New CEO Leads 700 Girl Scout Representatives to Capitol Hill to Launch a National Dialogue on Issues Critical to Girls

New initiatives give voice to girls across America as Girl Scouting celebrates its 92nd anniversary


March 3, 2004

Ellen Christie
(212) 852-8581

New York, N.Y.—More than 700 Girl Scout council representatives from around the country descend on Capitol Hill today to launch a national dialogue on the issue of girls' safety by visiting every member of Congress. Joining them are 10 teenage Girl Scouts who will be honored on March 4 as Girl Scout Gold Award Young Women of Distinction. This Girl Scout Advocacy Day signals a new era for an organization that celebrates its 92nd anniversary on March 12.

With Kathy Cloninger as its new CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA is giving voice to girls nationwide by rolling out initiatives such as a national safety dialogue based on concerns girls expressed in a Girl Scout Research Institute study and all-new programming for tweens and teens based on research of this age group. At the same time, Girl Scouts is making sure to reach girls across America and reflect their diversity by strengthening initiatives such as Girl Scouts Beyond Bars, the nation's first and only mother-daughter prison visitation program.

National Dialogue on Safety

A recent study by the Girl Scout Research Institute showed that many girls feel unsafe, both physically and emotionally, on a daily basis. For example, of the 2,341 girls studied, 34% of 13- to 17-year-olds were concerned about being forced to do something sexual, 35% of 13- to 17- year-olds were concerned about being physically attacked with a weapon, and 41% of 8- to 12-year-olds were concerned about being teased or bullied. In response to these findings, Kathy Cloninger and GSUSA are asking congressional members to "commit to a girl." By visiting every member of Congress, Girl Scout council representatives are taking the first step toward a national dialogue that brings together girls and families, school systems, communities, youth-serving organizations, and governmental agencies.

Giving Voice to Tweens and Teens

Research studies of girls ages 11-17 show that they want to take a more active role in planning activities and that they want a more flexible approach to Girl Scouting. GSUSA has responded by creating STUDIO 2B, a whole new way to connect to Girl Scouting for tweens and teens. Girl Scouts around the country are already participating in STUDIO 2B, following a successful pilot program. STUDIO 2B replaces badges with charms and has a "by girls, for girls" philosophy that emphasizes the role of girls in deciding what they learn about and do. "STUDIO" represents a limitless space teens create for themselves to explore their interests, while "B" refers to the 4Bs of the Girl Scout experience: become, belong, believe, and build.

Young Women of Distinction

Ten teenage Girl Scouts will be recognized as representing the best efforts in Girl Scouting on March 4 when they are named Girl Scout Gold Award Young Women of Distinction, the highest honor available in Girl Scouting, at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. These honorees are chosen from among winners of the Girl Scout Gold Award, which is based on community service projects that require at least two years to complete, and have demonstrated outstanding leadership and community service. They include:

About Girl Scouts of the USA

Girl Scouts of the USA is the world's preeminent organization for girls, with a membership of more than 3.8 million girls and adults. Now in its 92st year, GSUSA continues to help cultivate values, social conscience, and self-esteem in young girls, while also teaching them critical life skills that will enable them to succeed as adults. In Girl Scouting—and its special girls-only environment—girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. 92 Years. Girl Scouts. Still Growing Strong. Visit us at www.girlscouts.org.