Girl Scouts of the USA; Houston was the Launchpad for the Next 100 Years

Imagine a place where everyone shares your values; where everyone lives by the Girl Scout Law. That is the world that a small group of Girl Scout adults and girls from Alaska lived in last week.

At the George Brown Convention Center in Houston, the Girl Scout flag flew, and the Girl Scout logo, colors, and imagery were everywhere. But, it was the feeling of being surrounded by 15,000 other Girl Scouts that made the experience magical.

As the closing ceremony keynote speaker, Robin Roberts said, “You might not remember who you saw or what they said, but you will remember how you felt.”
I felt serene, energized, safe, strong, and surrounded by loving care.
It was from this nest that we were inspired and empowered to embrace the second century of Girl Scouting. Within that environment of sisterhood we felt the courage and motivation to turn outward and share the power of Girl Scouts as wide and far as we can reach.

There is a saying, “If you teach a girl, you educate the world.” In Houston, we heard again and again how girls are an untapped resource, how their involvement in everything from science to politics is so valuable, and so needed. Yet, girls continue to be left out of, and opt out of, leadership opportunities.

That’s why there has never been a more exciting time to be a Girl Scout. Girl Scouts has the ability, and the opportunity, to inspire the gender balanced leadership that our country needs.

The world is in economic crisis, and we need leaders more than ever. If we continue on our current path, women won’t achieve parity in the U.S. Congress for another 400 years. We know that Girl Scouts provides girls with opportunities and experiences that inspire them to do great things. Girl Scouting gives girls the courage, confidence, and character to become leaders.

Indeed, more than 70% of the women leaders in our country are former Girl Scouts. But, two-thirds of too few is not enough. Every girl deserves the chance to discover the difference she can make. Imagine what the world would look like if every girl had the opportunities and experiences we provide in Girl Scouts?

Will you join me in realizing our biggest dreams for girls in the 21st century? Will you help me renew the promise of Girl Scouting for another 100 years?

In Houston, Kathy Cloninger, our outgoing CEO, asked us if we would do three things to ring in the second century of Girl Scouts. She asked us to:
1. Be informed about how girls define leadership and recognize how girls want to lead;

2. Take the message of the vast potential and importance of investing in leadership development for girls beyond the Girl Scout world; and

3. Encourage our fellow adults to lead; to find the leader in ourselves, and to help others to do the same.

Will you raise your voices and thereby inspire girls to also raise theirs? Will you join me and the Girl Scout Movement in renewing the promise to build another century of girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place?

The following inspirational words were shared in Houston by some of today’s women leaders. These are the kind of women we need more of, in order to provide role models for both girls and boys, and show them what gender balanced leadership looks like, and that it is possible.

“Courage + dreams = success” - Marlee Matlin
“Put yourself in a position for good things to happen.”
“Dream big, and focus small.” – Robin Roberts
“When you come to the end of the light of all you know, it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown. Faith will give you one of two things, something solid to stand on or wings to fly.” - Monique Coleman
Honorary Girl Scout Chair Michelle Obama shared by video address that she has three wishes for every girl: “That she lead a healthy lifestyle, pursue her dreams, and reach her goals.”