“Dear Girl Scouts: I hope that we shall all remember the rules of this Girl Scouting game of ours. They are: To play fair, To play in your place, To play for your side and not for yourself. And as for the score, the best thing in a game is the fun and not the result…” – Juliette Gordon Low, October 31, 1924
For 105 years, the Girl Scout program has built resourceful, resilient girls who have gone on to change the world in all ways great and small. Today’s program may look differently than the small handbooks first issued to teen girls at the beginning of the 20th century. But our mission has never wavered.
Our earliest program emphasized skill-building, with proficiency badges in ten focus areas. The Girl Scout Handbook of 1940, for example, provided the following program areas: Arts and Crafts, Community Life, Health and Safety, Homemaking, International Friendship, Literature and Dramatics, Music and Dancing, Nature, The Out-of-Doors and Sports and Games.
Most importantly, the handbook stated ahead of all the program content: “Girl Scouting is Fun! The sort of fun that will last because it can help you to be an interesting and useful person, with ideals and a code that girls the world over try to follow.”
As we continue into the 21st century, we have built on our legacy by focusing our curriculum on four pillar areas: STEM, Outdoors, Life Skills and Entrepreneurship. These pillars help us move into the future while honoring our past. In fact, as you explore the badges, you’ll find that they are rooted in our exciting history, only updated to reflect the current ways in which we communicate and use technology to effect positive change in the world.
To serve as a guiding star for our program’s success, we developed program outcomes to help us ensure we would provide the kind of fun that would last. As we identified those important keys to leadership: Discover, Connect, and Take Action, we matched five outcomes to correspond to each. The resulting 15 outcomes were indeed ambitious, taking our founder Juliette Gordon Low’s admonishment to do things “with all your might” to heart.
With feedback from our volunteers and parents, we re-visited those outcomes and condensed them to five essentials that communicate perfectly what we hope to achieve with “this Girl Scout Game”:
1) Sense of Self: Girls have confidence in themselves and their abilities, and form positive identities.
2) Positive Values: Girls act ethically, honestly, and responsibly, and show concern for others.
3) Challenge Seeking: Girls take appropriate risks, try things even if they might fail, and learn from mistakes.
4) Healthy Relationships: Girls develop and maintain healthy relationships by communicating their feelings directly and resolving conflicts constructively.
5) Community Problem Solving: Girls desire to contribute to the world in purposeful and meaningful ways, learn how to identify problems in the community, and create “action plans” to solve them.
It’s exciting to see our program continue to grow and develop by adding content that 21st century girls will need to be interesting and useful people! New Journey programs and badges are on the way that we know will provide many more amazing adventures for girls. We can’t think of a better time to prepare for the new program year than to renew your membership now.
Renew your Girl Scout Membership today!