Diane Oakes, executive director of the Kaw Valley Council, saw girl scouting as a tool in bringing out the leader from every girl of any age. It is one of the few service organizations, which gives full voting power to its young representatives to choose council board of directors. These elected and hardworking representatives become an important voice in the council. The respect they earn from the adult members of the board boosts their self-esteem. That self-esteem, productivity and sense of achievement contribute to their total personality development into adulthood. And Amanda Atwood, a senior high school student, relished a sense of fulfillment when her opinions benefit younger girl scouts. Amanda and three other Senior Girl Scouts organized a safety program for students in the elementary level. As a result, 2,000 children received identification cards with their photos and fingerprints. Amanda and her co-organizers were given the Gold Award, the highest honors in girl scouting. Two things make girl scouting unique in developing a girl's leadership potential, according to Diane Oakes. One is its single-sex orientation. The other consists of the outdoor experience the girls gain through camping, hiking and canoeing. Single-sex orientation makes it possible for programs to identify and then meet the needs peculiar to girls and women. Creators of girl scouts programs insure that these are educationally sound, appropriate for a particular age level, focused on community service, and involve caring adult leaders. Outdoor experiences, on the other hand, provide them with excellent opportunities to learn about themselves and their environment as well as to cooperate with and depend on others. Oates describes the set of experiences as fostering a sense of sisterhood and cultivating "girl power (Hooper)."
Girl Scouts leadership model consists in informal mentoring between the older and the younger members (Hooper 2000). In all its programs, the younger ones have the opportunity of receiving help from older girl scouts. The younger ones foresee what they can accomplish in the future and, at the same time, envision a future for themselves in girl scouting. They can almost feel and touch that future. Cathleen and Amanda are very strong and successful examples for younger girl scouts. But Oakes said that these two models only represent the level of excellence girls in the movement are capable of attaining on their own (Hooper).
US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said that Girl Scouts taught her a lot about serving others (the Achiever 2006). She also expressed pride in continuing the tradition by working for a President who believes that every child can learn and deserves to succeed. She emphasized the value and relevance of the department's primary federal education policy, which is No Child Left Behind. The policy provides high-quality education to every child, regardless of race, residence and background. She noted the increase in the number of fourth-graders in the country in the last three years. She recalled that she was herself a girl scout in the late 60s when the most popular badge was Social Dancer. But today, she stressed, girls need more advanced skills in order to succeed than dancing. She reported that throughout the United States, girls comprise only a third of advanced placement physics classes and only 15% of AP computer science classes. She also remarked that women accounted for only 20% of enrollees in engineering in the college level. She emphasized on the importance of math and science for girls to learn. Problem solving is learned in math and science teaches the nature and operations of nature. In this direction, the department of education hosted the first-ever national summit on math and science for girls. It would serve as a forum and meeting point for the best and brightest women leaders on how to help more girls and their parents to learn math and science. Educators who coalesce with girl scouts enhance their chances of achieving (the Achiever).
Nakeya Bell, an outreach assistant for the Tierra Del Oro Girl Scout Council in Sacramento, California introduced a revolutionary idea to the 26,000 members of the council (Jewett 2006). Girl scouting is not about looking thin or remaining in the kitchen any longer. Girl scouting is involved in current-day and relevant issues, extreme sports and career search. To illustrate, Girl Scout executives in Manhattan are all agog about recovering from a "crisis of relevance." The crisis response consists in cutting bureaucracy and creating appropriate programs for girls who tend to abandon the organization. Some of these girls feel trapped and do not know where to...
An institution known for its nurturing image should also be a real place for girls to find their future. This council studied the preoccupations of girls. These were body image, eating disorders and self-cutting. In response to the findings of the study, Girl Scouts would train troop leaders to choose the experts to bring in to talk about the topics (Jewett).
When Girl Scouts joined the Digital Living Project, an educational program for families, it elicited resistance (Jewett 2006). Conservative Christian groups criticized the Girl Scouts movement as yielding to peer pressure instead of remaining steadfast, abstaining and avoiding leaders in same-sex relationships. These groups also deplored that the movement had sidestepped the typical and traditional vocations of motherhood and wifehood as no longer desirable and preferring career. The critics were mainly concerned women in the United States. They asserted that if the movement says that men, marriage and motherhood are no longer necessary, then sex becomes only a recreation (Jewett).
Develop leaders is what the Girl Scout movement does best (Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. 2006). This is the foundation of the Girl Scout Award. It is given to young women who excel in their locality for their passion and commitment in solving relevant community, national or global issues in order to improve lives. The Gold Award, the highest honor given to a girl scout, encourages a member to discover, connect and take action. In discovering, they understand their stated values, use their knowledge and skills and explore the world. In connecting, they show care for others, inspire and team up with others. And in taking action, they perform what is needed to actually make the world a better place to live in. These are the three keys to leadership in the Girl Scouts Program. It forms the basis on which the movement will evolve the world's best leadership program. Participating girls will be classified according to age from kindergarten to high school (Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.).
According to its Leadership Development Model, girls first join the movement to have fun and friends and to develop a sense of belonging (Girls of the U.S.A. 2006). They engage in activities, which allow them to discover, connect and then take action. The short-term or intermediate outcomes for discovering are assumed to be a strong sense of self, positive values, practical and healthy life skills, challenges and critical thinking skills. For connecting, the expected outcomes are healthy relationships, cooperation and team-building, resolution of conflicts, diversity in a multicultural world or setting, and connectedness. And in taking action, the expected outcomes are the identification of community needs, resourceful problem-solving, advocacy, inspiration for others to act and empowerment in the world. Long-term outcomes are girls who lead with courage, confidence and character. And the overall impact is that girl scouts make the world a better place to live in (Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.).
Girl scouting challenges the stereotype of what girls are "supposed to be like (Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. 2006)." It recognizes the need to re-create a girl's image into a more recognizable, compelling and contemporary one. For this task, the Lowe and Partners Worldwide were hired to refashion the Girl Scout brand. The new Girl Scout image is one which acquires and develops thinking skills, makes right choices, is empowered to shape her own life, and leads in her world. The movement struggles to model this behavior and shapes its policies and dialogues according to it (Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.). (Global sisterhood is also the heritage of girl scouting and one of its main attributes Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. 2006). Girl scouts learn to respect and value different cultural backgrounds, values, habits, and life experiences. They explore the strengths of their own community as well as those in other countries by connecting with Girl Guides throughout the world. To some girl scouts, international connection is a daily reality. Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. serves the needs of 18,000 girl and adult members in 90 countries. This has been its situation for 80 years for girl scouts and their families living overseas on account of military deployments, international conflicts and relocations. All girl scouts are assured that the values of girl scouting can be found wherever they are. Every Girl Scout who belongs to the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts is connected to the other girl scouts and Girl Guides throughout the world. The Movement's more than 10 million members are spread out in 144 countries, a massive global…
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