Friday, January 20, 2017

8 Times Girl Scouts Teamed Up with the Obama Administration to Change the World

This amazing work benefited not just girls, but all of us. Here are some of the important issues we addressed together.

1. Girls’ Education, Globally 

Girl Scouts partnered with First Lady Michelle Obama on Let Girls Learn, a government initiative to ensure all girls have access to a quality education and the tools they need to reach their potential. As a result, 2 million Girl Scouts have the opportunity to flex their leadership muscle to advance girls’ education around the world. 

2. Healthy Media Messaging for Girls and Women

Girl Scouts met with state representatives on Capitol Hill to push for legislation calling for more empowered depictions in the media of girls and women. After all, if you can’t see it, it’s a lot harder to be it. 

3. Caring for Our Environment

We’re pretty sure the Girl Scouts who were lucky enough to attend the first-ever White House campout will never forget First Lady Michelle Obama’s words on the importance of preserving our world and the benefits of getting outdoors—or all the fun they had singing campfire songs with the president himself! 

4. Computer Science Skills for All

Girl Scouts were thrilled to take part in the White House Summit on Computer Science for All, where they discussed ways to introduce more girls to the world of coding and technology. They even got to 
show off the sweet video games they’d made!

5. Celebrating Contributions of Girls and Women

Members of Girl Scouts’ Honorary Troop Capitol Hill, plus more than 200 leaders from government, the military, and academia came together to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts’ highest award and to recognize the amazing girls and women who’ve earned it over the past century.

6. Female Representation in Government

When a study by the Girl Scout Research Institute revealed that fewer than 4 in 10 girls have an interest in pursuing a political career, we took action. How? By encouraging Girl Scouts to interview congresswomen from their respective states to learn what it takes to lead in our country—and why it’s such a worthy pursuit. Check out the Portraits in Leadership series to see it for yourself!

7. Female-Friendly Healthcare

When President Obama was drafting the Affordable Care Act, members of the Girl Scout Movement helped shape provisions that specifically address girls’ health. Healthy, happy girls? Pretty sure that’s something we can all get behind. 

8. Scientific Innovation

How could any of us forget “the Supergirls,” a troop of six-year-old Daisies from Eastern Oklahoma who brought their page-turning robot to the White House Science Fair. And that moment they asked President Obama if he’d ever come up with anything good in a brainstorming session? Priceless. 

As we look back on some awesome times we’ve, we extend a hug, and BIG thank you to the inimitable Michelle Obama for serving for eight productive years as Girl Scouts’ honorary national president. And to her husband: as promised, we will continue to champion our legislative agenda, taking the lead to advance leadership opportunities for girls—a.k.a. the leaders of tomorrow!
Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Inauguration Day: Reflecting on Girl Scouts’ History of Civic Action

On Friday, January 20, approximately 75 Girl Scouts from the Nation’s Capital council will voluntarily march in the 2017 Presidential Inaugural Parade, as the council has done over the past 100 years. As part of this unique experience, these girls will gain insight into the time-honored democratic tradition of a peaceful transition of power. Then, the very next day, Saturday, January 21, women and girls, including Girl Scouts, from across the country will descend on Washington to participate in the Women's March and similar events in communities across the country.

At Girl Scouts, our Movement is made up of individuals who hold political beliefs and convictions as varied as our nation itself. And because every girl has a home at Girl Scouts, every girl in our Movement is allowed her own ideas, opinions, beliefs, and political ideology. Our fundamental value is empowering girls to be leaders in their own lives. By helping them build the courage, confidence, and character to lift their voices, champion their views, and be advocates for the issues and ideas important to them, Girl Scouts supports girls as they become catalysts for change who strengthen their communities.

Of course, we are a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that by law cannot take positions on political candidates or parties—and we take this very seriously.

At Girl Scouts it’s our goal to help girls be empowered, and we support them as they raise their voices to lead, every day. Girl Scouts have lent their voices to the fight for racial equality, advocated for a clean environment, invested in those less fortunate, and so much more. Girl Scouts also have a long history of taking the lead to create change by engaging in civic action. Empowering girls to forge their own paths and take action in their own lives is at the center of everything we do.

Being a leader means having a seat at the leadership table no matter what. It means being willing to work with whomever happens to hold political power. It means preparing girls not to run from the face of adversity, but to stand tall and proud and announce to the world, and the powers that be, that they are a force to be reckoned with, and that their needs, ideas, and views must be taken seriously. To do otherwise is to tell girls to sit down and be quiet—and that they don’t count.

Advocating for change on issues one cares about isn’t at odds with participating in a century-long tradition that represents the peaceful exchange of power.

Leadership. That’s what it means to be a Girl Scout. Leadership is why the impact of Girl Scouts remains so long after a girl leaves our Movement. So as we swear in the 45th president of the United States, it only seems fitting to celebrate more than a century of Girl Scout civic action.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Stretching to New Girl Scout Heights: Are you ready to grow this World Thinking Day?

When you’re a Girl Scout, you’re part of so much more than one troop, one community, one geography, and that’s part of what makes this journey so unique and so life-changing. Because when you’re a Girl Scout, you’re part of a very special, very expansive network of extraordinary girls and women that spans all the way across the world. And every single one is a force to be reckoned with. Whether she’s in the United States, Italy, Japan, or anywhere in between, one thing’s for sure. She’s a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ and she’s out to change the world—it’s in our DNA and it’s something to celebrate!

And celebrate we do—every year on February 22 Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from 146 countries (yes, 146!) observe World Thinking Day (WTD) by rallying our global sisterhood around a particular theme, and supporting girls as they travel internationally by donating to the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund. It’s a fantastic way to connect with sister Girl Guides and take action globally. World Thinking Day gives us the chance to honor the incredible depth of our Movement across borders and oceans in a big way.

The 2017 World Thinking Day theme is “grow”—inspiring girls to explore, stretch, and take on new challenges, while celebrating what it means to be part of the global sisterhood that is Girl Scouts and Girl Guides.

Here are three ideas to get you geared up for your most impactful World Thinking Day yet. Remember, this year, it’s all about stepping out of those comfort zones and finding new and unexpected ways to grow, grow, grow. But hey. You’re a Girl Scout, so you’ve got this!

1  Earn your 2017 World Thinking Day badge!

If you’re a Daisy, Brownie, or Junior, you can earn your 2017 World Thinking Day badge by growing in “shine” and friendship, or by taking action to address something that’s important to you, like making your very own badge or planting a “worldly” garden.

And if you’re a Cadette, Senior, or Ambassador, you can earn your award by growing in storytelling, adventure, service, self-awareness, and reflection, or by making your very own badge.

2      Make your environment bloom! Plant a tree as part of the 2017 World Thinking Day challenge.

As Girl Scouts and Girl Guides, building a better world through environmental stewardship has always been close to our hearts. This World Thinking Day gather your troop and your gardening supplies and get outside to plant a tree, or two, or three! Then snap some fun photos of the activity and post them to your social media with the hashtags #LetsGrow and #WTD2017. Let’s show the world how Girl Scouts are taking the lead to make the environment bloom! It will be fun to see how your fellow Girl Scouts around the world stepped up to the challenge.

3      Decide on three new things to try with your Girl Scout friends in 2017 and map out your plan of action!

At Girl Scouts, growing is all about trying new things, challenging yourself to embark on adventures, and learning from those experiences to create meaningful change in yourself and in the world.

What better way to celebrate World Thinking Day this year than to gather around with your Girl Scout friends and decide on three new things you will commit to trying together? Whether it’s getting involved in a service project you’ve never done before, visiting a park you’re not familiar with, taking a big trip, learning a new skill, or just challenging yourselves to try a sport you haven’t played yet—there’s so much to choose from.

Once you pick three things, spend some time mapping out a plan of action along with a timeline to make sure you try all three things before 2017 is over. Now, that’s a year full of growth to look forward to!

Have your own fun plans to celebrate World Thinking Day in 2017? Make sure to inspire your fellow Girl Scouts by sharing your plans on social media with the hashtag #WTD2017. We can’t wait to see what you’ve got in store!
Friday, January 13, 2017

Dorothy Vaughan: Meet the G.I.R.L.s Behind ‘Hidden Figures’

Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson, and Mary Jackson are the real-life go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and leaders of Hidden Figures, story of the African American women mathematicians behind some of NASA’s greatest victories. Follow along as we honor each of these inspiring women who broke through countless barriers around race, gender, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Dorothy Vaughan—the Go-getter 

Dorothy Vaughan, Lessie Hunter, and Vivian Adair - the "Human Computers." Image via NASA

“I changed what I could, and what I couldn’t, I endured.”

Dorothy Vaughan was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1910. Her mother passed away when she was only two years old and her father soon remarried. Her stepmother became a driving force for Dorothy’s education, teaching her to read before she entered school, which allowed Dorothy to advance two grades. At age eight, her father moved her family to Morgantown, West Virginia, where she eventually attended the Beechhurst School. Her hard work earned her valedictorian honors and a full scholarship to Wilberforce University, the country’s oldest private African American college. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at the
age of 19.

Dorothy Vaughan.
Image via the Human Computer Project
Dorothy soon set her sights on graduate studies at Howard University. Instead, because she felt she had a responsibility to help her family during the Great Depression, she took a job as a teacher—a difficult search during an economic turndown when school systems were slowly being shut. Eventually, Dorothy settled in Farmville, Virginia, where she met and married her husband, Howard, and had four children. Always fearing for her family’s future, Dorothy never turned down a chance to earn and save money. So, when she read an article announcing a search for African American women to fill mathematical jobs, she was intrigued.

In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802 prohibiting racial discrimination in the national defense industry—including the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), now National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Thanks to the executive order, Dorothy was one of the first African American women to be hired as a NACA mathematician and was assigned to the West Area Computers group.

Dorothy was responsible for calculating computations for engineers to help them conduct aeronautical experiments in wind tunnels—all to improve space flight accuracy. By 1949, Dorothy had become the first African American supervisor at NACA (even though the official title was not given to her until years later). She was responsible for teaching new concepts to new and existing employees—Katherine Johnson was once assigned to Dorothy’s group prior to her transfer to Langley’s Flight Mechanics Division. This position gave Dorothy visibility and allowed her to advocate for female employees, both African American and white, who deserved promotions or raises.

Dorothy Vaughan. Image via Daily Press
When NACA became NASA, Dorothy joined the Analysis and Computation Division where she did some of the first computer programming and became proficient in coding languages. These skills helped her earn a place with the Scout Launch Vehicle Program, one of the country’s most successful launch vehicles, capable of sending 385-pound satellites into orbit. Near the end of her career, Dorothy, along with Mary Jackson, had the opportunity to work closely with Katherine Johnson again to launch astronaut John Glenn into orbit—a turning point in the global space race.

Despite her efforts, Dorothy never received another management role before she retired in 1971, but that didn’t stop this go-getter! She consistently advocated for herself and her peers and accepted any challenge that came her way. She was the leader that the West Area Computers and NASA needed to make some of most incredible space adventures in history successful.
Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Girls’ Choice Badges Are Back: Voting Is Open Through January 22!

At Girl Scouts, girl-led programming that speaks to and nurtures girls’ interests and skills (they have so many!) is at the very core of our mission to build girls of courage, confidence, and character. At every turn, we want her to know the world is hers, and so we give her countless opportunities to unleash that inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ who will take the lead to change her world, and ours.

That’s exactly why Girls’ Choice badges are back, and we’re so excited! This year, girls can choose their favorite badge topic from four new and exciting options. And for the very first time, there will be a Girls’ Choice badge for our littlest (and sometimes mightiest!) Girl Scouts. That’s right—Daisies will get a Girls’ Choice badge of their very own. Yes!

Here are this year’s choices.
Troop Camping
Outdoor Cooking

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)
Water Around Us
The Secret Life of Plants

The poll is officially open, so go on and vote now for your favorite badge topic. Voting is open through January 22. We can hardly stand the suspense! 

Once the winning topic is selected, girls will also have a chance to vote on the design of their badge—awesome! The design poll will be open from February 13 to 17, so stay tuned.

For now, we ask you to encourage every Girl Scout you know to vote, vote, vote. We need every adult standing with us to make sure girls take advantage of this very important opportunity to create their own Girl Scout experience and make their voices heard. It’s such an important part of the magic and leadership potential that Girl Scouts unleashes in girls every day.

The time to vote is now.