Research shows that “the public education system is not creating an adequate civic education foundation for all youth,” and a Girl Scout Research Institute poll found that just 38 percent of girls say their teachers have encouraged them to pursue politics and community leadership.
At Girl Scouts, we focus on girls, building them to be (s)heros of tomorrow, and equipping them with the resources to be active leaders in their communities. That’s why it’s more important than ever to give girls the opportunity to be a positive force for change in the world and unleash their inner confidence to speak up on issues that matter most to them!
Let’s explore seven reasons why she should stand up, speak up, and make her voice heard:
She’ll gain hands-on experience
When she’s out there cheering on her community, taking a stance, and creating change, she’s getting the opportunity to learn about her government and community.
She can connect with other youth advocates
When she partners with other Girl Scouts and girl advocates who are just as passionate about sharing their Girl Scout experience, she amplifies the impact she can make on the world and will form strong sisterhood bonds that will back her up and support her.
She can work toward her Citizen badge
(If she already earned it, she can display her citizen knowledge and get involved!) Citizen badges build girls’ knowledge of local and global communities and show them how their actions as citizens make the world better for everyone.
She’ll understand that she plays a key role as an active citizen
Whether she’s starting or supporting a petition to ban tobacco use in town parks or marching in a parade, she’ll see herself as a valuable part of the policy and advocacy process, and will recognize that her voice matters!
She can help legislators understand issues impacting girls
Give girls the opportunity to identify issues they care most about and let legislators hear it from the girls themselves—wow, just think about the impact that could make!
She’ll lead positive change through her Girl Scout story
Girl Scouts are more than just cookies, campfires, and friendship bracelets. Girl Scouts are challenge seekers looking for ways to break barriers. We’re curious thinkers who build robots and leaders who are committed to making the world a better place with our actions. Check out this handy guide—G.I.R.L.s in Session—on how you and your girls can set up a meeting with your local legislators and talk about the positive impact Girl Scouts has had on their lives and issues your girls care about (and get a patch!). Their voices are important, let them be heard.
She can help push our Girl Scout Bill across the finish line
She can be part of making history in the Minnesota Legislature! Girls can ask legislators to support our Girl Scout Bill that will help remove barriers and give access to all girls to participate in Girl Scouting. Use this G.I.R.L.s in Session: The Girl Scout Bill guide for tips on preparing for your meeting—including information about the Girl Scout Bill! Online Advocate Champion training for Girl Scout volunteers is also available at GirlScoutsRV.org/Advocate. Advocate Champion training will help ensure you have the tools and information to advocate for the Girl Scout Bill.
Last month over 200 Girl Scout advocates filled the halls of the Minnesota Capitol. Girls’ presence, loud voices, and amazing conversations with legislators helped raise awareness and support for the Girl Scout organization and the Girl Scout Bill. We are so grateful and proud of our young, brave advocates (and the amazing adults in their lives) for having the courage to show up and speak out on issues that matter to girls.
Girl Scouts aren’t afraid to step up and try new things. So, let’s embrace the unfamiliar, be brave, speak out on issues that matter to us, and get civically engaged! Whether your troop is taking a troop trip to speak with your legislator or creating an online petition to help the environment, let’s show the world how Girl Scouts can use their helping power now to solve problems and make a difference in this world.
Looking for more resources? Girl Scouts of the USA recently launched the G.I.R.L. Agenda, a new initiative to inspire, prepare and mobilize girls to lead positive change through civic action. Check out more information and age-specific advocacy activities on their website.
Liana Michelfelder-Tessum – Liana is the capacity building director at Girl Scouts River Valleys. Her background is in youth development and civic engagement. She has a B.A. in women’s studies and an M.A. in leadership and political advocacy both from the University of Minnesota—Duluth. She lives in Lanesboro, MN with her family where they stay busy farming, riding horses, and spending lots of time outdoors. Liana is passionate about helping girls share their Girl Scout story.