Don’t just help the girl. Help the girl change the world.
By Rosi Hernandez, Girl Scout Alumna and Volunteer, VP, Market Development, Houston Astros Baseball Club
When Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts in 1912, women were less equal than men by law. While it was a very different world back then, the values she sought to instill in girls and young women remain as relevant today as they were then - courage, confidence and character. From its very beginning, Girl Scouting taught girls to become the change they want to see in the world. The Girl Scout experience gave girls, then and now, the confidence and the tools to lead - to find inside the uncertain girl, the citizen who will become a catalyst for action and change.
I am proud to say that I am a Gold Award recipient. Winning this award is something I am still proud of to this day. It is a highlight and a milestone of my career. You see, the Gold Award is the highest honor a girl can achieve in Girl Scouts. (It’s the Girl Scout equivalent of the Eagle Scout for boys.) Someone once described the Girl Scout Gold Award as being "what you really want to be remembered for" in Girl Scouting. For many, the leadership skills, organizational skills, and sense of community and commitment that come from "going for the Gold" set the foundation for a lifetime of active citizenship.
Less than 5 percent of girls who join Girl Scouts earn this recognition - a significant honor that requires recipients to demonstrate outstanding leadership skills, career planning, community involvement and personal development. It takes more than 100 service hours and two to three years of intensive work to complete the award requirements, which include planning and completing a project, which is the culmination of all the work a girl puts into "going for the Gold." It is something that a girl can be passionate about—in thought, deed, and action. The project is something that fulfills a need within a girl's community (whether local or global), creates change, and hopefully, is something that becomes ongoing.
I became a Girl Scout Brownie at age 7, in my hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico. My favorite memories are of the fall campouts, which provided me, as an only child, a way to foster my sense of independence, learn the value of camaraderie, and make lifelong friends. I have a picture in my office of two girls who were in Scouts with me. We’ve been friends ever since.
Scouting was even more meaningful as I got older. I realized that the Girl Scouts had prepared me by teaching leadership and self-reliance, and showing me that there are things out there that were bigger and higher than yourself, and we need to look at life in the big picture. With Girl Scouting experience on my college applications, I was accepted to multiple schools on the mainland of the United States, and ultimately chose Syracuse University, for its strong marketing and communications programs. All the colleges and universities I talked with were impressed by my awards and longevity with Girl Scouts. If I had not had that experience, it may have been much tougher for me.
As Girl Scouting approaches its 100th anniversary in 2012, now is a good time to reflect on how far the organization has come and how far it has brought the generations of girls it helped form into leaders. If you were a Girl Scout growing up, you’re still one today. Join their alumnae organization. If you have a daughter, give her the opportunity to succeed in life by getting her involved in a Girl Scouts. If you didn’t have a chance to be involved in Girl Scouting growing up, it’s never too late. Become a volunteer. We as a community can help our young people fully develop the moral and ethical values that will serve them—and all of us—well for generations to come.
GSSJC Pluralism Statement
Embracing and promoting pluralism is an integral part of every activity and plan of Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council, not disconnected or separate projects. Only individuals willing to accept and be educated about the basic tenet that Girl Scouting is for all girls may serve in volunteer leadership or staff positions.
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