless.

When I was growing up, there were a few times where things didn’t quite go as I had expected.  From a very young age, I loved to act and would try out for roles in every play I could. Sometimes I got the part, but most often I didn’t.  When I first started getting turned down for roles, I would get discouraged, but over time, this experience taught me how to pick myself up and keep working hard. It actually resulted in some great opportunities in films and TV later in life, and I still credit my middle school days for it! And just when I was about to quit, a door opened and I got a part. I was thankful I had auditioned so many times before, because those failures propelled me to be resilient, try even harder the next time, and never give up.

Another great example happened when I was in high school and tried out for the varsity basketball team, the “cool” sport at my school. I gave it my all, but in the end I was devastated when I didn’t make the cut. I still wanted to get involved with sports, however - I just needed to pursue a “Plan B” by trying out for the volleyball team instead. I made the team and ended up loving it! Not only did I enjoy playing the sport, but I also made some of the strongest friendships I had with the other girls on that volleyball team. Our coach was a wonderful role model and taught me many valuable life lessons about competition, teamwork and the power of a positive attitude. I’m still grateful I took the risk to try out for basketball but didn’t make the team, even though I was convinced that it would be the best thing for me, because I learned to persevere and pursue new challenges. Sometimes your “Plan B” ends up working out better than the original plan, which only comes after taking a risk.

Getting involved with the Girl Scouts offers amazing opportunities to take healthy risks, try new things, and learn to succeed through failure—an approach that I know has been an important driver in my own success, and has been proven to help girls lead better lives. My new book "Faith in the Spotlight" discusses many of the challenges I’ve encountered and how they’ve helped me achieve success and build a fulfilling life. I encourage Girl Scouts and young women everywhere to dive into every opportunity head first and take healthy risks. You will be glad you did!

Megan Alexander is a national news correspondent for Inside Edition and the author of “Faith in the Spotlight – Thriving in Your Career While Staying True to Your Beliefs” (Simon & Schuster, October 2016). Connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.