Thursday, March 31, 2011

What Nonprofits Can Learn from a Girl Scout Manual

The Philanthropic Family has a fantastic piece titled What Nonprofits Can Learn from a Girl Scout Manual. "Don’t laugh, but I’m the cookie mom for my daughter’s Daisy troop" says author Sharon Schneider. "There are still boxes of Thin Mints and Samoas in the corner of my living room..." Certainly a sentiment many folks out there can currently relate to. She continues, "We have to get rid of those extra boxes, and so I read some of the material provided by the Girl Scouts about site sales. What caught my eye was an admonition for the adults not to take over the activity."

What she is referring to is the 2010-2011 Girl Scout Product Activities Guide. It states: “Adults act as coaches who help girls develop leadership skills by using these three processes: Girl-led: Girls play an active part in figuring out the what, where, when, how, and why of their activities. They lead the planning and decision-making as much as possible. Learning by doing: Girls engage in continuous cycles of action and reflection that result in deeper understanding of concepts and mastery of practical skills. Cooperative learning: Girls work together toward shared goals in an atmosphere of respect and collaboration that encourages the sharing of skills, knowledge and learning.”

After reviewing the product guide, Schneider concluded that "as the Girl Scouts manual so delicately points out, the larger goal isn’t to sell a bunch of cookies. The larger goal is to teach the girls critical leadership and entrepreneurial skills that they can apply elsewhere. And to accomplish that goal, there is no more important step than putting the girls in charge of cookie sales with adults coaching them." Definitely read the entire post here.

I've certainly gained skills by watching some of our girls in action! What have you learned from The Girl Scout Cookie Program?