Hosted by Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), G.I.R.L. 2017 will bring together 10,000 girls, female leaders, celebrities, and influencers for this first-ever, special three-day event focused entirely on girls and the issues they care about. Taking place October 6–8 in Columbus, Ohio, and anticipated to be the largest girl-led event in the world, G.I.R.L. 2017 is open to all those who care about the future of girls.
Developed by a special team of 21 Girl Scouts from all over the U.S. (the “G-Team”), G.I.R.L. 2017 will feature unique opportunities for girls and their advocates to debate and engage on hard-hitting topics that are central to girls’ lives and wellbeing today. In keeping with Girl Scouts’ philosophy of letting girls lead, the G-team has been involved in all aspects of planning G.I.R.L. 2017, from program content to the selection of guest speakers, to the creation of fun and educational actitivities focused on leadership development. GSUSA is, for the first time, expanding its convention experience to include every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ and providing access to the organization’s over 100 years of expertise on girl leadership development in this new forum discussing what is most important to girls and their future. In line with the new Girl Scout theme, “Experience the Power of a G.I.R.L.,” the event will provide every girl with opportunities to celebrate achievements, build on aspirations, get inspired, and gain the tools she needs to empower herself and create change in her community―whether it be local or global.
Issues Most on Girls Minds Today
Every G.I.R.L. 2017 attendee—girl, mom, brother, dad, caretaker, and advocate—is invited to add their voice and join like-minded girls and girl supporters and to participate in a dialogue on the critical issues facing girl in the United States today. The G-Team identified the following topics as the most important to girls today to be addressed at G.I.R.L. 2017, including:
- Global Cultural Awareness – Women’s issues around health, education, and civic engagement across the globe.
- Life Skills, Confidence, and Self-image – The importance of soft skills such as how to fail and get back up again (resiliency), breaking stereotypes, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and thinking outside the box.
- Healthy Relationships and Mental Health – The best ways to build healthy relationships, the importance of internet and dating safety awareness, and confronting challenges such as bullying, harassment, anxiety, and depression.
- Inequality, Overcoming Adversity, and Diversity – Exploring our country’s increasing diversity, the frequent inequality that accompanies it, and—–ways to overcome adversity.
- Careers, College, and Self-branding – Exploring careers in STEM, the persistence of the wage gap, and how to create a positive digital footprint online.
- Environmental Issues and Agriculture – Examining environmental conservation and responsibility, and the sustainability of U.S. food systems.
- Art for Change – Art’s role in lifting up girl voices and offering new ways of looking at things. G.I.R.L. will feature an on-site girl art gallery, a film festival based on G.I.R.L. topics, and creative pieces related to theater, architecture, design, and fashion.
“The topics chosen were picked to make everyone attending proud to be themselves—proud to be girls. We want to build girls up to help them overcome any obstacles they face,” said Lauren, 16, a junior at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, Ohio, and a member of the G-Team. “It’s important to form a sense of community between girls and women; we all have different skills sets, whether it be a Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk Taker, or Leader. When we combine all of those talents, we can do great things.”
The three-day event, held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, will provide a packed agenda of live entertainment, discussions on world issues, and the opportunity to engage in hands-on activities and explore a variety of subjects and fields.
Attendees can either register for the entire weekend and receive a Weekend Pass, or they can register solely for the AT&T Hall of Experiences. A Weekend Pass entitles visitors access to a wide array of presentations, panels, think-tank activities, and celebrations, as well as the Hall of Experiences, where attendees can engage in exciting hands-on activities, such as riding in a mobile space simulator or taking an introductory scuba diving lesson; Early Bird Registration options and discounts are available through July 31, 2017. Hall of Experience Passes are $10 for youth grades K–12; free for children 4 and under; and $20 for adults; Early Bird Weekend Passes range from $150 for girls grades two through five and their chaperones, up to $345 for adults.
Weekend Pass and Special Plenary Sessions
The G.I.R.L. plenary sessions will feature big ideas and inspirational presentations provided by a rich collection of speakers, including celebrities, creative luminaries, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and more. There will also be 79 breakout sessions for more engaged discussions on everything from cyberbullying to how to build your own startup. Attendees can also get social, with special breakfasts and dinners, an overnight camp sleepover at the Columbus Center for Science and Industry, and an after-dark sing-along where attendees can share the stage and a song with Girl Scout luminaries such as Melinda Carroll.
Hall of Experiences Activities
The Hall of Experiences will offer over 150,000 square feet of hands-on activities to help girls explore a variety of skills and interests. The Hall of Experiences is designed to look like a small city, with the themed neighborhoods—ChangeMakers, Entrepreneurship, STEM, Life Skills, Outdoors, World for Girls, Alumni—and town square activities. Each neighborhood offers both GSUSA-curated activities, such as “campfire” presentations and discussions with prominent leaders, and educational activities developed by our 90 corporate exhibitors, including NASA, SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), Space Camp, the National Park Service, the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association, The Harry Potter Alliance, Little Free Library, AT&T, and Toyota Financial Services.
Visit experiencecolumbus.com for visitor information and to plan your trip!
G.I.R.L. 2017 sponsors include Platinum Sponsor AT&T; Gold Sponsor Toyota Financial Services; Silver Sponsors Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and American Electric Power Service Corporation; Bronze Sponsors American Petroleum Institute, JOANN Stores, Little Brownie Bakers, and Thirty-One Gifts; and Pearl Sponsors ABC Bakers, General Mills, Hogan Lovells US LLP, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Palmer & Cay, PayPal, Inc., Preemadonna, Macy’s, and Visit Orlando. Girl Scouts of the USA thanks all of our sponsors for their generous support and for championing the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
G.I.R.L. 2017, the largest girl-led event in the world, will be held in Columbus, Ohio, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center from October 6 to 8. More than 10,000 go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and leaders from around the globe, as well as those who support them, will join for a one-of-a-kind event you won’t want to miss. Visit girlscouts.org/girl2017 for the latest updates!