As families start thinking about their children returning to school, Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington (GSOSW) is inviting girls to join the fun and register for Girl Scouts. Providing countless opportunities for making friends, trying new things, and exercising leadership skills through activities like building robots, participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, playing sports, and more, Girl Scouts is an exciting way to engage girls all year round!
National studies from the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) show it’s not just what girls do, but how they do it that makes Girl Scouts so beneficial. Girl Scouts is unique because girls get to learn by doing, and they do so in a girl-led environment. This means that, in addition to girls learning in a hands-on and active way, they are encouraged to choose their activities, decide which topics they want to explore, and determine how they want to go about exploring them. Girl Scouts is the largest girl-led organization in the world, and it is a significant contributor to its members’ success in and enjoyment of life.
GSRI reports that at least 75 percent of girls who experience the fun of “learning by doing” and are part of a girl-led program become better at conflict resolution, problem solving, team building and cooperation, and developing self-confidence. In addition, nearly three in four girls who experience learning by doing and who are part of a girl-led program say that, because of Girl Scouts, they’ve become a leader in more activities with their friends and classmates, as well as in their community.
“When girls lead, the world succeeds. Girl Scouts is the largest organization in the world where girls call the shots and take charge of their own future,” said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “A troop who loves roller coasters might invite an engineer to join them at their local amusement park to learn about what makes their stomach drop in real time, while another troop might be interested in what happens when you recycle a bottle, and plan a visit to their town’s recycling plant. By doing what they’re interested in and deciding how to learn more, they are developing leadership skills that aren’t offered by any other extracurricular activity.”
Hands-on learning opportunities and girl-led experiences within Girl Scouts supplement the academic learning girls receive in school. These fun and empowering experiences have been shown to boost girls’ social and emotional skills, which are not generally part of a school curriculum, as well as improve academic performance. Additionally, since learning by doing is best facilitated in small environments, Girl Scouts’ 3:1 adult volunteer to girl ratio gives girls the optimal experience to tap into their interests and talents, and the opportunity to explore fun new things like STEM, entrepreneurship, and the outdoors. GSRI reports girls who experience learning by doing and are part of a girl-led program are more likely to develop confidence, healthy relationships, critical thinking, problem solving and positive life skills.
Girl Scouts also provides benefits that directly complement all of the great work girls are already doing in school every day. Girls who experience learning by doing and who are part of a girl-led program learn not to avoid things that are hard for them, but rather to take these challenges head on, practice creative problem solving, learn from mistakes, and grow—all skills that will help girls succeed throughout school and life.
“It’s a thrill to see a girl have that a-ha moment when she puts the pieces of a concept together or succeeds at what she’s working on. She gets that through trying something herself,” said Karen Hill, CEO of Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington. “That’s why every opportunity we offer puts girls in the driver’s seat of their learning. Whether writing the code that makes a robot move or budgeting with peers for a travel adventure, each little win helps a girl build confidence and begin to see herself as a capable, resourceful leader.”
Fall promises more than 100 opportunities for girls to learn by doing in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Event topics will include the arts (dance, textile arts, and theater), self defense, financial literacy, leadership development, and science (zoology, computer science, and even entomology - the scientific study of insects). The pinnacle of the season will take place November 7, as GSOSW fills the Portland Expo Center with hands-on opportunities for girls at its annual GirlFest event.
While Girl Scouts is open to all girls from kindergarten through grade 12, anyone over the age of 18 can become a Girl Scout volunteer. Girls cannot experience the positive impact of Girl Scouts without adult volunteers, and each adult who volunteers has the opportunity to make a real difference in the life of a girl. Girl Scout volunteers come from all walks of life; they are men, women, young professionals, retirees, college students, and more. Both girls and adult volunteers can join at any time of the year. Join Girl Scouts or learn more about volunteering today!