It’s always bothered me that Girl Scouting doesn’t get the same kind of respect that Boy Scouting does. For instance, boys in high school who earn their Eagle Award are celebrated, while girls in high school who are still involved in scouting try to keep it a secret.
This is a shame, because girl scouting is awesome. I know that a lot of my best memories from childhood are centered on activities I did with my troop. Scouting helped me be more involved with my community; because I went to Catholic school in another town, I often felt a little disconnected from the kids in my town. As a Girl Scout, I worked with other girls in my town planting flowers at the library, doing clean-ups at the pond, and decorating shop windows in town for Halloween.
Scouting also made volunteer work and helping charities a regular part of my life. Every year we’d begin making Christmas crafts early in the autumn for a local church’s annual charity Christmas fair. All of the proceeds from our sales went to Shelter Our Sisters, a women’s and children’s shelter in the area (although literally in the middle of writing this post I checked my email to find that they’ve changed their name to The Center for Hope and Safety). We sang songs to entertain residents at a nursing home for retired performers.
However, my favorite thing about being a Girl Gcout was going to camp. Our Girl Scout camp was in a beautiful, secluded location on a lake in New York State. Going to camp, one of my first experiences being without my parents for a week, was a formative experience for me. All of a sudden I was being challenged to do things that I’d never done before – and I was good at a lot of them! As a child who was talented at academics but not much else, this was incredible for my self-esteem. I discovered that I was brave and adventurous and that I could be pretty confident when I needed to.
One thing I often hear lauded about scouting is the way it provides positive female role models to girls. I think I was in a unique position in that my mom was our troop leader from Brownies until we graduated eighth grade. I’ve already written about what a strong role model my mother was for me, and I think it’s admirable that she chose to also be a role model for other girls.
Now that I’m thinking about it for this post, it’s a shame that we don’t have things like that as older girls or as adults. Think about it; wouldn’t it be cool to meet up with a bunch of other girls around your age to learn something new? To turn the pages of your Girl Scout handbook and decide that this week you wanted to earn a badge on fashion, or finances, or leadership?
I know that we could technically be seeking things out ourselves, but I also think I totally took girl scouting and all that it offered me for granted back when I was young enough to be a scout.
So I’m taking this opportunity to show my appreciation by supporting the Girl Scouts of America through this Day of Action!
Check out their campaign, Made with Code, that they’re using to encourage girls to get involved in coding.
Did you know that in middle school, 74% of girls express interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), but when choosing a college major, just 0.3% of high school girls select computer science? (source)
This is obviously a problem!
Especially because coding can help you make:
- Secure databases to record human rights abuses.
- Online petition software that can instantly collect signatures about urgent causes.
- Location devices to keep relief workers and separated families connected during disasters.
- Microfinance websites that help fight poverty by providing loans to low-income people in developing countries.
So join the International Day of the Girl and Girl Scouts of America, and get involved in coding! I’m going to be doing my part to encourage girls in STEM by participating in a Wikipedia Editathon in honor of Ada Lovelace next week. Fun!