Other Views: Girls Scouts is the right choice for girls

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Marci Henderson
Saturday, November 25, 2017

At Girl Scouts, everything we do is for girls. Our proven program, pairing girls with strong female mentors who prepare them to take the lead, is based upon 105 years of experience. When it comes to girls, we are the experts.

Recently, Boy Scouts of America announced that in 2018 they will permit girls to participate in Cub Scouts. It is disappointing that Boy Scouts will soon shift recruitment focus away from the 90 percent of boys who are not members. It's disappointing that one of their reasons is that the “tag along little sister” will be able to become a member. At Girl Scouts, we believe girls deserve their own space, not tag-along status. We believe girls deserve access to an environment where they are the sole focus; where their needs are paramount.

According to research, all children—girls and boys—benefit dramatically from single-gender environments. In Girl Scouts, girls try new activities without fear of failure and the added pressure to look or act in a certain way. Girl Scouts is where girls are free to talk about issues they may not talk about when boys are around.

Girl Scouts is where they see and learn from other girls and female role models, such as Madison Fire Captain Jen Roman. A Girl Scout troop leader and volunteer, Roman knows firsthand about stereotypes. Succeeding in a male-dominated field, Captain Roman identified an opportunity for girls and declared “If she sees it, she will be it!” and developed CampHERO. Girls attending this one-of-a-kind Girl Scout camp experience the pride and challenge of being a firefighter, police officer and EMT through hands-on activities delivered by real-life professionals in an empowering environment.

Transformative experiences like these are priceless. And they're unlimited. Girl Scouts are revitalizing local parks, organizing and sending care packages to Puerto Rico, learning about “leave no trace” camping, building robotic arms and networking with leading female entrepreneurs. At any given time, Girl Scouts are working to make their communities better.

Each year, on average, Girl Scouts altogether deliver an amazing 75 million hours of community service. These take-action projects make a real difference in our communities, country and even the world.

Older girls may earn the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award, our highest award. Within just the last few months, five Girl Scout Gold Award projects have been completed locally, including an impressive undertaking to combat the declining bee pollinator population. Girl Scout Gold Award projects are impactful, sustainable and often lead to college scholarships as well as higher educational and career outcomes.

Isn't it time the community rallied and championed for girls? Soon the future will be in their hands. I invite you to join me in support of Girl Scouts. Sign up the girl in your life for Girl Scouts. And donate your time, talents or treasures.

Share your own Girl Scout story using the hashtag #becauseofGirlScouts.

The world needs more leaders. The world needs more Girl Scouts. Girls deserve your support.

Marci Henderson is CEO of Girl Scouts of Wisconsin-Badgerland.

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