Girl Scouts and Palo Alto Networks Host Cybersecurity Day on the Hill
On October 24, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) CEO Sylvia Acevedo and Palo Alto Networks CEO Mark McLaughlin gathered with Girl Scouts and members of Congress for Cybersecurity Day on the Hill to celebrate National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Sponsored by the bipartisan Troop Capitol Hill, the event was designed to inspire the next generation of female cybersecurity professionals and encourage discussion between the public and private sectors about developing a diverse talent pool to solve the nation’s toughest cybersecurity challenges.
Girl Scouts who attended stretched their problem-solving skills with a hands-on activity that taught them how to run a “traceroute” to identify the path that data packets take to get from a source computer to a destination. Volunteers from Palo Alto Networks guided the girls through the activity, giving them the chance to work alongside cybersecurity experts.
The event also featured a conversation between Mark and Sylvia about the need for a more diverse workforce in cybersecurity. Lauren Prox, a Gold Award Girl Scout alum from Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and an industrial engineering student at Clemson University, moderated the conversation. Lauren credits her interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to Girl Scouts—in fact, her Gold Award project involved educating youth in her community about STEM.
Sylvia and Mark discussed this summer’s announcement that Girl Scouts and Palo Alto Networks would partner to create the first-ever national Cybersecurity badges for girls in grades K–12 and how the development of these badges involves a working group of representatives from Palo Alto Networks and Girl Scouts, cybersecurity educators, and industry experts. Before the badges are released across the United States in September 2018, the organizations will be pilot the programming with select troops, especially focusing on areas that girls may not otherwise have access to at school or in their communities.
Mark explained why reaching these girls with less access is so important: "Our collaboration with Girl Scouts serves girls in every zip code and provides access to cybersecurity education and mentors who can guide girls toward career opportunities they might not otherwise have known about,” he said. “Meaningful investments made today by corporations and nonprofits alike will help ensure that the cyber workforce of tomorrow is equipped to solve the toughest security challenges and that the trust of the public is maintained in our digital age.”
Before the day ended, Sylvia reminded the room that everyone has an important role as a leader, sponsor, role model, and champion for girls. As she put it, by working together we can “ensure our rising generation of girls are imbued with confidence in their abilities and their potential as they work to make the world a better place.”
Together, GSUSA and Palo Alto Networks will provide cybersecurity education to more than a million U.S. girls, ensuring that every girl has the opportunity to explore and build a potential career path in a STEM field.
Girl Advocates Take to Capitol Hill to Champion Girls
On March 29, representatives from Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast (GSCCC) joined forces with Girls Inc. and YWCA USA to put the crucial issues that American girls face front and center in the minds of members of Congress. The meeting was the first in a series of upcoming briefings that will focus on the challenges girls encounter and how the organizations work with Congress to help girls succeed. The briefings aim to elevate policies, strategies, and innovative programs that inspire and empower girls and young women to become our nation’s future leaders.
In addition to highlighting the 2017 Girl Scout Legislative Agenda, the kickoff event gave leaders in Congress background about the vital role that girl-serving organizations play in helping girls develop leadership skills outside academic settings. Representatives from GSUSA and GSCCC discussed their programs and policies that enhance and augment the lessons girls learn in the classroom, as well as teach girls how to negotiate difficult situations in their lives. The speakers particularly highlighted the Be a Friend First program (BFF), a national bullying-prevention initiative designed to help middle school girls develop healthy relationship skills, understand relational aggression, and learn about conflict resolution.
Marcy Germanotta, communications and marketing director for GSCCC, and Savannah Williams, a Girl Scout Ambassador from Newport News, Virginia, discussed the impact and benefits of BFF. Savannah’s experience helping a friend in an abusive relationship prompted her to research teen dating violence, an issue that she went on to address as part of her Gold Award project.
GSUSA and its councils are committed to ensuring that all girls develop to their full potential, and we look forward to continuing this exciting partnership with Girls Inc. and YWCA to advocate and advance programs on behalf of girls. Through our work with Congress, we can craft powerful policy that delivers these unique experiences for girls so they can thrive and prosper.
Join Girl Scouts to Stand Up for Girls and Their Potential
As March unfolds into spring and brings warmer weather, longer days, and the promise of new beginnings, we also celebrate Women’s History Month, an opportunity to renew our focus on women’s achievements and commemorate their invaluable contributions to American life. At Girl Scouts, part of our celebration includes Girl Scout Week, which honors the founding of our Movement on March 12, 1912, by Juliette Gordon Low, who believed in the power of girls and their limitless potential to change the world as courageous female leaders.
Today, from Washington to Wall Street to Main Street, we see women in positions of leadership, and their insight, talent, and skill are forging new paths for a generation of girls aspiring to leadership in the 21st century. Of course, no group of women is better positioned to advance policies that help today’s girls develop into tomorrow’s leaders than members of Congress.
In recognition of Women’s History Month and Girl Scout Week, Girl Scouts of the USA is excited to announce the new Troop Capitol Hill co-chairs of the 115th Congress—our honorary congressional Girl Scout troop comprising all female members of Congress.
By collaborating with Troop Capitol Hill, Girl Scouts is able to advance its legislative agenda and bring greater attention to key issues that impact girls, so that we all, as a nation, can best meet their needs. Over the years, Troop Capitol Hill has introduced members of Congress to the remarkable benefits of Girl Scouting and developed policies targeting STEM education, financial literacy, bullying prevention, and outdoor education—working diligently with Girl Scouts to brief Congress on the issues facing girls and young women and identify opportunities to address them.
Said Senator Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire: “Girl Scouts provides girls around the country with the education and tools to harness their imaginations and achieve their goals. Girls are undoubtedly the future of this country. By igniting their potential, we are putting these young girls on the track to become our country’s next leaders in business and in their communities.”
Our 2017 Girl Scout Legislative Agenda calls on Congress to support policies that give girls an educational boost by increasing their involvement in STEM, strengthening their financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills, expanding their access to outdoor activities, preventing bullying and relational aggression, and fostering a strong sense of national and global citizenship.
“Girl Scouts develops the future drivers of our economy and leaders of our communities by encouraging girls to dream big and work hard—giving them the tools to achieve their goals,” said Representative Susan Brooks, R-Indiana. “The reality is, in an increasingly competitive world, we need today’s girls to serve as tomorrow’s leaders for America to thrive.”
At Girl Scouts, we know the power girls possess to change the world, because we’ve been developing powerful women for 105 years. We also know the amazing synergy that takes place when girls bring takeaways from their Girl Scout experiences to the classroom, reinforcing and bolstering what they’re learning. To retain this momentum, we must encourage our national leaders to prioritize girls and the issues that affect their leadership development—and members of Troop Capitol Hill are our leading champions in Washington.
Everywhere we look today, we see women leading—but it’s not enough. For more than a century, Girl Scouts has been the conduit for American girls seeking to take their rightful seat at the leadership table, and with vital support from Troop Capitol Hill, we fully intend to enable more and more women to pull up a chair.
So as we celebrate Girl Scout Week in the midst of Women’s History Month, we welcome the new Troop Capitol Hill co-chairs of the 115th Congress to the Girl Scout family. We look forward to working with them and all of our leaders in Washington, to advance our national legislative agenda so that the girls of today become the leaders of tomorrow.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe presents visiting Girl Scouts with a Certificate of Recognition on the steps of the Executive Mansion.
Girl Scouts Attend Legislative Day in Richmond, Virginia
Virginia Girl Scout councils hosted their annual Legislative Day on Monday, February 20 in the state capital of Richmond. The day was an opportunity for girls to speak to legislators about issues affecting girls and young women. Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, which serves girls in southeastern Virginia, sent a 16-member delegation to Richmond, including Tracy Keller, CEO; Carolene Goodwyn-Harris, chair of the board of directors; members of the Advocacy Committee, and girl members.
The day started with a cookies and milk reception, where the delegation met with their local legislators to share information about programs offered by Girl Scouts. They also shared findings from The State of Girls 2017: Emerging Truths and Troubling Trends, a report recently released by the Girl Scout Research Institute about the overall well-being of girls in the United States. According to the report, the well-being of girls in Virginia ranks number 13 in the country, moving up from number 23, as ranked in 2007. Despite overall improvement of well-being for girls in the Commonwealth, there are still issues that need to be addressed, such as the 64 percent of eighth-grade girls who are not proficient in math and the 28 percent of girls ages 10 to 17 who are overweight or obese.
Later in the day, the girls were introduced in the Virginia Senate by Senator Janet Howell and in the House of Delegates by Delegate Daun Sessoms Hester, both of whom are Girl Scouts alumnae. Following the introductions, the General Assembly passed a joint resolution to acknowledge the 2017 Girl Scout Cookie Program as marking the 100thanniversary of Girl Scouts selling cookies.
The delegation then had the opportunity to tour the Executive Mansion, where they met Governor Terry McAuliffe and he presented them with a Certificate of Recognition for the success of the Girl Scout Cookie Program, which fosters the development of financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills.
Representatives from Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, including Tracy Keller, Carolene Goodwyn-Harris and director of marketing and communications Marcy Germanotta, along with Molly Fuller, CEO of Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia and Denise Stewart, interim CEO of Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline, met with Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. They took the opportunity to discuss ideas for workforce development opportunities for youth.
Legislative Day is just one of the ways that Girl Scout councils work across party lines to educate and raise awareness about issues important to girls and young women. Through their advocacy efforts, Girl Scouts demonstrates to policymakers that the organization is a resource—and an authority—on issues affecting girls and Girl Scouting.
New Report, The State of Girls 2017: Emerging Truths and Troubling Trends, Released
On Thursday, February 9, Girl Scouts launched The State of Girls 2017: Emerging Truths and Troubling Trends, the third annual research report addressing national and state-level trends across key indicators that affect girls’ overall well-being. The lead researcher, Kamla Modi, PhD, of the Girl Scout Research Institute, unveiled the report before a packed room in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, sharing its findings about the status of girls in the United States and their shifting needs.
Despite an increase in high school graduation rates, the findings presented in the report suggest economic conditions affecting girls in the United States have not fully recovered from the Great Recession. These conditions are leading to increased emotional and physical distress among girls, with obesity, marijuana use, and low self-esteem on the rise.
Mankaa Ngwa-Suh, programs manager at Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital shared how the Girl Scout Leadership Experience can be a solution to many of the issues addressed in the report, while Girl Scout Ambassador Summer Berry from Martinsburg, West Virginia, discussed how Girl Scouts’ STEM programming has enriched her life.
For decades, Girl Scouts has accumulated the fact-based research and programmatic expertise necessary to invest in girls’ growth and development. This knowledge uniquely positions us to be the leading voice for girls and to advocate on issues affecting them at the federal, state, and local levels. Together with legislators, we have the ability to craft policy that can lift up the 26 million girls living in the United States today. Giving all girls opportunities to achieve—no matter what obstacles they face—is at the heart of our mission.
Girl Scouts Welcomes Members to the 115th Congress
When the 115th U.S. Congress convened on January 3, 2017, Girl Scouts of the USA’s (GSUSA’s) Public Policy and Advocacy Office took to Capitol Hill to welcome the members of Congress and distribute the 2017 Girl Scout Legislative Agenda. In addition to reaching out to members and their staff about policy issues that affect girls and young women, we also spoke about our 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts selling cookies and the entrepreneurship skills the program instills. Throughout the day, we visited almost 150 offices to connect with members and staff on issues related to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education; bullying prevention; outdoor education; and global citizenship.
The Public Policy and Advocacy team also welcomed new Girl Scout alumnae to the 115th Congress: Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), as well as Representatives Liz Cheney (R-WY), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), and Claudia Tenney (R-NY) are all new elected officials and former Girl Scouts. Currently, 76 percent of women in the U.S. Senate and 52 percent of women in the U.S. House of Representatives are Girl Scout alumnae.
At Girl Scouts, we’re constantly thinking about girls’ futures and how to help build the next generation of female business owners, teachers, scientists, and community leaders. Strong public policy is imperative to support programs and initiatives that allow girls to grow up healthy and strong, develop the skills they need to excel in the ever-changing workforce, and make a positive impact in their communities and on their world. To advance these goals, the 2017 Girl Scout Legislative Agenda focuses on the following:
- Promoting economic opportunities for girls by increasing their involvement in STEM and strengthening their financial literacy and entrepreneurial skills
- Encouraging healthy living opportunities for girls by increasing their access to outdoor activities, preventing bullying/relational aggression, and promoting healthy relationships
- Fostering global citizenship and a global voice for girls
- Supporting a strong nonprofit community that encourages the Girl Scout experience
As the preeminent voice on girls’ growth and development, GSUSA seeks to share knowledge cultivated over 100-plus years of programming and research addressing U.S. girls’ health, safety, financial security, and educational achievement. Read more about our federal legislative agenda.
Girl Scouts from Virginia join Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-CA) and Girl Scouts of the USA National Board Member Lynn M. Gangone on the field at the 2016 Congressional Baseball Game.
At the Top of Their Game: Girl Scouts Start Off Summer at the Ballpark
As summer gets underway, Girl Scouts have been front and center at both the Congressional Women’s Softball Game and the Congressional Baseball Game.
Each year the Congressional Women’s Softball Game organizers invite a local Girl Scout troop to perform the flag ceremony before the game begins. Played between female members of Congress and women of the Washington, DC press corps, this annual event, now in its eighth year, raises money for the Young Survival Coalition, the premier global organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. This year, Cadette and Senior Troop 1273 from Silver Spring, Maryland, performed the flag ceremony. The Girl Scout color guard performing the ceremony also had the memorable opportunity to meet female members of Congress on the team before the game began on June 15.
About a week later, on June 23, Girl Scouts took to the field at Nationals Park with Toyota Financial Services (TFS) at the 55th annual Congressional Baseball Game to highlight their partnership to advance girls’ financial literacy through a program called “Driving my Financial Future.”
Before the game began, Girl Scout National Board of Directors member Lynn Gangone and TFS Group Vice President of Service Operations & Corporate Planning Al Smith, Jr. joined three Girl Scouts from Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital at home plate to raise awareness for the program.
“Girl Scouts of the USA greatly appreciates and values the generous financial support of TFS, which enables us to extend the reach of its financial literacy programming to 26,000 underserved girls across the country,” said Gangone. “Through the ‘Driving My Financial Future’ program, GSUSA and TFS provide girls with knowledge, tools, and resources to raise their confidence in financial decision making and to build their financial skills.” The program teaches basic financial literacy skills such as negotiating, budgeting, and establishing and maintaining good credit and provides information on navigating the loan and financing process.
While on the field, Gangone and the local Girl Scouts were able to meet members of Congress who were warming up before the game began, including the only Congresswoman playing in the game this year, Representative Linda Sanchez (D-CA).
In addition to joining forces at the Congressional Baseball Game, Girl Scouts and TFS joined together on Capitol Hill on June 14 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts’ highest award—now called the Girl Scout Gold Award—and to recognize the amazing girls and women who have earned it over the past century.
Following the centennial celebration of Girl Scouts’ highest award on Capitol Hill, the evening at the Congressional Baseball Game served as a great platform to educate members of Congress and everyone in attendance about the important work that Girl Scouts and TFS do to teach girls financial literacy and leadership skills.
Girl Scouts show Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA) how to play the scratch video games they created at the Capitol Hill Maker Faire.
Girl Scouts Tinkered Away at the 2nd Annual Capitol Hill Maker Faire
On June 21, Girl Scouts from Ashburn, Virginia, exhibited at the 2nd Annual Capitol Hill Maker Faire, which was sponsored by the Congressional Maker Caucus and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
A Junior/Cadette troop from Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital displayed two online games as well as a robot they had built—a “watchdog robot” that can sense intruders, bark if someone gets too close, and shoot foam balls at people who come within two feet of it. The troop also created two web-based experiences—a Girl Scout “camp” as well as a hide-and-seek game. Through these online games, the Girl Scouts demonstrated scratch coding, a visual programming language used to create animations and games, and serving as a stepping stone to the more advanced world of computer programming.
This troop was able to meet with and demonstrate their projects for congressional staff, DC thought leaders, and other inventors and Maker Faire exhibitors. They also got the chance to share their projects with Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA), and Congressional Maker Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH).
The sort of hands-on STEM learning that is behind these girls’ awesome projects is a central component of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, which ensures that girls’ activities in Girl Scouting are girl led and involve “learning by doing” and cooperative learning.
Girl Scouts’ 112 councils across the country offer the Girl Scout Leadership Experience in many ways, including through troops, camps, travel, program series, and various events—and girls can participate after school and/or during the summer. Our girl-centered environment, unique programming, unparalleled delivery infrastructure, and unrivaled position as the expert on girls’ healthy development all enable us to successfully engage girls, including in the areas of STEM.
The Congressional Maker Caucus is a bipartisan group of members of Congress who recognize the importance of the community of makers that use 3-D printers, CNC machines, laser-cutting machines, and other manufacturing technologies that enable anyone and everyone—from individuals to companies large and small—to design and build, rather than just consume.
Girl Scouts from around the nation come together on Capitol Hill to celebrate the centennial of Girl Scouts’ highest award.
Girl Scouts Celebrates on Capitol Hill 100 Years of Girls Changing the World
To mark the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout Movement’s highest award, Girl Scouts from around the country took to Capitol Hill on June 14 to recognize the achievements of the girls and women who have earned the prestigious honor over the past century. Sponsored by Toyota Financial Services, the celebration was attended by Gold Award Girl Scouts, Girl Scout council leadership, Girl Scout alumnae, and more than 300 congressional staffers, leaders from government, members of the military, and nonprofit partners.
Members of Girl Scouts’ Honorary Troop Capitol Hill Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) spoke at the event, alongside Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) , Congressman Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (D-GA), Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX). Girl Scouts was honored to have both Brigadier General Diana Holland, the first female commandant of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, and Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University, which awards Gold Award recipients scholarships, deliver keynote speeches highlighting the impact the Gold Award has on both the young women who earn it and the world.
At this landmark event, 12 Gold Award earners past and present were selected to showcase their projects. The work of girls from California to Connecticut, Wisconsin to Georgia, the projects addressed a range of topics—establishing robotics and STEM programming for elementary school students, organizing a shoe drive to help people in India get to school and work, and more.
Girl Scout Richa Gupta and Girl Scout alumna Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA).
Girl Scouts, Educators, Members of Congress Rally for Title IV, Part A Funding at U.S. Capitol
On May 18, against the backdrop of the U.S. Capitol, Girl Scouts, educators, a high school choir, and Members of Congress rallied to demand that Congress fully fund Title IV, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Authorized at $1.65 billion in ESSA, Title IV, Part A is a flexible block grant that is intended to provide school districts with funds to support well-rounded academic programs. Girl Scouts is part of the Title IV, Part A Coalition, a group comprised of more than 75 national nonprofit groups working to ensure this program is funded at the fully authorized amount.
Girl Scout Ambassador Richa Gupta, from Girl Scouts of the Nation’s Capital, spoke at the event and highlighted how Girl Scout STEM programs impacted her education. She said, “I remember when I first joined Girl Scouts, my troop would hold meetings and programs at my elementary school. By learning from both my teachers and from Girl Scout after-school programs, I got to explore STEM activities, gained healthy life skills, and got important leadership skills that will prepare me for college.”
She continued, “Girl Scout STEM after-school programs complemented what I was learning in school. After reading textbooks, I was able to participate in hands-on activities with Girl Scouts and really explore these great subjects. It’s because of all these efforts that STEM became real for me and I began to think about how to turn this new passion into a future career… It is so important that Congress makes this crucial investment in girls in STEM. I hope Congress will support these programs and give other girls like me the opportunity to grow and learn.”
In December 2015, President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law, which governs the public education system in the United States, including dictating how federal funds can be spent by states and local school districts. Girl Scouts worked with other nonprofit, youth-serving organizations to lobby Congress to include language encouraging local school districts to engage community-based groups, such as Girl Scouts, in providing students out-of-school programs that complement in-class instruction. Fortunately, this language was included in the final version of the bill. Now that ESSA has been signed into law, the Department of Education, Members of Congress, and others are working to determine how best to implement it.
The language in Title IV, Part A provides funds for local education agencies to partner with community organizations in providing all students with access to a well-rounded education, including in STEM and financial literacy with a focus on college planning. Another part of the funding supports the establishment of safe and healthy schools, with funds used for environmental education and bullying prevention programs, among other things. Girl Scouts’ evidence-based programming is a great way to complement in-class instruction, especially in the areas of STEM, environmental education, bullying prevention, and financial literacy related to college planning.
GSUSA CEO Anna Maria Chávez, Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), and Girl Scouts from throughout New York celebrate the centennial of the Girl Scout Gold Award.
Senator Charles Schumer and Girl Scout CEO Anna Maria Chávez Celebrate 100 Years of Gold
On May 2, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), alongside Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Anna Maria Chávez, leaders from New York’s seven Girl Scout councils, and Girl Scout Gold Award recipients from throughout New York, kicked off a year-long celebration of the centennial of the Girl Scout Gold Award.
Throughout 2016, Girl Scouts across the country are inviting Girl Scout alumnae and supporters to join them in “Celebrating 100 Years of Changing the World” by highlighting girls and women who have received the Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn. The Gold Award centennial recognizes a century of girls whose service projects have created meaningful, sustainable change in their communities and around the world. Schumer, who has been working to bring attention and applause to New York-based organizations that have helped boost New York’s economy, joined GSUSA at its headquarters in New York City, celebrating the many Girl Scout Gold Award recipients who have positively impacted New York and the country with their creative, substantive, and sustainable “Take Action” projects.
“Congratulations to Girl Scouts of the USA on the 100th year of the Gold Award, the highest and most prestigious award a Girl Scout can earn,” said Schumer. “Girl Scouts of the USA promotes leadership, civic engagement, and community service—all things we should be instilling in our youth.”
Schumer continued, “Like the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout rank, the Girl Scout Gold Award recognizes those who have made a meaningful impact in their community and demonstrated tremendous aptitude. I am proud to be a part of this centennial celebration, which rightfully honors and highlights the extraordinary achievements of young women across the country and shows the world that all of us—regardless of gender—can do anything we put our minds to! The great strides of these Gold Award recipients will have a lasting impact on our communities for years and years to come.”
“The Girl Scout Gold Award is a symbol of hope and excellence, a testament to what girls can achieve—to their vision and fortitude, leadership and dedication,” said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO, GSUSA. “From its beginning in 1916 as the Golden Eaglet, the award remains to this day the gold standard, the highest achievement in all of Girl Scouting.”
In March, both the U.S. Senate and House introduced a congressional resolution honoring Girl Scouts and 100 years of the Gold Award (S.Res.406/H.Res.647). Schumer was an original cosponsor of the Senate resolution and the Senate unanimously passed it in April.
Gold Award Shines on Capitol Hill
During Girl Scout Week 2016, Girl Scouts’ bipartisan Troop Capitol Hill, an honorary troop made up of all of the female members of the United States Congress, formally introduced a resolution calling on the House and Senate to join the Girl Scout movement and Girl Scouts across the country in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scout Gold Award.
Throughout 2016, Girl Scouts all over America are “Celebrating 100 Years of Changing the World,” highlighting girls and women who have received their Gold Award, the highest award a Girl Scout can earn, and recognizing a century of girls whose “Take Action” projects have created meaningful, sustainable change in their communities.
The resolution, S.Res.406, was introduced in the Senate by Troop Capitol Hill co-chairs Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV); and in the House, H.Res.647 was introduced by co-chair Susan Brooks (R-IN) and troop member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).
As further background, the Girl Scout Gold Award is similar to the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout honor. A girl who earns her Gold Award takes part in a powerful and transformative experience, and the honor speaks to her commitment to working tirelessly as she strives to make our world a better place.
GSUSA activated the Girl Scout Advocacy Network (GSAN) to urge members of Congress to sign on to the resolution. More information on how to urge your member of Congress to sign on to the bill and celebrate Girl Scouts and the Gold Award can be found on our website.
Girl Scouts is honored to have the support of Troop Capitol Hill as we call on members of Congress from all 50 states to celebrate, together with us, a century of the Girl Scout Gold Award and everything it has symbolized for communities nationwide.
Gold Award Girl Scouts Shined for First Lady Michelle Obama and Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau During Canadian Prime Minister’s State Visit
On March 10, 2016, 15 Gold Award Girl Scouts helped First Lady Michelle Obama and Mrs. Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau celebrate the White House’s Let Girls Learn initiative during an event at the Institute of Peace.
At this event, both the First Lady and Mrs. Trudeau spoke to the Girl Scouts and other attendees about the importance of educating and inspiring girls. Mrs. Trudeau said, “Canada truly understands that gender equality and gender empowerment is a priority. And as the First Lady said so well, Canada knows that for a society to be prosperous and more just and more peaceful, women and girls must be educated. An educated young girl becomes an educated young mother, or mentor, or friend, professional... That makes for an educated society, and an educated society makes for a more peaceful and just place to be and to grow in.”
One Girl Scout Ambassador in attendance, Sashini Passela, had an opportunity to speak to the audience about her Girl Scout Gold Award project—implementing a fully equipped science lab at a poverty-stricken school in Sri Lanka. As the daughter of two Sri Lankan immigrants, Sashini was inspired to complete her project so she could give students in Sri Lanka the same opportunities she’s had to learn about and pursue STEM. Passionate about science, Sashini was startled to hear that less than 20 percent of students in Sri Lanka pursue higher education in STEM fields because they don’t have access to STEM resources. She told the audience, “It made me proud to hear that just months after finishing my project, many young girls at the school told their principal they couldn’t wait to be doctors, and scientists, and astronauts!”
Thoroughly impressed with Sashini and her fellow Gold Award earners, the First Lady, Mrs. Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau, and the crowd applauded each speaker and her global impact and success in raising awareness about girls’ education around the world.
As background, the Let Girls Learn initiative is a government-wide effort encouraging and supporting community-led solutions to barriers that prevent adolescent girls from completing their education.
Girl Scouts Got Star Treatment at White House Astronomy Night
On October 19, 2015, Girl Scouts from the Nation's Capital council attended the second annual White House Astronomy Night. The event brought together students, teachers, astronomers, engineers, and scientists to stargaze from the South Lawn of the White House.
The Girl Scouts engaged in hands-on science activities, met astronauts and leading science communicators, and participated in interactive presentations on cutting-edge space technologies. At the event, the girls even had the opportunity to listen to President Obama speak about the importance of youth engaging in STEM.
As part of Astronomy Night, President Obama also announced new private-sector commitments associated with his “Educate to Innovate” campaign to inspire and prepare more girls and boys—especially those from groups historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—to excel in STEM fields.
Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet, and GSUSA CEO Anna Maria Chávez snap a selfie with Girl Scouts from the Southern Arizona council.
Girl Scouts and Peace Corps Volunteers Unite to Make the World A Better Place
In September 2015, more than 100 Girl Scouts from the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona council packed into McClelland Hall at the University of Arizona to hear from returning Peace Corps volunteers about their life-changing experiences working in communities around the globe.
Co-hosted by Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet and GSUSA CEO Anna Maria Chávez, the event offered Girl Scouts a chance to ask returning Peace Corps volunteers questions about their experiences abroad, and to learn how girls everywhere can sow the seeds of global social change.
The event was part of the new Girl Scout Global Action Award, an initiative designed to educate girls about serious global issues affecting girls, young women, and their communities. The event also highlighted Peace Corps’ and Girl Scouts’ partnership with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative, which offers girls tools, resources, and access to returning Peace Corps volunteers who can help them understand what it takes to make a global impact.
Girl Scout Honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change”
On September 14, 2015, the White House hosted an event honoring “Champions of Change”—girls and young women who have done innovative, educational, and constructive things to empower their communities. Eleven girls from over 1,000 nominations from around the country were selected as true Champions of Change, and we are excited to announce that Girl Scouts’ very own Katie Prior of Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma was among them!
Nominated by her council, Katie and her fellow “Champions” were honored during a ceremony at the White House. A current Girl Scout and 2015 Gold Award recipient, Katie founded the Youth Trumpet and Taps Corps, which allows high-school trumpet players to volunteer to pay tribute to local military veterans with live performances of “Taps” at their funerals. Katie is taking her vision to the national stage, coordinating youth to serve communities in Colorado, Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin.
According to a press release on the event, the Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. In addition to honoring these young people for their courage and contributions, the goal of the event is to inspire girls and young women to recognize their leadership potential—as educators, advocates, peer mentors, artists, and entrepreneurs—and to appreciate that they can be leaders in their own unique ways.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama host Girl Scouts from across the country for a campout on the South Lawn of the White House on June 30, 2015, in Washington, DC. Photo credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Girl Scouts Inaugural Guests at First-Ever White House Campout
On June 30, 2015, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the first-ever White House Campout as part of her “Let’s Move! Outside” initiative, which aims to get kids outdoors to explore nature and develop healthy habits. She welcomed fifty fourth-grade Girl Scouts to participate in activities to earn their Camper badge, and to celebrate the release of the new Girls’ Choice Outdoor badges. The participating Girl Scouts engaged in both new and traditional outdoor activities, including rock wall climbing, knot tying, orienteering, and tent pitching.
The event celebrated the National Park Service (NPS) centennial and Great Outdoors Month, and it was co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Interior. As part of the centennial celebration of the NPS, for which the First Lady serves as honorary co-chair, President Obama launched the “Every Kid in a Park” initiative, which calls on federal agencies to help get all children to visit and enjoy the outdoors and inspire a new generation of Americans to experience their country’s unrivaled public lands and waters.
Since its beginning in 1912, Girl Scouts has been committed to ensuring every girl has access to unique outdoor experiences. As part of its 2015 legislative agenda, Girl Scouts supports efforts to ensure that all girls, particularly underserved girls who may have limited opportunities to experience nature, can get outdoors regularly and in varied ways. Girl Scouts also aims to provide opportunities for girls to explore solutions to environmental issues and develop an increased understanding of the natural sciences, natural resource management, and STEM careers.
Girl Scouts Attend STEM Fair on Capitol Hill
July 22, 2015—Girl Scouts from the Nation’s Capital council attended the Women’s Policy, Inc. STEM Fair on Capitol Hill in the Cannon Caucus room. Exhibitors included companies, federal agencies, and nonprofits that shared how they are working to increase women’s participation in science, technology, engineering, and math. Girls had the opportunity to meet real-life STEM role models, like astronaut Cady Coleman, and participate in hands-on STEM learning activities.
Girl Scouts was represented by Jordan Giles, a Gold Award recipient from Washington, DC, who shared her Gold Award project with attendees. Jordan developed and implemented an energy fair at her school—featuring environmental leaders from DC who discussed renewable energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable living—to encourage youth to make more environmentally sustainable choices.
Celebration of Leadership Reception at the Capitol
On May 19, 2015, nearly 60 guests attended the Celebration of Leadership reception in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. During the reception, Girl Scouts of the USA’s chief executive officer, Anna Maria Chávez, and new National Board president, Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, welcomed new female members of the 114th Congress to Troop Capitol Hill, Girl Scouts’ honorary troop made up of all female members of the United States Congress.
The reception was held in coordination with the leaders of Troop Capitol Hill: Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Patty Murray (D-WA); and Representatives Susan Brooks (R-IN), Donna Edwards (D-MD), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).
At the reception, Anna introduced Kathy to Troop Capitol Hill and other Members of Congress. Troop Capitol Hill co-chairs shared remarks detailing their personal experiences with Girl Scouts and the importance of supporting female leadership.
Members of Congress also met one of our outstanding girls who aspires to follow in their footsteps: Girl Scout Gold Award recipient Lauren Prox from Virginia’s Girl Scout Council of the Colonial Coast, whose project, “Reaching New Altitudes,” engaged females and minorities in STEM activities. Lauren’s story inspired the Congressional leaders in the room and gave them a glimpse of what Girl Scouts is all about.
2015 Advocacy in Action: Girl Scout Councils at the State House
Girl Scout Councils across the country have come together statewide to hold events at their state capitols to raise awareness about the great work that they are doing to help girls in their community.
The Girl Scout Council CEOs in Indiana came together to meet with their state assembly leadership, including the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, to promote Girl Scouts as a valuable resource when discussing issues related to girls, youth, and/or nonprofits. The state elected officials enjoyed the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the high-impact work councils are doing in their communities. Their state legislators were also impressed by the Girl Scout Research Institute and the state-based State of Girls: Thriving or Surviving? fact sheet.
Girl Scout Councils in Maryland have been working to build strong relationships with elected officials. In January, Violet M. Apple, CEO, Girl Scouts of Central Maryland met with state elected officials to share the impactful work her girls and staff are doing throughout their geographic area. On February 26, all Girl Scout Councils in Maryland hosted a breakfast reception at the state capitol for their elected officials, and used this opportunity to pin newly elected females as a symbol of their membership in Honorary Troop 1920.
Girl Scout Councils in South Carolina are creating an outstanding tradition at their State House, since 2012 the councils have been hosting an annual breakfast with the South Carolina General Assembly Women's Caucus. This year, the breakfast was held on March 4, and was a great prelude to the Legislative Day at the State Capitol held on March 10. The councils' Board Chairs and CEOs took the opportunity to present to the female legislators recent council activities and the positive impact their organizations have on girls throughout the state.
North Carolina took advantage of the long legislative session to host a day-long event at the state capitol. The councils kicked off the day with a reception attended by their state legislators, after which 18 girls shadowed members of their general assembly. Council leadership took the opportunity to have one-on-one meetings with elected officials to inform them of the Girl Scouts' legislative agenda priorities as well as the councils' current activities and impact in their communities.
Many other states including Alabama, Texas, and Tennessee have recently held events at their state capitols. These events are a great way to inform state legislators that Girl Scouts is a resource for issues that impact girls in their district and state, as well as to raise their awareness of the unique programs Girl Scouts offers girls every day.
Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma Attend White House Science Fair
March 23, 2015 – For the fourth consecutive year, Girl Scouts were selected to attend the White House Science Fair. This year the theme was celebrating women and girls in STEM. Both "The Supergirls" from the Girl Scout Council of Eastern Oklahoma and Lauren Prox, a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient from Newport News, Virginia were honored at the fair.
"The Supergirls," a Junior First Robotics Lego League team of Daisy Girl Scouts were selected to exhibit one of 40 projects in the White House Science Fair. The girls designed and built a battery powered page-turning robot, made from Lego blocks, to assist individuals with disabilities that make it difficult to turn pages while reading.
President Obama gave special mention to "The Supergirls" and stated that they are today's youngest scientists at six years old. After speaking with the girls about how they came up with their impressive project in a brainstorming session, Obama said he has brainstorming sessions as well, "but I didn't come up with something as cool as this—an automatic page turner. Unbelievable."
Lauren Prox was also recognized for her "Reaching New Altitudes" project, which exposes minorities and females to STEM activities in an effort to close the representation gaps in STEM fields. Prox worked with local scouting troops and youth-serving organizations in the Newport News, Virginia area to organize aviation-themed scavenger hunts, and created aerospace-centered lesson plans for troop leaders to use. While at the White House Lauren discussed her work with many individuals, including NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
Girl Scouts of Texas Celebrate 103rd Birthday at the State Capitol
Girl Scouts of Texas celebrated Girl Scouts' 103rd birthday at the State Capitol by hosting a breakfast reception for female legislators, which included a pinning ceremony for Honorary Troop 1920.
CEOs and Board Members from five of the seven Girl Scout councils in Texas attended and met with state legislators. Carri Baker Wells, member of the National Board of Girl Scouts of the USA, was in attendance and introduced participants to some of Girl Scouts' advocacy priorities which include: encouraging healthy living opportunities for girls by increasing access to outdoor activities; promoting economic opportunities by increasing involvement in STEM and strengthening financial literacy skills; fostering global citizenship and a voice for girls; and supporting a strong nonprofit community and Girl Scout experience.
Proclamations in the House and Senate were presented by longtime Girl Scout supporters, Representative Celia Israel and Senator Lois Kolkhorst. "Have faith in yourselves and know that the women in this room believe in you and want to see you succeed," said Senator Kolkhorst.
After the breakfast reception, the Girl Scouts of Texas had a legislative advocacy training session where girls learned advocacy strategies.
Girl Scouts Partner with the First Lady Michelle Obama and Peace Corps on the Let Girls Learn Initiative
March 3, 2015 – In celebration of International Women's Day, Anna Maria Chávez, Girl Scouts of the USA Chief Executive Officer, Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, National Board President, six Girl Scouts from the Heart of New Jersey Council and their council CEO, Pat Carroll, were invited to the White House to join President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to announce the new Let Girls Learn initiative with the Peace Corps, as well as our commitment to support the advancement of girls' access to education worldwide.
As the largest, most successful girl leadership development organization in the world, we know that when girls thrive, so does our world. Through this partnership, we are expanding the scope of our work and deepening our support for girls' education globally by making tools and resources available to girls who are pursuing two of our most prestigious awards: the Global Action badge and the Gold Award. Girls will now be able to connect to Peace Corps volunteers working on girls' education projects and resources like PBS Learning Media's online platform to learn more about the importance of education for girls.
Anna Maria Chávez Attends the Launch of the Every Kid in a Park Initiative in Chicago
February 19, 2015 – Girl Scouts of the USA Chief Executive Officer Anna Maria Chávez joined President Obama, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and other federal park officials in announcing a major new White House initiative, "Every Kid in a Park." This initiative will ensure that every child in America has an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature and the educational opportunities offered by our National Park System by providing free access to national parks and other public lands.
For over a century, providing girls with access to the outdoors, fostering resiliency, helping girls build vital skills such as problem solving, and encouraging a healthy, active lifestyle, have been cornerstone elements of the Girl Scout mission. In continuing to provide girls with outdoor opportunities, Girl Scouts is preparing to roll out new outdoor badges and programs. It is truly amazing for Girl Scouts, as a leader in the outdoor space, to have the opportunity to partner with the White House on this important initiative.
Girl Scouts Conduct Interviews with their Female Members of Congress
December 8, 2014 – Girl Scouts of the USA is honored to release a video series titled Portraits in Leadership, in which Girl Scouts interview women Members of Congress.
Girl Scouts across the country sat down with their congresswomen to learn about their individual leadership journeys and discover what inspired them to take on leadership roles. The interviews gave Girl Scouts an opportunity to ask these accomplished women for advice about the skills and the character girls will need to develop in order to lead our world in the twenty-first century. Seventy five percent of the women in the U.S. Senate and 54 percent of the women in the House of Representatives are Girl Scout alumnae; but regardless of whether or not they were Girl Scouts, each congresswoman spoke of the value of having an organization such as Girl Scouts to help girls develop leadership qualities.
Girl Scouts Joins Intel on Capitol Hill to Reduce the Tech Gender Gap
November 18, 2014 – Girl Scouts was proud to participate at a bipartisan Capitol Hill briefing focused on broadening the participation of girls and underrepresented minorities in the Maker Movement. Intel released a new report in the beginning of November entitled MakeHers: Engaging Girls and Women in Technology through Making and Creating and Inventing. The report indicates that girls and women involved with "making," designing and creating things with electronic tools may build a stronger interest and skills in computer science and engineering.
Suzanne Harper, Chief Girl Experience Innovator at Girl Scouts of the USA, spoke on the panel about the results of a pilot program conducted with five Girl Scout councils. In partnership with the Maker Education Initiative with support from Intel, the five councils recruited two young women to be Maker Corps Members. Those young women helped 4th and 5th graders do Maker projects at summer camp.
Emily Sullivan, a 16-year old Girl Scout from Nation's Capital, shared her personal experiences with STEM and Maker activities, and how much Girl Scouts has enabled her interests. Emily spoke about how she enjoys attending the Advanced Space Academy camp over summer in Huntsville, Alabama with the Girl Scouts Destination program, where activities included electrolysis, creating ablative shields, filtration, and rocketry. Emily emphasized that every girl in her Troop is a maker and that Girl Scouts encourages girls to be "makers" with the variety of activities and badges they complete.
Girl Scouts Briefing on Capitol Hill Releasing The State of Girls Report
March 20, 2014 – Girl Scouts of the USA hosted a brown bag lunch briefing for staff on Capitol Hill to highlight the findings from the Girl Scout Research Institute's report, The State of Girls: Unfinished Business. The briefing was an opportunity to share the data compiled from The State of the Girls report with staff on Capitol Hill to help inform policy on many of these issues which impact girls today.
The panel included coauthor of the report, Dr. Kamla Modi from the Girl Scout Research Institute, Communications Director of Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast council, Marcy Germanotta, and a Girl Scout from the council, Lily. Dr. Modi highlighted many of the key findings in the report which includes major trends affecting girls' leadership and healthy development in the U.S. today.
One of the highlights of the panel was Lily, a Girl Scout from Colonial Coast council, who spoke about her experiences with bullying/relational aggression in school, and how she has learned to navigate unhealthy social situations in a way that allows her to overcome the scenario and recognize the positive people in her life. According to The State of Girls, 30% of girls have experienced some form of bullying from their peers. Lily is working on bringing a Girl Scout program called BFF (Be a Friend First) to her community with the hope that girls will learn new ways to develop healthy relationships with one another while building self-esteem and confidence.