Smart Cookies

The Girl Scouts of Eastern South Carolina


If you grew up before the new millennium, chances are you had a very different childhood than the young girls growing up now. You rode a bike to your friends’ houses around the neighborhood without worrying your parents. You had to ask before using the family phone, meaning that most of your friendships took place face-to-face. And if you were a Girl Scout, you worked for merit badges and sold cookies—usually, door to door, to neighbors and friends.

With the rise of cell phones and social media, young girls today have all sorts of exciting educational opportunities—but they also have new pitfalls. The Internet and messaging apps allow instant access to all kinds of information—like when their friends are hanging out without them, for instance. They are exposed to sexist and misogynistic comments more often than other generations, because people say things on the Internet they never would say out loud.

Whatever the reason, the Dove Self-Esteem Report showed that by middle school, many girls experience a sudden drop in self-confidence. They become insecure about their appearance, their friendships, and their athletic and academic abilities. Seven in ten girls experienced feeling “not good enough.”

Chances are, you’ve got a young girl in your life, whether she’s a daughter, a niece, or a granddaughter. The world she’s growing up in is full of opportunities; theoretically, she can be a president, a veterinarian, a professional athlete, or an astronaut if she works hard enough. But in reality, it can be hard to get young girls to believe in themselves and unlock their potential. Many girls are scared of falling short of perfection or embarrassing themselves. That’s where the Girl Scouts of America comes in.

As the nation’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to the development and wellbeing of girls, the Girl Scouts of America cares deeply about helping the next generation of girls become America’s next leaders. For more than a century, Girl Scout troops have been getting girls involved in education, community service, and entrepreneurship. And although cookie selling practices have changed—now, it’s much more common to see a troop of Scouts outside grocery stores selling in bulk—the core principles the Girl Scouts stand for have remained the same. Scouting teaches girls compassion, resourcefulness, loyalty, teamwork, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills that last a lifetime. Here are some reasons Girl Scouting is good for mothers, daughters, and all mentors looking to inspire the next generation of smart, strong girls.

Girl Scouts have broad minds. Girl Scouts learn a lot about the world by stepping out into their own backyards. Local Girl Scout troops often make group trips to local cultural centers, or go on educational camping expeditions. The historic home of Girl Scout founder, Juliet Gordon Lowe, is only a short drive away in Savannah, GA. What’s more, Girl Scouts are open to any and all girls from the community. Your child might meet new friends from cultures that she would never have learned about otherwise.

Girl Scouts have good relationships.The best memories for Girl Scout alumnae won’t necessarily be the merit badges or the meetings, but the friendships and bonds made along the way. Girls learn in a healthy, non-competitive environment how to work in teams, express opinions and work toward common goals. The “Girl Scouting Works” report stated that a higher percentage of Girl Scout alumni reported having fulfilling, satisfying relationships than non-Girl Scout alumni.

Girl Scouts have great futures! The report containing all of the
statistics about Girl Scout alumni runs several dozen pages long, but here are some quick facts: Girl Scouting works! Alumni outperform non-alumni in several key factors, including self-confidence, involvement with volunteering and community service, civic engagement, education, and salary. Girl Scouts are more likely to think of themselves as leaders and to rate their lives as successful, fulfilling, and happy. In addition, three-quarters of the interviewed group said that Girl Scouting had a positive impact on their current lives—it truly does make a difference!

If you have a young girl in your life, encourage her to join a local Girl Scout troop. If there is a gap in your community, consider starting a Girl Scout troop! There is a need for more Girl Scout Leaders, and there’s no better way to foster community and camaraderie between generations than through the Girl Scouts of America. Women of all ages can testify—Girl Scouts and parents of Girl Scouts have been working for over a century to help every American girl realize that she can be a leader.

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