Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How You Can Take Girls Off the Waiting List!

Every Girl Scout has the power to make a big difference—in her school, in her community, and in the world at large.

Today, 30,000 girls want to join a Girl Scout troop, but they are on waiting lists because there is a critical shortage of Girl Scout volunteers to offer the necessary support, encouragement, and guidance that all Girl Scouts need along the way.

Volunteers are the heart and soul of Girl Scouts— they are our everyday heroes. Volunteers enable girls to dream big and to realize that they’re capable of more than they ever imagined. And because volunteers play such a vital role in delivering the Girl Scout experience, they deserve top-notch resources and training, and all the support we can provide for them.

But right now, we’re facing a shortage of funds needed to identify, recruit, and train new volunteers.

That’s where you come in. Your investment will help us support new volunteers and bring the best to our 800,000 volunteers around the country. Whether they are moms, dads, college students, or Girl Scout alumnae, they need your support to empower the next generation of girls.

When you invest in Girl Scouts you’re helping us recruit and keep volunteers who impact the lives of countless girls by generously offering their time and talents.

After all, girls can’t change the world when they’re stuck on a waiting list.

Here are two steps you can take today to help increase the number of volunteers and bring the power of Girl Scouts to more girls:
  1. Invest in Girl Scouts locally or nationally and support volunteers across the country to reach even more girls! Give today at: www.girlscouts.org/invest
  2. Volunteer with Girl Scouts in your local area. Every adult who volunteers for Girl Scouts gives at least five more girls a chance to be a Girl Scout. Start today at: www.girlscouts.org/volunteer 
Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Girl Scouts Joins Intel on Capitol Hill to Reduce the Tech Gender Gap

Building on the release last week of a new Intel report that found “Making” can engage girls in computer science and engineering, Girl Scouts was proud to participate at a bipartisan Capitol Hill briefing focused on broadening the participation of girls and underrepresented minorities in the Maker Movement.

Emily Sullivan, a 16-year old Girl Scout from Nation’s Capital, shared her personal experiences with STEM and Maker activities, and how much Girl Scouts has enabled her interests.  While she was in middle school, Emily shared ideas about modifying the wheelchair for a friend with physical disabilities, intending to make it easier for her friend to participate in school activities. More recently, Emily spoke about how she enjoys attending the Advanced Space Academy camp over summer in Huntsville, Alabama with the Girl Scouts Destination program, where activities included electrolysis, creating ablative shields, filtration, and rocketry.  Emily emphasized that every girl in her Troop is a maker and that Girl Scouts encourages girls to be “makers” with the variety of activities and badges they complete.

Suzanne Harper, Chief Girl Experience Innovator at Girl Scouts of the USA, spoke on the panel about the results of a pilot program conducted with five Girl Scout councils.  In partnership with the Maker Education Initiative with support from Intel, the five councils recruited two young women to be Maker Corps Members.  Those young women helped 4th and 5th graders do Maker projects at summer camp.  Suzanne also shared an example from Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana , which has created MakerPlace, a dedicated STEM lab located at the Girl Scouts Louisville headquarters.  The council has partnered with the Kentucky Science Center, who provides expert volunteers and through this partnership, more than 200 youth have attended Maker workshops in the past year.

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) spoke about legislation she has introduced with the Girl Scouts to engage more girls and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields, and her support for Girl Scouts as co-chair of Troop Capitol Hill.  Congressmen Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Mark Takano (D-CA) who co-chair the Maker Caucus made remarks and the other panelists included Dr. Renne Wittemyer, Director of Social Innovation from Intel; Kylie Peplar, Assistant Professor of Learning Sciences & Director of The Creativity Labs at Indiana University Bloomington;  and Maura Marx, Deputy Director of Library Services, IMLS.

The Intel recent report, MakeHers: EngagingGirls and Women in Technology through Making, Creating, and Inventing, showed that girls enjoy do-it-yourself (DIY) projects and if they are engaged with making, designing, and creating things with electronic tools they will develop a stronger interest in STEM education.  Anna Maria Chávez, CEO for Girl Scouts of the USA, provided a foreword to the report.  
Thursday, November 13, 2014

Making Her Future: Girls and Women and the “Maker” Movement

Today Intel released a new report entitled, MakeHers: Engaging Girls and Women in Technology through Making, Creating and Inventing, which indicates that girls and women involved with “making,” designing and creating things with electronic tools may build stronger interest and skills in computer science and engineering. The report assesses the role of girls and women in the “maker movement”, a growing wave of tech-inspired, do-it-yourself innovation.

Created in consultation with experts including the Girl Scouts and Maker Education, the report aims to increase access to and interest in computer science and engineering, especially among girls and women and underrepresented minorities, where there remains a significant gap. The study’s findings are based on data from surveys in the US, China and Mexico of “makers”, parents and youth; participant observation and interviews with leading experts on Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM), gender, learning sciences, and the maker movement.

Girl Scouts of the USA cares deeply about the potential of girls and young women to make the world a better place. With their new report, Making Her Future: Girls and Women and the ”Maker” Movement as a Gateway to STEM, Intel is demonstrating how the Maker Movement has helped turn a generation of tech-savvy girls, nearly all of whom grew up in the digital age, into the leaders and entrepreneurs of the economy of tomorrow. 

Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Anna Maria Chávez voices her support for introducing girls to, and encouraging girls in, the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in the foreword of the Intel report:

“Our mission has always been to ensure girls are equipped with the tools, skills, and experiences that will enable them to go out into the world and make it a better place. At Girl Scouts, we are excited about the prospect of turning today’s girls into tomorrow’s makers—and leaders in the ever-diverse and endlessly expanding world of STEM.”

The 2012 report by the Girl Scout Research Institute, Generation STEM: What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math found that an impressive 74 percent of teen girls are interested in STEM fields, and 88 percent of girls want to make a difference in the world. Girls like being creative, asking questions about the world, and solving problems.

To get more girls engaged and involved in STEM activities, girls need more out-of-school opportunities to develop their skills and become confident in these subjects. Unfortunately, too few girls have these opportunities. Generation STEM found that only 27 percent of girls have participated in STEM activities outside of school. The good news is that Girl Scouts offers girls important opportunities to explore the fascinating and fun world of STEM for themselves. Whether they're discovering how a car's engine runs, how to manage finances, or how coding can address some of the world’s most pressing problems, girls are fast-forwarding into the future through Girl Scouts. 
Monday, November 10, 2014

Top 3 Reasons to Go on a Girl Scout Destination

  1. TO DO SOMETHING YOU NEVER THOUGHT YOU WOULD DO. Explore the sea on your first SCUBA dive. Master the technique of an astronaut simulator. Carry a canoe all on your own, with your new friends cheering you on. On Destinations trips, you get to try things you’ve always wanted to do—and do things you never imagined you would! There are so many different Destinations to explore that will offer the challenge you’ve been waiting for, whether it’s catching your first wave or producing your first film!

  2. TO EXPERIENCE A NEW CULTURE. Girl Scouts really ARE global. We love to get out there and connect with new people, try new food, and take in new sights, sounds, and stories.  And Destinations trips offer you a chance to use all that Spanish, Mandarin, and German you’ve been learning in school, too! On trips to China, Peru, Germany, and more, you can immerse yourself in a new culture—and learn about yourself and your own culture in the process.

  3. TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS FROM NEAR AND FAR! You’ll arrive at the airport as 17 different girls from different states and countries, but you’ll end your trip as lifelong members of the [insert your trip here!] Destinations Crew. Destinations trips are unique Girl Scout experiences because you travel with Girl Scouts from all over the US, and even with Girl Scouts from overseas. While you’re walking across Scotland, canoeing to Canada, or exploring Cape Town, you’ll also be making friends from places like Texas, Puerto Rico, and Guam. In short, the Destinations program is an awesome way to connect with your national and international Girl Scout sisters!

Explore our 2015Destinations. The deadline for the first round of applications is coming up VERY soon! Contact your council to find out about your specific deadlines.

(P.S. You don’t have to currently be a Girl Scout to take part in Destinations—you can become one when you apply! And if you have a friend who is interested in Destinations, tell her she, too, can register for Girl Scouts and apply for a trip!)