Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Building the Girl Scout Leadership Experience in Alaska

Dear Girl Scouts,

Girl Scouts of Alaska just passed the six-month mark as a newly merged organization. Staff, board, and volunteers, have been engaged in this process of organizational transition and continuous improvement. The formation of Girl Scouts of Alaska is part of the transformational change within the Girl Scouts USA Movement as a whole. The Girl Scout Leadership Experience is the core framework of defining what Girl Scouting is today.

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.
To fulfill this mission and our commitment to girls, we are renewing the Girl Scout experience by making it compelling, relevant, and impact-driven for 21st-century girls. Thousands of members around the country have contributed ideas and perspectives, culminating in decisions by the National Board of Directors in August 2006. Girl Scouts of the USA began phasing in exciting program changes beginning fall of 2008. With changes, come questions! Here are answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions.

Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Girl Scout Leadership Development Program?
The leadership model is the new design for what girls do in Girl Scouting and how adult support can strengthen their experience. It is the road map for determining what a girl will learn and how she will be impacted. The model defines and displays all the elements that must be in place to positively impact girls’ lives. The Girl Scout Leadership Development Program, then, is the model in action.

2. How will the Girl Scout Leadership Development Program impact girls’ lives?
Through the Girl Scout Leadership Development Program girls will discover their personal best and prepare for a positive future, connect with others in an increasingly diverse world, and take action to solve problems and improve their communities. Girls have told us that these opportunities matter very much to girls—both in their daily lives and as they prepare for their futures. And, with our unique focus on a By Girls, for Girls approach and cooperative and experiential learning, girls will continue to have fun, friendship, and exciting adventures.

3. How will the changes impact the volunteer experience?
Over the next several years, Girl Scouts of the USA will strive to improve the volunteer experience by:
• Making it easier for busy volunteers to join, stay involved, and serve in flexible ways
• Providing user-friendly new materials, resources, and training that make it easier for volunteers to deliver a fun and impact-driven Girl Scout experience
• Helping volunteers to better see (and show others) the difference they are making in girls’ lives

4. What is the Girl Scout approach to leadership?
The Girl Scout approach to leadership is based on the three pillars—Discover, Connect, and Take Action.

Discover
As a Girl Scout discovers her world, she:
• Develops a strong sense of self
• Gains practical and healthy life skills
• Strengthens her values

Connect
As a Girl Scout connects with others in a global community, she:
• Forms caring relationships
• Promotes cooperation and team building
• Embraces diversity

Take Action
As a Girl Scout takes action in the world, she:
• Feels empowered to make a difference
• Identifies and solves problems she cares about
• Advocates for herself and others

The Girl Scout leadership development pillars represent cycles of activities that engage girls in practicing leadership skills, based on the values of the Girl Scout Promise and Law. Girl Scouting will redefine with girls and the nation what it means to be a leader.

5. Why is Girl Scouts of the USA changing now?
Since 1912, Girl Scouting has risen to the challenge of meeting the unique needs of each generation of girls. Girls today are asking for compelling, relevant, and impact driven experiences. This change is part of the next-steps in the Core Business Strategy as expected since 2004. Imagining the power of the Girl Scout Movement speaking in one consistent national voice about what we do: leadership development for girls!

6. What about the Girl Scout history and traditions?
“The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers.”
– Juliette Gordon Low

Change is perhaps the oldest tradition in Girl Scouting. Ever since Juliette Gordon Low returned from England in 1912 and changed “Guide” to “Scout” in response to the preference of American girls, those in the Girl Scout Movement have prided themselves on their ability to make timely adjustments to fulfill the evolving concerns of modern girls. Girl Scouts has a long history of updating clothing, awards, age groupings, and so on to meet the needs of girls. While continuing to maintain the values that have been at our core for 95 years, this renewal allows Girl Scouts to remain relevant.

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