Helping Middle School Girls Be a Friend First

October 12, 2014

By Krista Park, Communications & PR Director

Be a Friend First with Girl Scouts - NC Coastal Pines

When girls are mean, you often don’t see anything at all. But girls can feel it. The cliques. The eye rolling. The taunting. The rumors. It may not look like it, but it is bullying. Right now, when girls are bullied, almost no one intervenes.  Girl Scouts – NC Coastal Pines has committed to being part of the change.

Nationally, one-third of girls ages 12–18 say that they have been bullied at school. And, according to the National Education Association, more than 160,000 students miss school each day because they are fearful of being targeted by bullies.

Girl Scouts, with 100 years of experience fostering girls’ healthy relationships and leadership skills, recognizes the need for an innovative bullying-prevention initiative for middle school girls. Middle school is a time when girls navigate new relationships and explore their emerging identities and independence. It’s also when bully behavior peaks.

Our BFF program, which stands for Be a Friend First—a name that girls selected—was developed by Girl Scouts to address behaviors specific to girls, plus the issues that lead to bullying in the first place. It gives girls the relational and leadership skills to short-circuit the bullying behavior when it happens, or prevent it from happening in the first place.

BFF—which can easily be integrated into existing health or character education classes and after-school programs —uses activities such as role playing, creative writing, and discussion exercises, where girls explore thorny issues like peer pressure, stereotyping, gossip, and cliques. With adult guidance, girls also talk about core friendship values such as honesty, loyalty, integrity, kindness, and compassion, and learn how to stay true to these values in their own lives. They learn to develop self-confidence and stand up for what they believe—as well as the skills to intervene if they witness cruel or hurtful behavior among their peers.

BFF is designed to work with the aMAZE! Journey, Girl Scouts’ leadership curriculum for middle school girls. As part of BFF, girls can also create and lead projects in their schools and communities to tackle bullying issues. BFF gives girls the opportunity to take charge of their world to implement change, and encourage their peers to do the same.

When girls feel safe, secure, and valued, they can focus on learning and set themselves up for academic success. Girls who learn to respect one another and become skilled at honest communication are more likely to become healthy, well-adjusted adults.

This October, join Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines in making a commitment as a community to encourage healthy relationships among our girls. Their future depends upon it.

Interested in bringing the BFF program to your middle school or community group? Want to learn more? Email us! In the meantime, explore our BFF activities online.



October 8, 2014

By Lois “Lofi” Hirshman, alumna and volunteer

Girl Scouts - NC Coastal Pines Volunteer LofiLofi celebrates her 77th year as a Girl Scout today, October 10th. Her Girl Scout career includes time as a girl in Pennsylvania, a leader in New York, and a beloved volunteer in Chapel Hill. In addition, Lofi makes a yearly contribution to Girl Scouts – NC Coastal Pines. We asked her why she supports our girls, and here’s what she wrote.

When I go into Girl Scout troops today, I ask the girls what is the best thing about Girl Scouts. The answer always comes out FRIENDSHIPS and CAMPING.

What are the girls telling us? They’re saying…

“In this Facebook age, technology cannot replace the face to face experiences of life. We need both.”

Because Girl Scouting is a movement, we change with the needs of the girls we serve, and those needs are dictated by the girls. The Girl Scouting of today is very different than when I came into it in 1937. Today, girls want more technology and business skills along with the traditional camping, singing, and – of course – fun. The new program is doing this. Through its new technical badges, it’s concentration on building the 3 C’s courage, confidence, and character, and developing a basic understanding of business skills through the cookie program.

I also hear our girls say they want a place to be just girls. Girl Scouting is the only all-girl group that gives the girl many areas to examine toward her future life work and hobbies. This is one thing that has not changed.

Lady Baden-Powell, The World Chief Guide, always called Girl Scouting and Guiding a game. We only have to look to our Law and Promise for the rules of Our Great Game of Girl Guiding and Girl Scouting. They are positive and youth oriented. They mirror the moral code of today, and they fit our technological society. The way we play the game is through the Motto and Mission. Our Motto of doing a good turn has been expanded from the personal good turn that we still must do daily to include good turns to the communities we live in – and worldwide.

Through these guiding principles, Girl Scouting serves the entire community. And we need to make it possible for everyone in the community to participate. Because everything is a great deal more expensive than it was when I was first a Girl Scout, the money needed to run our camps and programs has increased. In addition, our Council has been chosen to try out several of the new science and technical programs. Through these, our girls are learning about our amazing world of technology and seeing ways to become a useful member of our technological era, while keeping the fun that only interacting with other humans can give.

With our support, Girl Scouts will positively affect the future of the entire community – online, at home, and around the world.

You can learn more about making your tax deductible donation to support Girl Scouts – NC Coastal Pines on our website www.nccoastalpines.org/donate or by calling our Fund Development Office at 800-284-4475 x3315.



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