On the first anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, Girl Scouts and Kraft Foods demonstrated how corporate and community partnerships are helping achieve the Let’s Move! goal of ending childhood obesity within a generation. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, Kraft Foods’ President of Global Health and Wellness and Sustainability, Rhonda Jordan, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, Kathy Cloninger, CEO of Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital, Lidia Soto-Harmon and hundreds of Girl Scouts joined together to demonstrate how today’s girls are making healthy choices and incorporating physical activity into their daily lives. The town hall event took place at Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 5:30 p.m. EST and linked via satellite Girl Scouts in Chicago, Atlanta, and Los Angeles with Washington, D.C.
“First Lady Michelle Obama and her Let’s Move! campaign seek to put children on the path to a healthy future starting with their earliest months and years by giving parents the information they need to make healthy choices for their families. I am proud to be her partner in this effort. By eating right and getting the right amount of exercise, young girls can be an example to their friends, siblings, and even their parents to live healthier lives. With great partners like the Girl Scouts of the USA and Kraft Foods I know that we can ensure a bright and healthy future for our children” said Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services.
As part of its participation in Let’s Move!, Girl Scouts is challenging its 2.3 million girl members to take the lead and make healthy food choices and exercise a part of their daily activities. At the Town Hall, Girls exchanged ideas on how to encourage their families and peers to become healthier with the nation’s leading health authority, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Girl Scouts in Chicago, with Chef Robin Ross in the Kraft Kitchens, demonstrated how to prepare nutritious after-school snacks, while girls in DC created a hydroponic garden and took a Zumba class. Girls in Atlanta and Los Angeles also participated in the Town Hall via webcast, asking questions and sharing ideas on healthy living.
“Encouraging girls to lead happy, healthy, active lives has always been an important part of Girl Scouting. We are thrilled to be partnering with First Lady Obama, Secretary Sebelius, and our friends at Kraft Foods on Let’s Move!,” said Kathy Cloninger, CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA.
“Healthy eating and physical activity habits that girls learn at an early age can last a lifetime,” said Rhonda Jordan, President, Global Health and Wellness and Sustainability, Kraft Foods. “As the nation’s largest food company, we know we have a role to play in helping people make good choices, whether it’s providing nutritious food options or offering healthy recipes. We’re delighted to stand here today with the Girl Scouts and US Secretary Sebelius to encourage young women to start with the small steps that can lead to a healthy future.”
Girl Scout Senior Serena Patel, a student at Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg, MD., earned her Gold Award helping women at a local center understand nutrition information to prepare healthier meals for their families. Patel, who plans to explore a career in public health said, “It was easy to get mothers interested when I showed them how good nutrition can help their children become more alert and better students in the classroom.”
Serena’s story is only one example of how Girl Scouts is building the next generation of female leaders who are tackling the challenging issues of the day. Through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, and new programs including It’s Your Story – Tell It!, girls enjoy experiences, opportunities and activities that promote skills building and responsibility, and also promote the development of strong leadership and decision-making skills.Read More
Girl Scouts of the USA and Dove®, the leading personal care brand, partner to deliver Girl Scout leadership and self-esteem programming to millions of girls nationwide and abroad with the release of the latest Girl Scout leadership journey It’s Your Story—Tell It! It’s Your Story—Tell It! uses a storytelling theme in a fun and relevant way for girls to better understand themselves and their potential. “Through girls hearing stories, sharing their stories, trying out new roles and creating their own stories, they gain confidence and see that they can make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others” says Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Ph.D. Developmental Psychologist at Girl Scouts of the USA. Building a strong sense of self is an underlying goal of the series, which was made possible in part by a generous grant from Dove.
The collection of six age appropriate publications or “leadership journeys” have been developed for girls grades K-12 and is accompanied by corresponding adult guides. These resources center on a different theme at each Girl Scout grade-level and encourage girls to take the lead in planning their leadership activities and projects.
The Journeys are central to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Each level of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience takes girls on a journey – a voyage to someplace new, with adventures and discoveries along the way. These adventures strengthen a girl’s ability to discover herself and her values, connect with others locally and globally and take action to make the world a better place.
“Girl Scouts of the USA believes that girls develop confidence and self-esteem through taking action,” said Kathy Cloninger, CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA. “With this new journey, we saw an excellent opportunity to equip girls with the tools necessary in developing courage, confidence and character – three keys to leadership.”
Moreover, increased self-esteem is a natural outcome of It’s Your Story—Tell It! because, through storytelling and creative expression, girls gain a better understanding of themselves, learn how to reach their full potential and develop the confidence to become leaders in their own lives and in the world.
“The Dove® brand is proud to support the efforts of Girl Scouts of the USA on this creative and powerful programming, which will help girls to reach their full potential,” said Rob Candelino, Marketing Director, Dove® U.S., Unilever. “The purpose of the It’s Your Story – Tell It! leadership journey is aligned with the Dove® Movement for Self-Esteem, which invites all women to join us in creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.”
The Girl Scouts’ partnership with Dove® began in 2002, with the creation of “uniquely ME!”, a program designed to foster self-confidence among girls. Dove® continues its support of the Girl Scouts through the It’s Your Story – Tell It! leadership journey series. The Girl Scouts of the USA official online shop offers a full assortment of uniforms, program materials, awards, patches and accessories! Each purchase helps support Girl Scouts across the country and around the world. For more information, please visit www.girlscoutshop.comRead More
Nationwide Survey Finds a Disconnect Between How Teenage Girls Portray Themselves Online and in Person
The increased exposure to social media puts teenage girls in a confusing situation where a girl’s image is not always what it seems, as nearly 74% of girls believe other girls their age use social networking sites to make themselves “cooler than they really are,” according to a national survey released by Girl Scouts of the USA.
The nationwide survey, which included more than 1,000 girls ages 14 through 17, finds that girls downplay several positive characteristics of themselves online, most prominently their intelligence, kindness, and efforts to be a positive influence. In person, girls say they come across as smart (82%), kind (76%), and a good influence (59%), whereas online, girls consider themselves fun (54%), funny (52%), and social (48%). Girls with low self-esteem are more likely to admit their social networking image doesn’t match their in-person image (33% vs. 18% of girls with high self- esteem) and are also more likely to claim that the image they portray online is sexy (22% vs. 14%) and crazy (35% vs. 28%).
“Adults and teens alike need greater understanding about the ways girls represent themselves and communicate on social networking sites,” said Kimberlee Salmond, senior researcher at the Girl Scout Research Institute. “If girls are portraying themselves differently online than they are in person, this can impact their identity, sense of self, and relationships.”
The Girl Scout survey also sheds light on the fact that a majority of girls understand their emotional safety and reputations are at risk online, yet 50% admit to not always being as careful as they should be online. Sixty-eight percent of girls have had a negative experience on a social networking site, such as having someone gossip about them or being bullied. Furthermore, many girls are concerned that they won’t get into their college of choice (42%), will miss a job opportunity (40%), and will get into trouble with parents and teachers (40%).
In contrast, the vast majority of girls prefer face-to-face communication. Ninety-two percent would give up all of their social networking friends if it meant keeping their best friend. The study also finds that social networking provides an avenue for girls to maintain better relationships and feel more connected to causes they care about. Fifty-six percent of girls agree that social networking helps them feel closer to their friends, and 36% think that social networks have increased the quality of their relationships. Fifty-two percent of girls have gotten involved in a cause they care about through a social network.Read More
GSUSA National President Connie L. Lindsey participated last week in Vision 2020’s national conference, An American Conversation About Women and Leadership. The conference, held October 21–22 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, was comprised of nationwide representatives and various experts who discussed, debated, and developed an agenda to accelerate women’s leadership and equality in the decade to come.
During a panel discussion entitled “Philanthropy, Faith & Volunteerism,” an audience member asked, “How do you address the growing concern of women who are ‘burning out’ because of their service on boards?” to which Connie responded, “When I joined Girl Scouts’ National Board five years ago, the first question I asked was what is the ask?” She continued, “The size of your love for any organization should be matched with an impactful contribution to that organization. … It’s also important to have the courage, capacity, and the cash when thinking about which board you commit yourself to serve on.”
A gifted orator, Connie responded to a question about how one remains grounded as she/he moves up the ladder of success by asking audience members to raise their hands if they’d ever been a Girl Scout. (Dozens of hands rose.) Connie then smiled and said, “As you can see, one must have a clear foundation and a clear understanding of who one is. … We don’t all have to strive to be CEOs, and we must understand that our self-worth is not based on our net-worth.”
Along with Connie, who represented her hometown in Illinois, two Girl Scout National Girl Consultants, Morgan (2009 National Young Woman of Distinction honoree) and Natalia (2008 National Young Woman of Distinction honoree), participated in the event as national delegates, representing Georgia and Wisconsin, respectively. Connie, Morgan, and Natalia were selected from more than a thousand people who registered to nominate or become Vision 2020 national delegates. The search for delegates focused on finding women who have demonstrated a commitment to helping women and girls. These delegates were willing to mobilize resources to bring about positive change and implement elements of the decade-long Vision 2020 agenda, signing on for a minimum three-year term following the conference.
View the archived Webcast of Vision 2020’s: An American Conversation About Women and Leadership.Read More
This is a guest post by Janeen Vitalie-Shember from Girl Scouts of NorCal-Save Your Camps!
It started out as a group of us at a service unit team meeting lamenting – of course! What we were lamenting was that the Girl Scouts of Northern California was reviewing all of our camp properties and talking about mothballing them, or worse, selling them. And while our Council Delegate was talking about all of the questions he’d been asked to present to us, and how small the delegate participation had been on the Council-run conference calls to talk about the situation, we realized that we really didn’t have a voice at all. We realized that there were thousands of us in the Northern California Council, with a couple of dozen Council Delegates to represent us, of which only a handful had called to participate in this crucial discussion.
So like every good Girl Scout, I decided to “take action”. I set up a Facebook group – Girl Scouts of NorCal-Save Your Camps! What better way than to provide a forum for everyone to come together to share thoughts and ideas, get connected and be heard. Then I started to spread the word, starting with my Facebook friends, troop families and spreading out to all of the leaders in my service unit. Those leaders told their troop families and friends. And soon Girl Scout leaders and alums, parents and husbands, were joining the group to show their support and share their belief that our camps are a precious commodity to be preserved.
As more and more people have joined the group, it has become an easy access point for information – Marina Park is a member of the group and posts regular updates and links to Council data. We have had discussions of solutions to the maintenance “gaps” at our camps – and have seen the launch of the “Tents and Trails” campaign. It’s been exciting to read people’s stories of their own camp experiences, and their wishes for their own daughters to have the same experiences.
In a few short months the group has grown to 194 members, and there is plenty of room to grow. I’ve set the challenge – 250 members by Labor Day. So if you feel passionately about camping, the outdoors, and the Girl Scouts’ heritage of custodians of open spaces, join – post – spread the word – be heard.Read More