Give Our Girls the Tools to Rise Above

By Lee O’Connell, Fund Development Manager at Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines

A photo of me making s’mores at a camp friend’s wedding while 3 months pregnant with my first son.

This may be the understatement of the year, but it is not easy being a parent right now. On a normal day, you have to make 1000 decisions for your child that could have anything from a trivial to a major impact on their life. Add to that the perfect storm of events that is 2020, and it gets even worse. COVID-19 and the tragedies of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many others have us all asking ourselves tough questions and searching for answers in our own lives. When it comes to our kids, I’m sure I’m not the only parent who has been desperately combing articles for the answers to questions like, “Is it safe to send my kids back to daycare?” or “How can I explain racism to my three-year-old?”

But amidst this anxiety and uncertainty, I heard something truly amazing. On a recent #GirlTalkTuesday on Facebook Live, graduating Girl Scout and scholarship recipient Mia stopped me in my tracks:

I know everyone right now is experiencing some form of adversity, living in a world that is so abnormal and confusing and challenging. And after hearing so many stories, it can be hard to recognize personal adversity when you know that there are so many people that—you’re so lucky, in so many respects. It’s certainly been a challenging year, I think, for all of us. And just being conscious of the way we are fortunate and privileged in so many ways is really helping me to cope a bit with that.“*

It was right off the cuff in response to a tough story of personal adversity on the chat that had been followed by a moment of silence. She was so eloquent and so insightful. And even though she was so young, she was so self-possessed. I think that’s the magic of Girl Scouting.

We wonder how we can give our kids what they need to get through the crises at hand, but Girl Scouting is not only giving our girls the tools they need to cope, it’s making them stronger. It’s making them ready to lead and to help their communities. Our mission is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. Our movement is proven to provide 5 key outcomes for girls:

  • Strong sense of self
  • Positive values
  • Encourage challenge seeking
  • Healthy relationships
  • Foster problem-solving

Even in the most chaotic year in memory, girls in our council are living those outcomes every day. Troops are making masks and having tough conversations about racial justice. Girls are finding ways to keep their neighbors’ spirits up, from leading sing-a-longs to setting up scavenger hunts to entertain younger kids. So while our heads spin with the question, “How do we help our kids right now?”, at least one answer seems to be: give them a community like Girl Scouts.

Today, we launch our Building Beyond Tomorrow campaign, which seeks to raise the funds our council needs to continue providing our girls the tools they need to meet adversity and rise above it. Your contributions will also ensure that we can provide adaptable programming like Girl Scouting at Home and Beyond Ordinary Summer as long as they’re needed.

I hope you’ll join us by making a donation today. With your help, our girls really will make the world a better place.

*This text has been lightly edited for clarity.

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