Girl Scouts Gives Voice to Latina Youth at the Fourth National Latina Conference

Miss USA 2003 Susie Castillo tackles challenges identified by Latinas in a major study and inspires girls to reach their potential.


July 12, 2004

Ursula Castrillon
Girl Scouts of the USA
(212) 852-8132

New York, NY—Today, hundreds of young Latinas and their families from across the nation join together to discuss challenges affecting Latino youth, including personal safety, education, literacy, and self-esteem, at Girl Scouts of the USA's fourth annual National Latina Conference, July 15-17, in Savannah, Georgia.

The three-day event, sponsored by Delta Air Lines, will kick off with a keynote address by Susie Castillo, a Puerto Rican from Massachusetts and the third-ever Latina to become Miss USA. Susie used her crown to forward her message to young women about the importance of positive self-esteem and self-worth. During the conference, girls and families will take part in lectures on topics that stemmed from a study called Feeling Safe: What Girls Say.

Girl Scouts of the USA has had a long-term commitment to meeting the needs of all girls and providing a safe, supportive environment in communities across the country. Strengthening that commitment are findings from Feeling Safe: What Girls Say, the 2003 Girl Scout Research Institute study among girls 8-17. Among more than 2,000 girls surveyed:

"Girl Scouts of the USA is deeply committed to reaching and working with all communities to provide girls the skills they need for success," says Kathy Cloninger, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. "The Latina Conference is another way Girl Scouts supports girls so they can become independent, successful, and confident young women."

The National Latina Conference was created as a forum for young Latinas to voice their opinions about the issues and challenges they face, and to create a safe place for networking with peers and adults, all while celebrating Hispanic culture. This year's conference, themed Leading the Way: Our Voices, Our Lives, promotes community leadership and inclusiveness and strives to inspire teens to set and achieve future goals.

This conference is part of Girl Scouts' ongoing commitment to help support girls of all cultures and backgrounds as they grow in to adulthood. Last month, Girl Scouts of the USA launched www.girlscouts.org/espanol, its official Spanish-language Web site. And in 2003 the organization co-founded Partners in Hispanic Educationan alliance of the nation's leading Hispanic organizations, corporate leaders, and national private entities—which organizes and hosts education programs in cities around the country.

About Girl Scouts of the USA

Girl Scouts of the USA is the leading organization for girls, and has more than 3.8 million girl and adult members. Now in its 92nd year, Girl Scouting cultivates values, social conscience, and self-esteem in girls, while teaching them the critical life skills to succeed as adults. In Girl Scouting, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. The organization strives to serve girls from every corner of the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. To volunteer time or make a donation, Spanish speakers can call (866) 830-8700 or visit www.girlscouts.org/espanol. For information in English, call (800) GSUSA 4 U, or log on to www.girlscouts.org.