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Every year we’re greeted by smiling young girls dressed in green selling those irresistible boxes of cookies, and while almost all of us buy a box or two (or 12), most of us are unsure of exactly what the Girl Scouts organization is all about.
We’re here to tell you that there is much more to this group of young girls than just great cookies.
The first Girl Scout troop was founded nearly 100 years ago in Savannah, Georgia and now serves more than two million girls throughout the U.S. The organization aims to empower young girls through invaluable experiences including field trips, skill building, community service projects and more. These efforts are a result of their strong mission: “Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.”
Locally, Girls Scouts Heart of Central California (GSHCC) – located in Sacramento – serves nearly 29,000 girls. Girls of all backgrounds from ages 5-17 (or grades kindergarten through 12) are welcome to join. According to Jennifer Lemos with GSHCC’s Marketing and Communications Department, the program can be designed to meet each individual’s needs and aspirations. This year, members of GSHCC had the opportunity to participate in events including several art exploration activities, “Beautiful U,” where beauty was explored from the inside out and guest speakers presented information on self-esteem and bullying; overnight campouts, awareness events including ways to help preserve Earth and more. One opportunity that is particularly appealing is the high school-level marketing and communications internship with the GSHCC’s magazine, Hear&Now. The magazine, which started small, has grown to be a popular publication featuring celebrities including Colbie Caillat, Taylor Swift and more. But perhaps the most impressive stars of the magazine are the Girl Scouts themselves; the magazine is completely Girl Scout operated. No matter the opportunity, experience is driven by three key ideals: discover, connect, and take action.
The overall goal is that through discovering, connecting, and taking action, leadership is developed. This formula sure is working; there are more than 10,000 volunteers and leaders in the Central California area alone. The Leader-In-Training (L.I.T.) program is designed as a transition for older girls, ages 14 through 17, to move from active members of GSHCC to holding future leadership positions both within the organization and beyond.
There is no better testament to the organization than the passion of its members. One example is 13-year member Ashley, who recently received the Silver Award for collecting more than 300 toys and donating them to a local hospital’s pediatrics ward. She is currently in the process of working toward her Gold Award (the highest honor in the organization) through her community service work with the American Red Cross. Ashley says, “Girl Scouts has shaped who I am today and helped me become a girl of courage, confidence and character.”
For more information on Girls Scouts Heart of Central California and their events in your neighborhood, visit girlscoutshcc.org.