Girl Scouts of the USA - Advocacy News


Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) Credits Girl Scouts with Learning about the Environment and Outdoors

BET Politics recently ran a story about the impact of Girl Scouts to Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), former Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.  Growing up in largest segregated El Paso, Texas, Rep. Lee and her younger sister Mildred, ages 11 and 10 when this photo was taken, were the only two African-Americans in Troop 151. As the piece said, that didn't stop her from earning a lot of merit badges and becoming fiercely competitive at Girl Scout cookie time.  The most important lesson, and one which she applies to her work today, was learning to appreciate the environment and her responsibility to help protect it. Read the full interview.

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast Joined Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA) to Recognize Vietnam Veterans

Two outstanding Virginia Beach Girl Scouts from Troop 558, Amanda Brotemarkle and Anne Fentress, volunteered on July 1st to greet guests and hand out programs at a special event held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center to honor Vietnam Vets in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. They met and spoke with several state and national leaders including the event's host U.S. Representative Scott Rigell, and the special Master of Ceremony Vice Admiral James D. McArthur.



LEGO QUEENS: Girl Scouts Honored at 4th Annual White House Science Fair

Girls from Troop 2612 at Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma are among 30 young people chosen to present at this year's White House Science Fair, which is honoring women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)

"Lego Queens" (crown and all!) from GSEOK show President Barack Obama their "Flood Proof Bridge" design at the 4th annual White House Science Fair. Photo by Susan Walsh, AP












By Ingrid B. Williams, Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma

Imagine a moment where you are in a room full of influential people listening intently to a prominent speaker when your name is called and you are asked to stand. You are commended for something wonderful and the applause from the crowd fills your ears while all the cameras turn your direction.

Has that happened for you?

It has for the FIRST Lego League team "Lego Queens" of Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma's troop 2612. And their moment in the sun came from none other than the President of the United States of America!

President Obama described their project and, as with many youngsters he met, shared what he was doing when he was their age. "I was just learning how to put up a tent. They're designing bridge stuff to save people. So we're very proud of them." The moment streamed live from the White House was captured by one of the girl's dads here: Lego Queens get Presidential Shout Out.

Their conceptual model of a "flood proof bridge" caught the attention of the White House Science Fair staff, and the small group of second graders from Holland Hall School in Tulsa, Oklahoma was invited to attend the prestigious event with a gathering of students from around the nation. Some of the youngest in attendance since the science fair since its beginnings in 2010.

What made it possible for these Girl Scout Brownies to have the adventure of their lives at such a young age? The synergy of many people connected to Girl Scouting opened the doors. Skilled volunteers are at the top of the list.

Volunteers know how to truly guide girls while allowing them to dream and discover their own creative solutions. Add to that the support of a local council and its partners. They funnel an array of resources into valuable programs, making a rich environment to turn those dreams into realities. And with the leadership of Girl Scouts of the USA to spearhead endeavors such as this to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), Girl Scouts across the country have access to amazing opportunities in which to develop their equally amazing potential.

Want to see more photos from the Lego Queens' Journey? Visit Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma's Facebook page!

Girl Scouts Leads Effort to Launch National Girls' Research Coalition

April 28, 2014 — Girl Scouts of the USA Chief Executive Officer Anna Maria Chávez and GSUSA Chief Research Executive Judy Schoenberg, participated in the first-ever White House Research Conference on Girls in Washington D.C.

The White House Research Conference on Girls brought together leading experts on issues uniquely affecting girls. At this conference, a group of individuals and organizations that conduct high-quality research on girls announced the formation of the first-ever National Girls' Research Coalition, an effort to make research on girls more accessible and available to individuals in all sectors In the coming months, the coalition plans to launch an online portal to serve as a clearinghouse for research on girls, with the goal of making such research available to service providers, educators, academics, advocates and members of the media and others whose work directly impacts girls' lives.

During the White House Research Conference, Ms. Chávez spoke on a panel where she shared findings from The State of Girls: Unfinished Business, a groundbreaking report by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) emphasizing the economic, physical, and emotional health needs of American girls. Schoenberg discussed the new leadership landscape of girls and young women, presenting findings from GSRI's Change It Up! What Girls Say about Redefining Leadership.

"Throughout the world, girls confront challenges that can affect everything from their cognitive development to their understanding of their role in their communities," said Ms. Chavez. "As the leading expert on girls, Girl Scouts is uniquely situated to understand the difficulties girls face, and to help the girl-serving community of organizations and nonprofits channel their research energy to maximize their impact for girls."

More than half of American girls say they don't aspire to be leaders, turned off by the conventional conception of leadership as command and control, according to Change It Up! What Girls Say About Redefining Leadership.

"It's clear from the research that girls today don't embrace the conventional style of leadership," Schoenberg. "It's simply not how they want to lead. Girls today appear to be redefining leadership in terms of being more inclusive and serving a larger purpose." Girl Scouts is proud to be collaborating with experts focused on helping girls reach their fullest potential through the establishment of the National Girls' Research Coalition.

Girl Scouts Hosts Bipartisan Congressional briefing on Girls' Financial Literacy

April 29, 2014 — In celebration of Financial Literacy Month, Girl Scouts of the USA and Girls' Inc. hosted a Capitol Hill lunch briefing on April 29. The event raised awareness of after-school and community-based programs that help girls learn money management in real-world, practical settings. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee spoke at the event, which had Girl Scouts and girls from Girls' Inc. in attendance, to remind the young women of the importance of being a well-informed consumer and citizen.

Specifically, the panel spoke to the importance of and their organizations' contribution to girls' financial literacy. Erinn, a Gold Award recipient from Girl Scout Council of Nation's Capital spoke of her project helping teens with autism achieve financial skills, while Brigid Howe, staff from the council, described the financial fitness challenge that reached 25,000 girls last year in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Tyhler Raye of EverFi highlighted their new-media learning platform that uses the latest technology – video, animations, 3-D gaming, avatars, and social networking – to bring complex financial concepts to life for students. Krystal Cason, Program Manager, and Bianca, high school senior and girl member, from Girls Inc. of New York City, described how they help girls develop skills critical to becoming financially savvy, economically independent adults, including a partnership with the Voya Foundation where teen girls build and manage diversified, real-time portfolios as part of an integrated investment- and economic-literacy curriculum.

The world's current economic challenges have made one thing clear: Financial literacy skills matter now more than ever. Girls especially need to learn the basics of money management. A higher percentage of girls are attending college and must find ways to underwrite their college education. Additionally, most women live longer and earn less than men, single women are more likely to become first-time homeowners than single men, and more women are responsible for their own financial self-sufficiency at some point in their lives.

According to Having It All: Girls and Financial Literacy, by the Girl Scout Research Institute, girls feel optimistic about their financial futures, yet are less than fully knowledgeable about essential financial principles and instruments, from using credit cards to establishing good credit. And just 12 percent of the girls surveyed say they feel confident in making financial decisions.

Girl Scouts Joins Congressional Women Leaders to Advance Girls in STEM careers

March 6, 2014 — Girl Scouts of the USA is proud to be one of 53 partners in Million Women Mentors, an initiative of STEMconnector, to support the engagement of one million science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) mentors. More than 20 bipartisan women Members of Congress spoke about the need to increase the interest and confidence of girls and young women to persist and succeed in STEM programs and careers.

Holly Jupiter and Caitie O'Donnell, two Girl Scouts from Maryland, introduced a few of the Congressional leaders, including Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Congresswomen Donna Edwards (D-MD) and Susan Davis (D-CA). Holly and Caitie have both participated in STEM programming through Girl Scouts and are in the process of completing their Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouting.

In 1912, Juliette Gordon Low founded the first Girl Scout troop in Savannah, GA. In 1913, the first badges in STEM fields – the electrician badge and the flyer badge – were introduced. Today, Girl Scouts continues to encourage girls' exploration and pursuit of education and careers in STEM to increase their awareness of these opportunities.

To learn more about Million Women Mentors, go to www.MillionWomenMentors.org.

GSUSA Supports IRA Charitable Rollover

Girl Scouts of the USA recently joined with the nonprofit sector in supporting legislation to renew the expired IRA charitable rollover provision. Since this giving incentive was created in 2006, Americans have given millions of dollars to youth serving organizations, such as Girl Scouts, along with other social service programs, religious organizations, schools, health care providers, and arts and cultural institutions. This provision expired on December 31, 2013.

Learn more about the IRA Charitable Rollover (PDF).

EPA Administrator Hosts STEM Roundtable Discussion with Girl Scouts

March 2014 — Girl Scouts from the Girl Scouts of the Nation's Capital and Girl Scouts of Central Maryland councils had the opportunity to participate in a brownbag lunch at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Girl Scouts STEM roundtable lunch discussion, which took place in the beautiful Rachel Carson Room, was hosted by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. The event opened with remarks from Administrator McCarthy followed by a question and answer period over lunch with four EPA women leaders. Many of the questions from the girls focused on the work the EPA does, environmental issues, and careers in STEM. The EPA leaders also discussed their roles at the agency, and how they got started in their careers.


Past Highlights

Learn more about Girl Scouts of the USA's advocacy efforts in these stories: