March 2013

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work to inspire The Next offers its enduring lessons in Generation Girl Scouts of the USA a revamped package By Amy Carlson ���When girls succeed, so does society.��� This is a phrase you���ll ���nd sprinkled across the Girl Scouts of the USA web site and marketing materials. For more than 100 years, Girls Scouts has been empowering girls to discover, connect and take action. Aware of the changing needs of today���s young girls, the organization recently completed an overhaul to make the program more relevant. I had heard about the reorganization and was curious to see how girl scouting had changed since I was a Brownie and a Junior. Troop 2960, a group of 5th graders from St. James School in Madison, was more than happy to show me and invited me to attend their meeting. I was delighted to share my ���old school��� Girl Scout camping gear and uniform with the troop. And, over our afternoon together, I learned that while some of the insignia has changed, the mission of girl scouting remains the same���to develop courage, con���dence and character in young girls. I learned Junior scouts still giggle, camp and sell cookies. But nowadays they also talk about tough topics such as bullying, the ethical use of technology and even cutting. The badge structure also has changed. Scouts pursue Journeys instead of individual badges, and can choose from six pathways for their journey. They can go to camp, attend special events, tackle a special interest, travel, participate in a troop, or even be a virtual scout online. For one of its journeys, the members of Troop 2960 chose to discuss bullying and self-esteem. One of their exercises required each girl to make trading cards of their ���dream team��� of leaders. I expected them to name their teachers, their mothers or even Selena Gomez. And some did. But their mothers and their teachers joined a list of dream team leaders that also included Susan G. Komen, Christa McAuliffe, and even the 15���year-old Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban. The second part of the assignment required the girls to speak positively about themselves before the group to build self-esteem. That proved di���cult; they said it felt like they were boasting. The leaders encouraged them to continue and to recognize the positive things others saw in them. It was heartwarming to watch this group of 10-year-olds really listen (a ���talking���owl determines whose turn it is to speak) and support each other. Many of them had been in the troop together since kindergarten. Despite multicultural backgrounds, the girls only saw the friendships they had developed over the years. With the organizational changes I saw, and the community���s support that is always needed, I���m excited to report Girl Scouts will continue to help young girls ���stand up, stand out and stand tall��� today, tomorrow and well into the future As Jill Joswiak, one of the Troop 2960 leaders, says, ���I joined for the girls, I stayed for me. Girl scouting is a way of life and not just a badge to earn.��� ��������� Amy Carlson is the weekend weather anchor at NBC 15 in Madison. She can be reached at Nonpro���t Pro���le: Girl Scouts of Wisconsin-Badgerland Council What it is: Girl Scouts of the USA is national organization of young women and girls founded in 1912 to develop courage, confidence and character to create community leaders. 32 BRAVA Magazine What they do: Girl Scouts helps girls in kindergarten through 12th grade learn the importance of personal responsibility, goal setting, and teamwork through characterbuilding activities. March 2013 Local chapter: Girl Scouts of Wisconsin-Badgerland Council Inc. serves more than 14,200 girls in 21 counties across the state, including Dane County. How to help: The Badgerland Council needs adult leaders, mentors and volunteers. An adult guidebook provides the information volunteer leaders need with additional training available online. For more information: Visit

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