Moving at the Speed of Girl
Girl Scouts Transforms into a New Style of Leadership
When you hear about a Girl Scout leader, what usually comes to mind is an adult volunteer who guides and mentors girls in grades K-12. This fall, Girl Scout volunteers across the region will be sharing the title of “leader” with the girls they serve. Girl Scouts is, and always has been, the organization committed to building future leaders; but through new research and resources, the organization is transforming into building girl leaders for today.
Empowering girls to develop their leadership style in fun, interactive and cooperative ways proves beneficial in many other aspects of their lives—whether it’s coordinating, motivating and delegating tasks among project teams; promoting, cooperating and learning to resolve conflicts; making plans with a peer group; or developing a strong sense of self and not be afraid to stand up and say what’s on her mind.
Even the youngest Girl Scout Daisy in kindergarten or first grade, can build leadership skills by understanding themselves and their values, exploring their world, and teaming with others. Formerly, only a one-year opportunity, the Daisy program and all other grade levels have been changed for the new membership year that begins on October 1. This came as a result of suggestions by Girl Scout volunteers, supported by research conduct by GSUSA in child development. For girls in grades 11 and 12, a new Girl Scout Ambassador level is being introduced where high school girls can become advocates using new program materials, “It’s Your World – Change It”. The new levels are:
Girl Scout Daisy (K-1)
Girl Scout Brownie (2-3 grade)
Girl Scout Junior (4-5 grade)
Girl Scout Cadette (6-8 grade)
Girl Scout Senior (9-10 grade)
Girl Scout Ambassador (11-12 grade)
By incorporating research and ongoing studies with girls to create this new leadership model; Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) is launching new adult learning opportunities, council programs and events, new awards, and even leadership skill outcomes associated with the annual cookie sale program to engage girls in discovering themselves, connecting with others, and taking action to make the world a better place. A new Web site: www.gswpa.org promotes these opportunities; and also has girl-centered sections to “Take Action” and “Talk 2 Us”. In 2009, the council will publish S’MORE magazine – complete with girl submissions, articles, ideas and photos.
Girls throughout the region will also be able to participate in a full calendar of new events and activities such as the fall offerings of “From Bullies to Buddies”, “Aerospace”, or “Folk Arts, Heritage Hunt and Local Lore”. There’s even a trip to Indianapolis to participate in a leadership institute for teens. Girl Scouting is providing girls with decision-making, problem-solving, and organizational leadership skills as they explore math, science and technology, understand diversity and culture, appreciate nature and the environment, or find balance with healthy lifestyles.
“In this election year, everyone is thinking more about the importance of leadership and leadership styles,” stated CEO Pat Burkart of GSWPA. “Our model for leadership began with a definition that the girls understand and believe in. Girls say that a leader is defined not only by the qualities and skills one has, but also by how those qualities and skills are used to make a difference in the world (Exploring Girls Leadership, Girl Scout Research Institute study, 2007).”
Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania invites girls in grades K-12 to become leaders of today, and for adults who are interested in moving at the speed of girl to volunteer on their behalf. Call 800-248-3355 or visit www.gswpa.org.