According to the Girls Scouts of the USA, 2012 is the year of the girl. The organization intends to help girls develop their gifts and become leaders in their communities.
The 100-year-old group started “ToGetHerThere,” which it described as ” the largest, boldest advocacy and fund raising cause dedicated to girls’ leadership in the nation’s history,” according to its press release. Its goal is equal representation for women in leadership positions in all sectors of society within one generation.
The group did a survey with GFK Roper called “ToGetHerThere: Girls’ Insights on Leadership,” which found that girls were not optimistic about society welcoming their leadership. A statement from the Girl Scouts said, “The study, based on a telephone survey of 1,000 girls aged 8-17, found that close to three in five girls think that a woman can rise up in a company but will only rarely be put in a senior leadership role.”
Andrea Bastiani Archibald, a developmental psychologist for the Girl Scouts of the USA, said being in a Girl Scout troop helps girls become leaders. Past scouts have achieved higher levels of education and have greater confidence than their non-scout peers, she said. “We do surveys on over 4000 living alumnae (of the Girl Scouts) and compare them to the same age group and we see more success in them and their willingness to contribute more to the community.”
According to Archibald, of Girl Scout alumnae, 63 percent consider themselves competent and capable, compared to 55 percent of non-alumnae, and in education, 38 percent have attained college degrees compared to 28 percent of women who did not participate in scouting.
“We want to show the world that we’re not just about nice but necessary,” said Michelle Tompkins, media contact for Girl Scouts of the USA.
According to Tompkins, “Many people have misconceptions about Girl Scouts, they think that girls were just put in military uniforms and went from door to door to sell cookies. Some parents perceived that these girls are put out into the wilderness to fend on their own, it is not like that.”
Another misconception is the idea that families need to have money to put girls into Girl Scouts. “There are programs available like Girls Scouts Beyond Bars in detention centers for girls and there are also grant support across every social and economic barrier across the country. It could cost as little as $12 per year to join,” said Tompkins.
Archibald added, “What’s important is for people to join us in the ToGetHerThere campaign as girls can succeed in society when they know that it’s possible!”
According to a statement from Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, “Girls Scouts represents an incredible resource for our country and it has always been a platform that offers opportunities for success and our 100th anniversary will grant our nation an opportunity to make a difference in these girls’ lives.”