What is grit? Grit is persistence and resilience. It’s important because it allows us to continue an activity or project until we reach our goal. It allows us to overcome the frustration when things get challenging. It causes us to be willing to learn from our failures and mistakes and grow toward success. Grit is the key to your girls’ success.
Girl Scouts is a great place for girls to practice grit. Whether it’s learning how to hit a bulls-eye in archery, completing a Take Action project, or planning that big trip, girls can learn to persevere, overcome challenges and obstacles, and reach their goals. There are several things that we as troop leaders and mentors can do to help girls grow their grittiness:
- Help girls understand failure as a step towards success. When things become challenging or don’t go well, it’s a good time to stop and reflect. Ask girls, what’s working? What’s not working? Are there other strategies we can try? Is there someone we can ask for help? There are many famous people who learned from their failures and went on to become successful—share this with your girls!
- Encourage girls when they are ready to give up. Praise their effort and how far they have come already. Acknowledge that the activity is challenging, but with persistence and effort, they can reach their goal.
- Allow the group to take breaks. If the girls are stating that they want to stop or give up, it’s a good indication that they need to take a break from their efforts. They need time to regroup, reflect, and then to get back to it!
- Help girls find engaging activities. More than just fun, activities that are engaging keep girls interested, bring enjoyment, and help them to reach their goals.
Girls with grit are going to have what it takes to make this world a better place, and you can help them learn it. Although I don’t think of building grit as an easy thing, I do think that following these simple tips over time can make a difference. I would love to hear from you. Share any tips that you use to help your girls persevere on a project!
Pam Wurster – Pam is the senior program advisor and serves as the lead girl program expert and resource for the council, supporting and guiding the successful implementation of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience through multiple program pathways, including volunteer and council-led programs. She has a BA in education and has taken master courses in youth development leadership. She developed her leadership skills, love of the outdoors, and grit through her many years as a Girl Scout, troop leader, and council staff. Pam loves working in her garden, playing the guitar, and hanging out with friends around the campfire.