Friday, December 28, 2018

2018: The Year of the G.I.R.L. Agenda

How Girl Scouts were inspired, prepared, and mobilized to take civic action

Throughout history, girls often weren’t encouraged to get their hands dirty, solve problems facing society, challenge the status quo, or step up and take the lead. However, despite less influence and limited political power, Juliette Gordon Low and many other trailblazing women envisioned a world in which girls could thrive with endless opportunity and change the trajectory of history as they knew it.

Juliette founded Girl Scouts in 1912, knowing that equipping girls with tools to take charge would have strong ramifications for the future. “The work of today is the history of tomorrow,” she said, “And we are its makers.”

That work would include engaging girls across the United States in civic life, nurturing a love of the outdoors, and arming girls with the knowledge and experience to lead.

Girls not only began to wield their power but also began to demonstrate their G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ grit to use their voices to take action and build a better world for everyone.

After 106 years, Juliette’s legacy continues. In 2018, more women and girls than ever before are using their voices to speak out against injustices. From issues of racial discrimination to sexual abuse to environmental crises, in 2018, Girl Scouts stood proudly at the frontline to demand change.

Girl Scout Ambassador Aliza
 Even when they’re too young to vote, Girl Scouts are creating solutions to society’s challenges. Gold Award Girl Scout Sakshi tackled child sex trafficking head on. Eight-year-old Penelope advocated for pedestrian safety in her town. And Girl Scout Ambassador Aliza worked within her community to demystify stereotypes about Muslim Americans.

Shelby, a Gold Award Girl Scout from California, went before the California Coastal Commission to request a "No Straw November” resolution that would reduce plastic straw pollution. Her resolution was unanimously approved, with the recommendation that the legislature officially declare the month to be “No Straw November."
Gold Award Girl Scout Shelby O'Neil
 This September, California became the first state to ban plastic straws in restaurants, unless customers request one. The law takes effect January 1, 2019.

Or maybe you’ll look to Sofia, Micaela, Julianna, Amelia, and Makenna, Girl Scout Cadettes from Colorado Troop 60789 who took action after studying the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. Their solution? Convincing the Aurora City Council to introduce a law that would limit smoking. This year, because of the girls’ work, the city passed a law that banned smoking in cars while minors are present.

Girl Scout Troop 60789
In 2018, Girl Scouts have made it clear: we’re here, and we don’t accept the status quo.

Gold Award Girl Scout Sakshi
Of course, these young leaders naturally evolve into policymakers as adults. 

Less than 100 years ago, women weren’t allowed to vote. Now Girl Scout alums make up 72 percent of female senators and 60 percent of the women in the 116th Congress. And whether they’re Republican red or Democratic blue, one thing’s for certain—they all bleed Girl Scout green.

In 2018, proud Girl Scout alum Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, and she attributes much of her career success to the experiences she had through Girl Scouting. “I was a Girl Scout and learned so many life skills, from entrepreneurship to baking to survival skills,” she beams. “It’s amazing at encouraging confidence and curiosity from a young age. Many women of Congress started out as [Girl] Scouts too!”

Gold Award Girl Scout Cassie Levesque

Cassie Levesque was just 17 years old when she led a campaign to end child marriage in New Hampshire for her Gold Award. Many said that she was “just a Girl Scout.” Now, at 19, Cassie’s making history as one of the youngest women elected to New Hampshire’s House of Representatives.

Girl Scouts didn’t just knock on history’s door in 2018—they broke it down and etched their names for all to see.

Without a doubt, 2018 was the year that the G.I.R.L. Agenda reached new heights. Whether it was a Daisy, Ambassador, or alum, Girl Scouts broke barriers, blazed trails, and changed the trajectory of communities around the world.

And we’re just getting started. 

 The  G.I.R.L. Agenda Powered by Girl Scouts is a nonpartisan initiative to inspire, prepare, and mobilize girls and those who care about them to lead positive change through civic action.