Friday, March 16, 2018

Girl Scouts' 106th Birthday Celebration - Special Remarks by Margaret Seiler

For 106 years of age, our Movement just gets stronger and more impactful with time.

On Monday, March 12, Girl Scouts proudly celebrated its 106th birthday as the premier leadership development institution for girls in the world. We marked this important milestone with festivities (complete with delicious, trademark Girl Scout Green cake and cupcakes, of course!) at Girl Scout Central, kicked off by CEO Sylvia Acevedo. And joining Sylvia for our celebration was Margaret Seiler, the great niece of our founder, Juliette Gordon Low.

We were very privileged to have Margaret in attendance, as she offered a reflective connection to our roots and history. In honor of the occasion, we wanted to share Margaret’s remarks from the event:

Good afternoon. I’d like to thank Sylvia for inviting me to celebrate with all of you on the birthday of Girl Scouts. In loving memory of my mother, who was Juliette Gordon Low’s youngest niece, and in honor of my own two daughters, I am happy to be here today.

Juliette―or Aunt Daisy, as my mother always called her―was known for her quirky, headstrong personality and her fierce determination. I love the story of her making sure the garden party she hosted for my Aunt Mary Stuart was perfect. When the weather turned cold and there were no blooms on her camellia bushes, she ran around Savannah asking people if she could cut blossoms off their bushes, then tied them on to her own! And of course she refused to hear no for an answer when soliciting help and funds in the early days of Girl Scouts. Whether it was her poor hearing or just her determination to always hear yes, we’ll never know.

Daisy was blessed with a loving family, a good education, and financial security. She also suffered from the death of a beloved sister, a childless and unhappy marriage, and severe hearing loss. But she didn’t let any obstacles stop her. I find it so inspiring that in middle age—as a 52-year-old widow—she found her real passion! I believe today that Daisy serves as a role model not only for girls but also for women of all ages. She showed us that it’s never too late to harness all our experiences in creation of something meaningful.

One-hundred-and-six years ago today, in 1912, Daisy founded Girl Scouts. To put that in context, American women were still six years away from gaining the right to vote. And though it took even more years for women of color to gain that right, I know that Daisy meant it when she said Girl Scouts was “for all the girls.” Her belief that girls should have the same opportunities as boys―to be athletic, learn about the great outdoors, and prepare for all sorts of careers—came naturally to her. She came from a long line of strong women, such as her grandmother, Juliette Kinzie, who wrote and published three books in the 1800s.

Please know that my family cares deeply about nurturing and maintaining our Aunt Daisy’s history and legacy. And because we believe in Girl Scouts’ mission of female empowerment and inclusivity, we thank you for all the work you do in service of girls everywhere.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Weekly Girl Scout Gold Award Spotlight

Check out this week’ s sampling of go-getting, innovating, risk-taking Gold Award Girl Scouts—young women who know what it means to lead with true G.I.R.L. spirit!

Michaela, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois 

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Michaela organized a summer game program at her local Boys & Girls Club, providing supplies to keep the program running for years to come. The inspiration for her project involved a family vacation—and lots of board games! “I did research on games and found that they can help kids learn so many different social skills,” she shared. So Michaela worked with Boys & Girls Club staff to create detailed lesson plans addressing things like sharing, how to win and lose graciously, strategic thinking, and sportsmanship, and taking into account how children generally learn best. And she was able to donate 50 games to the Boys & Girls Club through a collection drive—games available to kids from families that may not have the means to purchase board games. Way to offer the gift of educational play community-wide, Michaela!

Learn more about Michaela’s project. 

Anisa, Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma

In the rural community Anisa lives in, students don’t have much access to STEM programming. This
limited access and resulting lower interest in STEM subjects have shown to be detrimental to older students at Anisa’s local high school as they apply for college and scholarships and determine their career paths. That’s where Anisa’s Girl Scout Gold Award project came in. To complete her project, she created, for sixth-graders, math games inspired by everyday classroom activities. As part of the program, students played fraction games with pizza slices and building blocks, and explored the many applications of STEM during various daily tasks. Anisa has arranged for the program to continue after she leaves the school, including through packets that can be checked out of the library and applied to other grades. Way to take the lead on STEM education locally, Anisa!

Hannah, Girl Scouts of Central Indiana

Inspired by a scrapbook she’d made for her grandmother as her health declined, for her Girl Scout Gold Award project Hannah created memory scrapbooks for residents at a local nursing home. To help them reconnect with lost memories as well as help staff get to know more about their residents, the scrapbooks included photos from each resident’s life, as well as printouts of their favorite foods, hobbies, vacations, and jobs, as well as family information—and they’ve become precious heirlooms for grieving families once their loved ones have passed. To keep her Gold Award project going, Hannah provided the staff with pre-decorated scrapbook pages and supplies to create scrapbooks for new residents for years to come.

Learn more about Hannah’s scrapbooks.

Lauryn, Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast

For her Girl Scout Gold Award project, Lauryn hit the green.With a passion for golf and a desire to help her community, she arranged for a fully accessible putting green to be installed at a local senior center. Lauryn’s new putting green allows residents to easily partake in a favorite hobby, and beyond that, golf-related activities have been shown to benefit patients exhibiting early signs of dementia. Lauryn even arranged for mother-daughter teams from a local league to regularly visit the center and assist the seniors with putting.

Learn more about Lauryn’s Golf FORE Gold.

Gold Award Girl Scouts are recipients of one of the most prestigious awards in the world for girls. By the time they put the final touches on their seven-step projects, they’ll have addressed a significant problem in their community—not only in the short term, but with a plan to sustain the work for years into the future. They’re also eligible for college scholarships and to enter the military one rank higher than non–Gold Award Girl Scouts.

Got a Girl Scout Gold Award story to share? Send the details and relevant photos to for a chance to have it featured.

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.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Meet the Mobilized Generation: Taking Action

Guest post by Sylvia Acevedo, GSUSA CEO
 Girl Scouts visited the Georgia state capitol in force in February to make their voices heard. Girls spoke with legislators and signed a wall in support of naming a bridge in Savannah after Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low. 

As students across Florida and throughout America organize to take action to change our world, I’ve been hearing that some people are surprised by the poise and passion these kids and teens display as they advocate for the changes they want to see. Some have been astounded that these young people could be so determined and mobilized.

They must not know many kids of this generation. As the CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, one of the largest youth leadership organizations in the world, I have a front row seat to what is going on with today’s young people across the country. Yes, they are glued to their screens, but they're not simply using those mobile phones to play Candy Crush—far from it. They're using technology to learn, to communicate, and yes, to mobilize.

Girl Scouts of the USA CEO, Sylvia Acevedo
Today’s youth may not be able to vote, but that doesn’t stop them from thinking critically about the world around them, how to improve it and then doing something about it.

Last summer, Girl Scout Juniors in Oregon got a law changed, allowing legal rescue of children and pets from hot, locked cars. This year, a group of Girl Scout Cadettes got a law on the books in Colorado that helps protect minors from second-hand smoke. These are 10 and 13 year old girls proposing laws and getting them passed.

And there are so many more examples of Girl Scouts, who have taken action to change the laws or simply become involved in their communities to, as we say in Girl Scouts, “leave the campground better than you found it.”

Beyond anecdotes, the stats prove just how committed our young people are to taking action. A study conducted last year by the Girl Scout Research Institute showed that more than one in three American girls took part in civic engagement activities. That number goes up to 8 in 10 when those kids are Girl Scouts; which is why Girl Scouts remains one of the best and most effective organizations in the world to help girls unlock their potential. In the safe, all-girl, girl-led environment that Girl Scouts provide, girls are provided with the tools and the experience to take the lead, and demonstrate their capacity to change the world on issues they feel strongly about. Girl Scouts encourages, champions, and expects girls to take the lead – and those expectations are translated into action every day in our world.

Of course, it will take more than just girls…

Many kids in this generation think of themselves as being “woke” or aware of the challenges our society faces. However, these young people aren’t simply aware, they’re also tenacious, determined, strategic, and smart, and they’re ready to put in the work to fight for causes that impact their communities. Since they are taking action, they’re lighting a fire under each and every one of us to think harder, to reach higher, to do better. Instead of dismissing or discounting the efforts of the rising generation of youth, we are investing in them and encouraging them as they show a way forward.

That's what my colleagues and I—and the amazing Girl Scout volunteers across the country—do every single day, building girls of courage, confidence and courage who are making the world a better place. They know that they can change the world. In fact, they’re already doing it.

Through online civic engagement resources tailored for girls ages 5–17, it’s easier than ever to advance the G.I.R.L. Agenda and inspire the next generation of female leaders to become catalysts for change.

Do your part 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.

The G.I.R.L. Agenda Powered by Girl Scouts is a nonpartisan initiative to inspire, prepare, and mobilize girls and those who care about them to lead positive change through civic action.

This Pi Day, Celebrate the Ultimate Pi-oneer: Florence Nightingale

It’s Pi Day, when number fans over the world celebrate the much-loved mathematical constant 3.14 (the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter), which continues infinitely past its decimal point without pattern or repetition! In honor of this special day, we’re shouting out pi-oneer G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ Florence Nightingale.

Most people think of Florence as a nurse. But they don’t realize how she revolutionized modern healthcare and became the first woman to be inducted into the Royal Statistical Society. While working at a hospital during the Crimean War in 1853, Florence was appalled to find the facility unorganized and unsanitary, hardly a place where sick people could get better!

Florence decided to use her statistical skills to propose improved triage and sanitary procedures to reduce the high mortality rates. Using statistics and an innovative chart to depict the benefits of her proposed methods, she was able to convince the British government to implement her procedures to save lives. And wow did it pay off—through Florence’s influence, death rates in hospitals dropped from 42 percent to 2 percent!

Florence got her start in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) as a child growing up in England. Under her father’s guidance, she learned about and developed a passion for math and its many practices, particularly statistics. Some of her earliest tinkerings with numbers involved creating charts to organize a vegetable garden. Never one to sit on the sidelines, once she grew older, Florence blended her statistical skills with her nursing skills to develop more formalized nursing.

Motivated by her experience during the Crimean War, Florence continued to educate the public and others who practiced medicine by popularizing pie charts (no pun intended), which were new at the time and the perfect way to present statistical information simply and visually. In fact, she was one of the very first people who figured out how to innovatively depict numbers visually. She lived her entire life as a go-getter, innovator, risk-taker, and leader as she persistently sought to improve healthcare through hospital planning and professionalizing nursing as a career.

So if you happen to be celebrating Pi Day over a plate with a slice of your favorite pi-e, raise a fork in remembrance of Florence, whose innovative legacy of leadership and mathematical influence is as long-lasting as the numerals after 3.14!