Fun, Hands-On Opportunities Offered by Girl Scouts Positively Impact All Aspects of Girls' Lives, Research Shows

"Fight Song" singer-songwriter Rachel Platten hopes to inspire more girls to join in the fun with new PSA

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NEW YORK, Aug. 3, 2015 -- As parents and caregivers prepare to send their kids back to school, Girl Scouts of the USA invites girls to join the fun and register for Girl Scouts. Providing countless opportunities for making friends, trying new things, and exercising leadership skills through activities like building robots, participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, playing sports, and so much more, Girl Scouts is an exciting way to engage girls all year round.

National studies from the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) show it's not just what girls do, but how they do it that makes Girl Scouts so beneficial. Girl Scouts is unique because girls get to learn by doing, and they do so in a girl-led environment. This means that, in addition to learning in a hands-on and active way, girls are encouraged to choose their activities, decide which topics they want to explore, and determine how they want to go about exploring them. Girl Scouts is the largest girl-led organization in the world, and it is a significant contributor to its members' success in and enjoyment of life.

"When girls lead, the world succeeds. At Girl Scouts, girls call the shots and take charge of their own future," said Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. "A troop that loves rollercoasters might invite an engineer to join them at their local amusement park and explain just what it is that makes their stomachs drop; another troop might be interested in what happens when they recycle a bottle and plan a visit to their town's recycling plant. By doing what they're interested in and deciding how to learn more, they are developing leadership skills that aren't offered by any other extracurricular activity."

The GSRI reports that at least 75 percent of girls who experience the fun of learning by doing and are part of a girl-led program become better at conflict resolution, problem solving, team building and cooperation, and developing self-confidence. In addition, nearly three in four girls who experience learning by doing and who are part of a girl-led program say that, because of Girl Scouts, they've become a leader in more activities with their friends and classmates, as well as in their community.

Hands-on learning opportunities and girl-led experiences through Girl Scouts supplement the academic learning girls receive in school. These fun and empowering experiences have been shown to boost girls' social and emotional skills, which are not generally part of school curricula, as well as improve academic performance. Additionally, since learning by doing is best facilitated in small environments, Girl Scouts' three-to-one volunteer-to-girl ratio gives girls optimal opportunity to tap into their interests and talents, and explore fun things like STEM, entrepreneurship, and the outdoors. The GSRI reports girls who learn by doing and are part of a girl-led program are more likely to develop confidence, healthy relationships, critical thinking, problem solving and positive life skills.

Girl Scouts also provides benefits that directly complement all of the great work girls do in school every day. Girls who learn by doing and are a part of a girl-led program learn not to avoid things that are hard for them, but rather to take these challenges head on, practice creative problem solving, learn from mistakes, and grow—all skills that will help girls succeed throughout school and life.

"Girl Scouts helps girls gain valuable life skills and amazing new experiences they can't get anywhere else—all while having fun and making lifelong friends," said GSUSA's Chief Girl Expert Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Ph.D. "The hands-on and girl-led experiences offered by Girl Scouts help girls develop confidence and self-efficacy they can tap into to do incredible things at home, in their classrooms, across the country, and around the world. At Girl Scouts, girls learn and thrive in an environment where they are encouraged to speak up, offer ideas and opinions, and try new things. And whether they succeed or fail, they are cheered on by others to try again!"

Someone who knows a thing or two about trying again is singer-songwriter Rachel Platten. She shared her story, which is the inspiration behind her hit "Fight Song," with four Girl Scouts while filming a new PSA. Touring her recording studio, Rachel and the girls talked about their leadership experiences and finding their voices, and what it means to be strong members of their communities – as Girl Scouts.

"To believe in yourself is the most important thing," shared Rachel during the PSA filming with Bonnie (age 17), Juniper (age 6), Teresa (age 10), and Samantha (age 13) from the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey council. "There are a lot of people who give you the message that maybe you are not good enough; the best thing you can do for yourself is to block out all of that noise. I wrote 'Fight Song' as this declaration to believe in myself, which is similar to what you are taught to believe in Girl Scouts. Building confidence. Building character. And above all else, being there for one another as [part of] a community."

While Girl Scouts is open to all girls from kindergarten through grade 12, anyone over the age of 18 can become a Girl Scout volunteer. And as girls can't experience the positive impact of Girl Scouts without adult volunteers, each adult who volunteers has the opportunity to make a real difference in girls' lives. Girl Scout volunteers come from all walks of life; they are men, women, young professionals, retirees, college students, and more. Both girls and adult volunteers can join at any time of the year. To join Girl Scouts or learn more about volunteering, please visit www.girlscouts.org/join.

We're Girl Scouts of the USA
We're 2.8 million strong—2 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe girls can change the world. It began over 100 years ago with one woman, Girl Scouts' founder Juliette Gordon "Daisy" Low, who believed in the power of every girl. She organized the first Girl Scout troop on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, and every year since, we've made her vision a reality, helping girls discover their strengths, passions, and talents. Today we continue the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. We're the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. And with programs for girls from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to do something amazing. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit www.girlscouts.org.