Green Living Arizona reports that the “silent green army” is how CEO of Girl Scouts Anna Maria Chávez defines her troops from around the world. Mrs. Chávez, an Arizona native, started her troop at a young age. It was here that she embraced the meaning of being a Girl Scout and benefited from all that the program offered. During her troop years Chávez said she learned about goals, self-confidence, caring for your natural resources, the importance of public service and that there are no boundaries to what you can accomplish. Chávez will tell you that the essence of a Girl Scout is “courage, confidence, character – as well as being a public servant and innovator who likes to have fun.”
The Girl Scouts Forever Green project focuses on two main elements, rain gardens (reducing water-borne pollutants running into water supplies, and planting and maintaining rain gardens at the home and school), and reducing waste (switching to reusable bags and bottles). They have also partnered with the EPA to encourage people and companies to take the pledge to improve the environment and protect our natural resources.
What kind of an impact are these girls making? Recent data shows that 5,253 people worked to construct rain gardens, 106,901 new native plants/trees and 30,625 square feet of green space has been planted. For reducing waste, 30,708,832 pounds of waste from plastics have been eliminated from the landfills, and 59,618 reusable bags have been given to others. Go girls!
Chávez shared that because girls in the program are taught about caring for our environment at a young age, they will grow up with more of an appreciation and take action where there is none or lacking.
With over 59 million Girl Scouts alumnae, and the fact that one out of two girls you meet have been somehow a part of the organization, Chávez says the “connectivity and community” reach far beyond our U.S. borders.
As Girl Scouts celebrates its centennial, there is more to see from these ladies for the next hundred years. Chávez recalls many stories about troops and individual girls making strides and achievements in new areas and bringing innovation to the program, and even saving lives. Chávez recalled that 8-year-old Rebecca Hurley “received the Girl Scouts Medal of Honor because she used the Heimlich maneuver to save her brother’s life – a skill she learned just one week prior in her troop meeting.”