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Strength in Diversity

Toward a Broader Understanding of Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Girl Scouting

By Sumru Erkut, Ph.D., Jacqueline Fields, Ph.D., Deirdre Almeida, Ed.D., Brunilda DeLeon, Ed.D., and Rachel Sing, M.A. (New York, N.Y.: Girl Scouts of the USA, 1994). 34 pp.

Cover of Defining SuccessAs we approach the year 2000, Girl Scouts of the USA faces several demographic, economic, and social challenges. First, the proportion of white youth is shrinking while the proportion of minority youth is rising. Second, the percentage of children in poverty is increasing. Other challenges are the lag in women’s earning power, growing rates of violence, crime, illnesses, and inadequate health care. All of these issues directly and indirectly affect the program and diverse membership of Girl Scouting in the U.S.

To address the increasing diversity and pluralism in Girl Scouting and how Girl Scouting can better serve its members, the perceptions from girls, parents, guardians, and 80 community leaders of diverse racial and ethnic background of Girl Scouting were elicited. Some of the research questions explored through these interviews are as follows:

The findings in this study demonstrate that Girl Scouts can be successful in attracting and serving girls and families from diverse communities; however, the keys to such success are complex yet attainable.

For more information about the research, or to order a hard copy of the full report, e-mail the Girl Scout Research Institute or call (800) GSUSA 4 U.