Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Leaders in North Carolina Celebrate the Benefits of Girl Scouting

In North Carolina, The Salisbury Post reports that when Susan Kluttz was growing up, no one told her she could be a mayor or serve on a city council.

She did both anyway, and Kluttz said she now sees the importance of encouraging girls to be leaders — as the Girl Scouts have done for 100 years.

“I was a Girl Scout in the ’50s, when women were not in leadership roles,” she said. “I think it influenced me
to be involved in and love my community.”

As a Brownie and a Girl Scout at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Kluttz said, she was proud to be part of the group and wear its uniform. She also loved the friendships that developed.

“After my 14 years as mayor and recognizing both Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, I think they’re a tremendous asset to young people,” she said. “They teach and promote good citizenship.”

Maggie Blackwell, who serves with Kluttz on the Salisbury City Council, said she looked forward to going to troop meetings during the five years she was a Girl Scout.

“One of the big things I felt was a sense of belonging,” Blackwell said. “It was the ‘group-ness’ of it — all doing the same thing together, and doing unique new things.”

Dari Caldwell, president of Rowan Regional Medical
Center, said she was in Brownies and Girl Scouts for a few years. Her troop met at Kimball Lutheran Church in Kannapolis. She said the thing she remembers and appreciates most is the opportunity to earn badges and learn about so many different subjects.

“I think what impacted me the most is that as a 10-year-old kid growing up in Kannapolis, I didn’t have much exposure to a lot of things,” Caldwell said. “Girl Scouts ... opened the window to a world that I might not have realized was there at that age.”

According to the newly released Girl Scout Research Institute report Girl Scouting Works: The Alumnae Impact Study, women who were Girl Scouts as children display significantly more positive life outcomes than do non-Girl Scout alumnae, outcomes that include perceptions of self, volunteerism and community work, civic engagement, education, income, and socioeconomic status.

Approximately one in every two adult women (49%) in the U.S. has at some point been a member of Girl Scouts, with the average length of time spent in Girl Scouts four years. There are currently an estimated 59 million Girl Scout alumnae living in the U.S.