Girl Scout Ambassador Richa Gupta, from Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital, spoke at the event and shared her thoughts on her experience:
I’ve been a Girl Scout for almost eleven years now, having joined when I was six years old,, and it has become as much a part of me as any personality trait. To me, and so many others, Girl Scouts is more than just about cookie sales and cute uniforms. It has given us opportunities to grow and succeed in community service and other fields that spark our interest. For me personally, Girl Scouts let me connect with other girls in my community when I moved to a totally new nation. It gave me the confidence to take leadership positions in my school and my community. It is what inspired me to achieve my Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting, when I created a computer lab and provided technological training for intellectually disabled students in a school in India. Without Girl Scouts I may not have gained so many leadership and life experiences that help me so much today. At the end of the day, Girl Scouts allowed me to just be me.
In December 2015, President Barack Obama signed ESSA into law, which governs the nation’s public education system. Girl Scouts worked with other nonprofit youth-serving organizations to lobby Congress to include language encouraging local school districts to engage community-based groups, such as Girl Scouts, in providing students out-of-school programs that complement in-class instruction.
The language in Title IV, Part A provides funds for local education agencies to partner with community organizations to provide students with access to a well-rounded education, including among other topics: STEM and financial literacy with a focus on college planning. Girl Scouts’ evidence-based programming can serve as a great way to complement in-class instruction, especially in the areas of STEM, environmental education, bullying prevention, and financial literacy related to college planning.