Tuesday, May 26, 2015

#TroopTuesday: Troop 20033 Sheds Light on Unrealistic Beauty Standards

One of the biggest problems young girls and women face today is the expectation placed upon them to look “perfect.” With the media pushing unrealistic body images through heavily altered photos and videos, girls are constantly facing pressure to be thinner, resulting in major insecurities by the time they reach middle school. Just imagine how serious this matter gets by the time these girls reach high school! Thankfully, four Girl Scouts from York, Pennsylvania Troop 20033 took a stand to shed light on this troubling issue.

The Girl Scouts—Gillian DeWit, 16, and Madison Reinsel, Maria Hilbert, and Sarah Philbin, all 15—were honored recently with the Senior Visionary Award for their project, which shed light on how the media affects girls' body images and encourages other young girls to celebrate their bodies rather than compare them unfavorably to what they see in magazines and on television and the Internet.

The project requires Girl Scouts to develop an artistic representation of their ideal world, for which Troop 20033 made a 16-minute film, "The Perception."

They conducted research for the short film by interviewing students from Stevenson University and other Girl Scouts about their perceptions of the relationship between the media and body image. They found that, while young adults are aware of how much photos in the media are altered, young girls aren't.

The girls had one of their first opportunities to make a difference when, inspired by their research findings, they hosted a body image workshop for fourth- and fifth-grade girls.

"Even though the media is changing girls' perceptions, there is still time to turn it around and make people see their self-worth," Madison said of her project.

To fulfill the service portion of the project, Troop 20033 volunteered at New Life for Girls, a residential nonprofit that helps restore self-worth in women recovering from addiction and other life-controlling issues. The girls also held a movie night and bonfire—complete with s'mores, a campfire sing-along, and a discussion on the benefits of being a Girl Scout—for the women's children.

"Volunteering was the most rewarding part," Maria said. "We were helping others and making their lives better. It is what Girl Scouts is about."

The girls became role models  for younger girls in their community, and they had more advice to share after they finished the project.

"Don't be afraid to try new things and be the biggest person you can be," Gillian said regarding her award.

The award is available to ninth- and tenth-graders whose projects present real-life opportunities to make a positive difference in other girls' lives. Congratulations to the girls of Troop 20033 for planting the seed of positive body imaging, thus earning the Senior Visionary Award and impacting the lives of many young girls.

Read the original article from the York Dispatch here.
Friday, May 22, 2015

Celebrate Memorial Day the Girl Scout Way!

(photo credit: Heartwarming Authors)

Memorial Day has come to be recognized as the official kickoff to another great summer. It’s the day we all get to break out the shorts, swimsuits, and sandals and fire up our grills, cannonball into pools, and celebrate the sunny days that lie ahead.

But more importantly, this national holiday is a day of reflection, when we remember the men and women who died while serving our country in the U.S. military. Just as you abide by the Girl Scout Promise—“On my honor, I will try: To serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law”—U.S. servicemen and servicewomen do the same on a broader scale, swearing an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Girl Scouts has a longstanding tradition of honoring these heroes. So if you don’t have plans already and need some good ideas for how to commemorate Memorial Day, we’ve got you covered.

Why not start out the day by participating in your community’s Memorial Day Parade? You can wave your flags high and march forward with honor wearing your Girl Scout uniform. 

And if your town has a monument honoring those who have served, have your troop make wreathes and hold a ceremony to place those wreathes at the monument.

Another idea is to get your troop together and work on a cooking badge, such as the Junior Simple Meal badge or the Ambassador Dinner Party badge, by planning a BBQ for the girls in your troop and their family members.

Or you can keep things simple and spend the day with your family and friends enjoying the outdoors and reflecting on the patriotic commitment of our brave men and women in uniform. Whether you fly the flag or dress up in red, white, and blue, make this Memorial Day meaningful in the Girl Scout way. This weekend, let’s honor all of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for all Americans.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Girl Scouts in D.C. with Troop Capitol Hill

Today is a big day for Girl Scouts in Washington D.C.  Not only are we officially welcoming all the new members of the 114th Congress to Troop Capitol Hill, Girl Scouts’ honorary Congressional Girl Scout Troop made up of all female members of the United States Congress, but today also marks the first time our National Board President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan will meet with our leaders in Congress as the highest ranking member of the Girl Scout Movement.

Troop Capitol Hill connects Girl Scouts everywhere with their leaders in Congress, and each troop member serves as a role model for girls across America. By participating in initiatives like our Portraits in Leadership series of interviews, Troop Capitol Hill members make themselves available to girls, offering them the guidance and support they need to move ahead in the world.

Today is also special because Troop Capitol Hill, and other members of Congress in attendance, will get to meet one of our outstanding girls who aspires to follow in their footsteps: Girl Scout Gold Award recipient Lauren Prox, from Virginia’s Girl Scout Council of the Colonial Coast.

Lauren will share the impact of Girl Scouts on her life, the importance of serving as a role model, and how, through her own work in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), she is serving as a mentor for future generations. Lauren earned her Gold Award for a STEM project she created involving a series of workshops and workbooks for young girls who are interested in the mechanics of flight.

When Lauren takes the podium today, it will be as both mentor and mentee, and her story will inspire the Congressional leaders in the room, and give them a glimpse of what Girl Scouts is really all about. As an aspiring leader who wants to one day hold elected office herself, she will be standing among the men and women whose ranks she hopes to one day join.  That is the awesome power of Girl Scouts!
Friday, May 15, 2015

Honoring Cathy Coughlin, National Board Member

It is with profound sorrow that Girl Scouts of the USA announces the passing of Cathy M. Coughlin, a longtime member of the National Board of Directors. She died April 23 after a battle with cancer. She was 57.

Cathy proudly served on the National Board of Girl Scouts of the USA for seven years. In everything she did, she embodied all the qualities of a true Girl Scout—loyalty, passion, leadership, and a commitment to making the world a better place. She made an impact through her work at both the national level and at Girl Scouts Northeast Texas. Her heart and passion for our mission shone most clearly when she was spending time among the girls our Movement serves.

Through her role as the most senior woman in a leadership position at AT&T, Cathy was a role model for girls. As chief marketing officer, she was responsible for crafting the company’s image as a mobile technology leader, and she personally launched AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign to end texting while driving. 

A Girl Scout alumna, Cathy was a tireless advocate for girls. She imagined a future in which more women sat on corporate boards and more girls pursued degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). She saw Girl Scouts as one way to ensure this future. Thanks to her leadership, AT&T invested over $2 million in Girl Scout programming during her time on the board. This investment included one of the largest gifts ever made to Girl Scouts of the USA toward STEM programming, benefitting the Imagine Your STEM Future program. This successful collaboration reached thousands of girls across the country, many of them from underserved communities, with activities designed to help them see themselves pursuing a STEM career. 

The board will miss Cathy’s presence at our table, where she was a tireless advocate for girls. She never wavered in her strong belief that any decision made by the National Board be guided by a simple principle: we owe our girls a big vision for the future. Her light, indefatigable energy, force of character, courageous leadership, and gigantic heart will always be remembered by everyone whose life she touched.

Cathy M. Coughlin was born on July 2, 1957, in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Eugene and Laura Coughlin. She is survived by her mother, Laura; her four brothers Kevin Coughlin, Jim Coughlin, Dan Coughlin, and Mick Coughlin; her sister Mary Coughlin Shillinger, and 11 nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Cathy’s memory to the Dallas Women's Foundation, Girl Scouts of the USA, Northwestern University-Catherine M. Coughlin Summer Internship Fund, Rosati Kain High School, or a charity of your choice.
Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Meaning of "Serving All Girls"

Guest Post by Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Ph.D., Chief Girl Expert, GSUSA

Girl Scouts has valued and supported all girls since our inception in 1912. There is not one type of girl. Every girl's sense of self, path to it, and how she is supported is unique.

The foundation of diversity that Juliette Gordon Low established runs throughout Girl Scouting to this day. Our mission to build "girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place" extends to all members, and through our program, girls develop the necessary leadership skills to advance diversity and promote tolerance.

If a girl is recognized by her family, school and community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe.  Inclusion of transgender girls is handled at a council level on a case by case basis, with the welfare and best interests of all members as a top priority.

As we face a complex and rapidly changing 21st century, our nation needs all girls to reach their full potential, which has been our focus for more than 103 years.