Girl Scouts' leadership experience offers value to families seeking programs for girls
An uncertain economy, rising unemployment, and the Gulf oil spill have all taken a toll on Louisiana families trying to maintain a sense of normalcy in their children’s lives. Finding activities for children that are affordable, yet offer a positive influence can be a challenge. Choosing Girl Scouts is not only an affordable option, but one which partners with parents to encourage girls to discover their world, connect with people and issues that are important to them, and takes action to make a difference.
“Recent studies have shown that girls today want to be the kind of leader who collaborates with others, is inclusive, and makes a difference in their community,” said Yvette Hairston, vice president of membership at Girl Scouts Louisiana East. According to Hairston, the new Girl Scout recruitment campaign, ‘What did you do today?’ which was launched nationally this past July, inspires girls to think outside the box and pursue their dreams. The Girl Scout leadership program reflects these changing needs and interests of today’s girls.
Girl Scouts is available to girls in kindergarten through 12th grade through a wide variety of opportunities that promote the development of strong leadership and decision-making skills. No matter what age, girls learn the value and fun of shared experiences in an all-girl environment, with caring, trained adults to serve as mentors and role models. All activities are designed with girls in mind to spark their interests, address their concerns, build their skills, and allow them to explore the world around them.
Membership in Girl Scouts is $12 per year, with activities ranging from favorites like camping and travel, to health and fitness, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), community service and financial literacy. Girl Scouting is for every girl with financial assistance available for those who cannot afford the annual membership fee. The council guides its local troops on becoming financially self-sufficient by encouraging their participation in both the council’s cookie and fall product sales. This enables troops to fund activities they select without an additional financial burden to parents. While uniforms are encouraged, many troops opt for T-shirts and a sash or vest for placement of badges and pins.
The Girl Scout program levels are: Girl Scout Daisy–grades K-1; Girl Scout Brownie –grades 2-3; Girl Scout Junior–grades 4-5; Girl Scout Cadette–grades 6-8; Girl Scout Senior–grades 9-10, and Girl Scout Ambassador–grades 11-12.
For almost 100 years, Girl Scouts has influenced the leadership development of more than 50 million American women, but Girl Scouting cannot function without the commitment and dedication of adult volunteers. It is critical that each Girl Scout troop/group have a sufficient number of adults willing to help. However, Hairston stressed that there are many ways to volunteer for the Girl Scouts, in addition to serving as a troop leader or assistant leader.
With the beginning of a new school year, Girl Scouts are recruiting adult volunteers and registering girls for newly forming troops in schools and communities throughout southeast Louisiana. Free training and support is provided by council staff and experienced volunteers. The annual membership fee of $12 for adults and girls covers the cost of insurance, program development, and other services provided by the national organization. None of the membership fee is retained by the local council, which provides its services through contributions, grants, and other money-earning and funding activities.
The local council, Girl Scouts Louisiana East, serves girls 5 – 17 in the parishes of Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana. For more information about participating in Girl Scouts as a girl or an adult volunteer in southeast Louisiana, call the council office in New Orleans at 504-733-8220, in Baton Rouge at 225-927-8946, or email email@example.com.
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