I know, I made an incredibly bold statement with this blog title. This is how I felt during and every day since I attended Girl Scouts of the USA’s 54th National Council Session and G.I.R.L. 2017 Convention. I have written this post in my head over and over again these last few weeks. There is so much I want to share and say about this incredible time together as a movement. I will do my best to share this experience with you in my words below. I would have loved bringing ALL of our girls to this event.
Here are the reasons why I feel our movement is rising strong:
It was 100% girl-led.
This was evident in every part of this convention and G.I.R.L. Conference. GSUSA assembled a team of girls to lead the planning and execution of this huge event. They called themselves the G-Team. I am so proud they focused on what the girls wanted from this event. Girls were at the center of every presentation, performance, and conversation. There was never any doubt about why we were there and what we were committed to doing. The energy in the room was electric and led by girls. The girls were our emcees for the conference. They were literally center stage. Many of our guest speakers and performers were girls. All I can say that is our world IS a better place because of girls. And, all of these girls got their inspiration and start in Girl Scouts.
The G-Team with keynote speaker Gabby Douglas.
Pluralism is alive and well in our century-old organization.
Participating in our National Council Session was fascinating. There was lively debate and vigorous discussion. One proposal passed, while the other two failed. What made the biggest impression on me was the number of girls speaking up and sharing their voices to the more than 2,000 people in the room. Our council had four girl delegates. I would like to see every council bring at least one to this important part of our movement’s governance. After all, they are the foundation of our purpose.
GSWCF was well represented with both girl and adult delegates and council staff.
Delegates voting during National Council Session.
We are fierce.
Fierce advocates for girls. We’ve always put them first and will never waiver from this commitment. And, knowing we have a responsibility as the largest leadership development organization for girls in the world, the G.I.R.L. Agenda was launched. This is a nonpartisan initiative to inspire, prepare, and mobilize girls and those who care about them to lead positive change through civic action. We are the catalyst for change in our community and our world. We see this daily in our girls. We can build a brighter future for all of us.
The impact is crystal clear.
Girls benefit tremendously from being a Girl Scout. This is shown time and again and in study after study. Our speakers clearly demonstrated that Girl Scouts are successful in life. Girl Scouts go on to have more successful careers, more active volunteers, more involved in advocacy, higher education levels, and have higher household incomes. We know there is still more work to do. We are reaching higher with goals including pay equity, increased civic engagement, 5 million girls in the STEM pipeline, and 30% female managerial leadership.
We have momentum.
We have a vision, rooted by our mission, and we are here to advance the future of our girls. We have momentum in many ways. Membership is growing in many councils, stemming the tide of the deeper membership declines we’ve been facing. Leaders are investing in us, Dianne Belk and her husband, Lawrence Calder, announced their commitment to bolstering planned giving across our movement as the founders of the Juliette Gordon Low Society. Our National Young Women of Distinction have shown all of us the power of the leadership in our girls. We are bringing innovation to our programming, giving girls a breadth of opportunities and experiences they can get nowhere else.
National Young Women of Distinction during with Chelsea Clinton.
Thank you to the girls and dedicated volunteers who made this event such a tremendous success. I cannot wait for G.I.R.L. 2020 in Orlando, FL. I’m ready to smash our goals, celebrate our successes, and strive for even more.
Yours in Girl Scouting,
America's Got Talent finalist Angelica Hale's performance at the closing celebration.