In The News
Girl Scouts and National Inclusion Project Partner for Inclusion Programming
By GSNWGL Staff
The National Inclusion Project has partnered with GSNWGL to implement Let’s ALL Play—Inclusion in Recreational Programs. The partnership will bring our Council’s inclusion initiatives another step forward, ensuring that girls with cognitive, social, and emotional disabilities continue to learn new skills, participate in activities, and interact with others for an inclusive Girl Scout experience. The partnership will also provide training and resources to GSNWGL’s inclusion staff who in turn will educate volunteers and girls about various disabilities and how to ensure that every girl is included in Girl Scout activities.
The National Inclusion Project is a national nonprofit organization that creates awareness, provides services, and funds programs for people of all abilities with the goal to create an environment for children where inclusion is embraced.
Click here to learn more about GSNWGL’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Across the Kitchen Table: An Honest Conversation about Girl Scouts and Sensitive Issues
By GSNWGL Staff
Girl Scouts has always been known as the premier organization for girls, providing progressive opportunities for leadership and personal growth. When an organization is ahead of its time—especially when it comes to advancing opportunities for young women and girls—there can sometimes be backlash from those who may resist change to the status quo. Often, rumor and misinformation can be a part of that backlash.
For example, recently at the national level, Girl Scouts has come under fire for the false assumption of a relationship between Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and Planned Parenthood. This has garnered some attention in the media and on the web. And at the local level, some of our volunteers and staff have been asked about these claims and wondered: what is the relationship with Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood?
The answer is simple. None.
Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes (GSNWGL) and GSUSA do not have partnerships or relationships with Planned Parenthood in any way. To be clear, our Council does not partner with Planned Parenthood to any degree.
Though Girl Scouts is not a specifically faith-based organization, we are faith-friendly, so we take the concerns of the religious community seriously. We welcome opportunities for religious leaders and organizations of all faiths to learn more about the many ways we support our shared community of girls. Among our many programs are opportunities for girls to explore their individual faiths.
Everything in Girl Scouting relates back to the Girl Scout Promise and the Girl Scout Law. The Girl Scout Law includes many of the tenets and values that are common to most faiths. GSUSA and GSNWGL provide girls with opportunities to explore their individual spiritual journeys, and girls of all ages can earn the My Promise, My Faith pin. The pin complements existing religious recognitions and allows girls to further strengthen the connection between their faith and Girl Scouts. By carefully examining the Girl Scout Law and directly tying it to tenets of her faith, girls may earn this special pin.
At GSNWGL, we feel that the nurturing, supporting, and promoting of opportunities for girls to be happy, healthy, and confident leaders is a universally-shared mission. The Girl Scout mission states, “Girl Scouting build girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place.” We believe this is a mission that everyone can embrace, and it can be fulfilled by supporting our shared goals to lift girls up and help them become confident and courageous leaders today and into the future.
New Girl Scout Badges Offer Different Choices To Smart Cookies
By Linda Holmes from National Public Radio
Today on All Things Considered, Alisha Niehaus of the Girl Scouts of the USA talks to host Guy Raz about a big update: For the first time in a quarter-century, they've completely overhauled the system of badges that Scouts can earn.
There are badges that haven't changed much — in a press release, the organization calls the Cook, Athlete and Naturalist badges "as relevant today as they were in 1912." But Digital Movie Maker? Website Designer? Geocacher? Locavore? Yes, the times they are a-changing. (Try not to panic at the thought that a Brownie — she'll be somewhere between 6 and 9 years old — can earn a badge called "Computer Expert.")
Some of the changes aren't entirely about changing the subject matter; they're about adjusting the approach. For example, what used to be a Fashion, Fitness and Makeup badge has been changed, because Niehaus says that while the girls in the program are still interested in makeup and fashion, that interest isn't limited to how things will look, but goes a little deeper. So there will be a badge in the Science & Technology category called The Science Of Style, which will focus on things like the chemistry of sunscreen or perhaps even making your own perfume.
The "Customer Loyalty" badge in the Cookie sequence.
Girl Scouts of America
The "Customer Loyalty" badge in the Cookie sequence.
There's also a badge within the Innovation series called Product Designer, which Niehaus calls "the intersection of design and business." Girls working on that badge might try to improve the functionality of backpack straps or improve the design of a cell-phone case.
Girl Scouts keeping track of the bottom line will also have the opportunity to earn Financial Literacy badges in which, as a girl works her way up from Daisy to Ambassador, she can earn badges like Money Manager, Budgeting, Financing My Future, and Good Credit. And yes, there are plenty of cookie-related badges: Meet My Customers, Business Plan, and Customer Loyalty, among others.
The "Science Of Happiness" badge.
Girl Scouts of America
The "Science Of Happiness" badge.
Perhaps the most intriguing-sounding new badge is one called The Science Of Happiness. Developed with help from a psychology researcher, it calls on girls to work for one month on a strategy generally believed to increase personal happiness — Niehaus suggests, for instance, being forgiving towards others — and then evaluating its effects on their psychological well-being.
Ultimately, Girl Scouts of the USA hopes the new badges, developed in consultation with girls in the program, continue to help girls customize their own projects. "You can make your Girl Scouting experience what you want it to be," she says.
Eau Claire resident earned Girl Scouts' top award
By Blythe Wachter, Food, Lifestyles and Travel editor from Eau Claire Leader-Telegram
UW-Eau Claire freshman Marguerite Gilbertson knows firsthand about unrealistic body images.
The 18-year-old Eau Claire resident struggled with an eating disorder while attending Memorial High School.
Her project focusing on body image, peer pressure and the impact of negative media messages earned her the Girl Scout Gold Award this past spring. It is the highest award a Girl Scout can achieve.
Only a small percentage of members complete this prestigious accomplishment. Gilbertson received her award in June in Appleton.
"It's often described as 'what do you want to be remembered for.' It's leaving a legacy and your mark in Girl Scouts and in the whole community," said Jess Radke, an Eau Claire-based copy writer with the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes.
Next year the Girl Scouts of the USA celebrates its 100th anniversary.
"For 100 years, Girl Scouts has given girls positive role models to look up to, and they don't need to be Hollywood stars. Rather, they're older Girl Scouts in the community helping younger girls grow and understand the world. I can't think of a better example than Marguerite," Radke said.
Gilbertson's project, "Free 2 Be Me," is timely. The national Girl Scouts organization is an advocate for the Healthy Media for Youth Act.
The bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, and others, would authorize grants to promote media literacy and youth empowerment programs and research on depictions of girls and women in the media.
Writing about her project, Gilbertson described it as "helping girls raise their self-esteem and ways to survive the battle of high school anorexia and seeing past the media's version of beauty."
"The way I see it after attending four years at Memorial High School, it is almost impossible to have good body image these days. It's hard enough comparing yourself to the prettiest girls in school, but it's completely impossible to be compared to women in magazines and on TV."
With today's technology, it's easy to change photos, she wrote. "The hard part is getting girls and sometimes even women to believe that these superficial idealized models of American society are nothing more than a picture."
As a freshman and sophomore, Gilbertson said, she struggled with body issues and anorexia. Her mother took her to a nutritionist, who helped her understand healthful eating and being healthy.
"I still struggle with my own body issues ... but because of Girl Scouts, I've become more confident in myself and as a role model," a smiling and poised Gilbertson said recently at Eau Claire's Girl Scout Service Center, 4222 Oakwood Hills Parkway.
"My main goal is to have girls look at their bodies and say, 'I'm healthy, I'm happy and I'm me.' A lot of girls don't," she said.
One strategy Gilbertson shares with other girls is to use "power words" that make them feel better about themselves.
"My three words are 'courage,' 'character' and 'confidence.' When I feel nervous, when I feel I don't look pretty, I tell myself that and I feel better. It's just one aspect of building up your self-esteem," she said.
Gilbertson, the daughter of Marianna and Troy Gilbertson, formerly belonged to a Girl Scout troop but became a Juliette, or individually registered member, as a sophomore to pursue her own interests.
Scouting is a tradition in her family; her great-grandmother, grandmother and mother also joined. "I am a lifetime member, meaning I am a registered Girl Scout for the rest of my life," said Gilbertson, who plans to volunteer with the organization.
Staying involved in the leadership development organization can be a challenge for busy high school students. Gilbertson also participated in forensics, equestrian team, cheerleading, theater, band, art club, Japanese club and National Honor Society.
The large majority who stay in Scouting through high school become lifetime members, Radke said. "Girl Scouts is ingrained into who you are so you want to give back."
Indeed, Gilbertson, a Scout for 12 years, said, "I knew I had a bigger part in my community than just being a student."
Before venturing for the Gold, she earned the Silver Award and other awards and badges. Her Silver project involved her troop collecting food for the Eau Claire County Humane Association through a fashion show fundraiser.
Gilbertson, assisted by other high school students, organized a "Free 2 Be Me" event for eighth-grade girls this past April at DeLong Middle School.
The girls discussed friendship, peer pressure, body image, media messages and what they could expect once they started high school. Gilbertson's goal was to inspire girls to try and be good role models and help raise each other's self-esteem.
"I do believe positive role models are an important part of young girls' lives ... someone to tell you that you can dream bigger," she said.
Girls can be their "own worst enemy," she said.
"At 15, you think popularity is everything. The hardest thing to get through to girls is that beauty is not something perceived by other people," she said.
Instead, beauty springs from talent, personality and many other things besides appearance, she said.
Gilbertson, who plans to become a teacher, also encouraged the girls to find a trusted adult they can talk to about their concerns. Her family, along with Girl Scout mentors, gave her support.
Sometimes girls think they have nowhere else to turn but to peers trying to bring them down, she said, adding she gave the DeLong group her contact information if they needed a confidante.
She has a Facebook group for girls and plans to continue "Free 2 Be Me" presentations.
Gilbertson offered a final word of advice to girls: "Look at yourself and find a way to be happy with who you are as a person. You should never let anyone change the way you are."
Girl Scouts still turning out leaders
By Blythe Wachter, Food, Lifestyles and Travel editor from Eau Claire Leader-Telegram
Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low gathered 18 girls from Savannah, Ga., to register the first troop of what then was called American Girl Guides on March 12, 1912.
Her goal for the girls?
"From the very beginning, Girl Scouts was founded on the idea that women should be given the opportunities they wouldn't get elsewhere," said Jess Radke, a copy writer for the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes based at the Eau Claire Service Center, 4222 Oakwood Hills Parkway.
In 2012, the Girl Scouts of the USA will celebrate its 100th anniversary. Even as the leadership development organization has changed in the past century to meet current needs of girls, it has stayed true to its roots, Radke said.
"We're really shaped by the times," she said, noting the organization now is focused on increasing girls' involvement in science, technology, engineering and math as the percentage of careers requiring advanced STEM education rises.
At the same time the organization remains faithful to Low's vision. "We help develop confidence, leadership, resourcefulness and cultural understanding," Radke said.
"No matter what women and girls are facing, we're there to help shape and form them."
Girls can join Girl Scouts starting in kindergarten. They can belong to a troop or participate as an individually registered member, called a Juliette.
The organization helps participants discover interests, talents and values; connect with other girls; and build self-confidence, teamwork and decision-making skills through activities such as camping, earning badges and awards for finishing tasks, working on community service projects and traveling.
As girls have fun, they often don't realize they are developing leadership skills, Radke said. Programs incorporate at least one of five focus areas: environment and outdoor adventure, health and wellness, STEM, arts and culture, and financial literacy.
Low started a tradition of Girl Scouts being ahead of the times, Radke said.
She wanted to bring girls out of isolated home environments and into community service and the outdoors, according to the Girl Scouts. So participants hiked, played basketball, went camping, learned to tell time by the stars and studied first aid.
"They were doing things that would not be very typical in the early 1900s," Radke said.
"We're still getting girls in the outdoors and making them independent."
Low encouraged girls to prepare for traditional homemaking and potential roles as professional women in the arts, sciences and business, the Girl Scouts' website says.
An early example of career preparation was Wing Scouts, a popular older Girl Scout program begun in 1941 and ending in the 1970s for girls interested in flying and wanting to serve their country. That was "pretty forward thinking for girls back in the '40s," Radke said.
Since the 1930s, Girl Scouts have knocked on doors during an annual fundraiser to sell commercially baked cookies.
Cookie sales help girls develop entrepreneurial skills as they budget time and money and learn sales, marketing and communication skills, Radke said, so something as simple as Thin Mints has "a bigger meaning to a Girl Scout."
The U.S. has become increasingly diverse, but Girl Scouting was built on inclusiveness, she said.
The organization welcomed girls with disabilities at a time when they were excluded from many activities; Low herself never let deafness keep her from full participation in life, according to the national organization.
Even before the civil rights movement of the 1960s, every girl, no matter what her race, could be a Girl Scout, Radke noted. The first black troop formed in 1917.
Unlike extracurricular programs that focus only on one activity, Girl Scouts offers multiple opportunities to help girls discover a "whole well-rounded world," Radke said.
Making a Difference
Initiatives to celebrate the Girl Scouts' centennial include:
Forever Green: At the forefront of the sustainability movement, Girl Scouts, alumnae and families nationwide are working to improve air quality, energy use, water quality, waste management and green space use. For information go to gsnw.gl/fg12.
Lambeau show: An expo-style extravaganza will showcase Girl Scout fashions over the last century and changes in the organization in those 100 years. The event will be June 16 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
Archive team: Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes is seeking volunteers to serve on an archives team to inventory, catalog and display historical memorabilia. Call 888-747-6945, ext. 4520, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
STEM advocacy: Wisconsin Girl Scout councils are teaming up to develop a statewide advocacy group dedicated to raising awareness, developing quality programs and ultimately engaging legislators in Girl Scout advocacy efforts. In their centennial year the Girl Scouts are focusing on bridging the gap between girls and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers. For information go to gsnw.gl/sac.
GSNWGL Lifetime Member Awarded Truman Scholarship
By CGA Public Affairs from United States Coast Guard Academy
2/c Cadet Melissa K. McCafferty Coast Guard Academy Second Class Cadet Melissa McCafferty received the 2010 Truman Scholarship this year. She is the third consecutive person from the Academy to receive the Truman scholarship, an unprecedented accomplishment.
The scholarship provides up to $30,000 for graduate study, priority admission, supplemental financial aid, leadership training, graduate school counseling and special internship opportunities within the federal government. Melissa was informed of the news in late March by Rear Adm. J. Scott Burhoe, Superintendent of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. She began working on the scholarship in the fall of 2009 under the guidance of Professor Zapalska, director of the Academy Honors program, and Professors Youngman and Ringel, also both with the Adademy. The application consisted of 13 short essays and four letters of recommendation. By the end of the application, Melissa had received help during her mock interviews from several of the civilian and military faculty and staff throughout the Academy. Melissa applied from her home state of Michigan.
In February, McCafferty was notified that she was a finalist and would be interviewed in Chicago, Ill., with 12 other finalists from the Midwest region. After arriving in Chicago, McCafferty had dinner with all of the finalists in downtown Chicago where she was able to meet with past Truman Scholars and talk about her future in public service. The interview was held in the Chicago Federal Reserve with a panel consisting of prominent business and government figures from the Midwest as well as Frederick Slabach, the executive secretary of the Harry S. Truman Foundation. Other finalists included students from Northwestern University, Bryn Mawr College, Georgetown University and Princeton. Of the twelve finalists, two scholars were chosen. One was from Illinois with McCafferty being the other from Michigan.
McCafferty is a Government major with a dual concentration in public policy and international affairs. She was born in Lansing, Mich., and raised in Newberry, Mich. She came to the Coast Guard Academy because she wanted to serve her country and humanity. The Coast Guard was a natural fit for her desired educational and life goals, helping to prepare her for a life in public service through law and politics.
McCafferty intends to pursue a joint MPP/JD degree at the Harvard School of Law and Kennedy School of Government focusing on political advocacy and leadership while specializing in law and governance. By studying at Harvard, she hopes to offer her expertise to address future policy and legal concerns in the U.S. Coast Guard and beyond. This summer, McCafferty will attend the Truman Scholar Leadership Week at William Jewell College in Liberty, Mo. While there she will meet the other 2010 Truman Scholars, staff and public servants, work on community service and public policy projects and learn about different graduate school programs.
From CAMPER to COUNSELOR
By KYLE WHITNEY - Journal Staff Writer, The Mining Journal, Marquette, MI
MARQUETTE - Caitlin Wright remembers a particular trip she took to the movies with her parents when she was just 5 years old. Prior to the start of the picture, Wright spied a troop of Girl Scout Brownies - the title for second- and third-grade Scouts - in the theater on a field trip.
"They looked like they were having so much fun and I looked at my mom and said, 'I want to be that,'" said Wright, now 18.
"I've been a Girl Scout ever since."
And of the numerous memories Wright has accumulated in the past 13 years, her most precious come from Camp Pow-Low, a small parcel of land located on Mehl Lake, near Gwinn.
Each year, she, her troopmates and her friends would descend on Camp Pow-Low for a two-night, three-day stay, complete with camping, kayaking, swimming and crafts.
"I think some of my best memories come from just walking around that camp. It seems so big your first summer there," Wright said. "Now I look at it and I think, 'I seriously got lost here? What was I thinking?'
"But that was, I think, the best part. Getting lost, finding random cabins and just having fun."
Mary Vertanen is a troop leader and service area manager who oversees 20 troops in the Marquette area. She orchestrates the Pow-Low trips for Girl Scouts in the Marquette and Gwinn areas and was Wright's Brownie leader many years ago.
"She started (attending camp) when she was in second grade. She got eaten alive by all the bugs and she still came back the second year," Vertanen said.
When Wright, who has attended the camp on a nearly annual basis since, graduated from high school recently, she transitioned from an Ambassador Girl Scout to an adult member of the organization - thanks in part to the gift of a lifetime membership from the Marquette Community Girl Scouts.
The milestone also marked another shift, though. For the first time this summer, Wright will attend camp not as a camper, but as a counselor.
She will soon be a co-counselor at Sidnaw's Camp Nesbit and plans to fill the same role at Pow-Low next month.
Wright knows the change will mean more responsibility, but hopes to help the younger generation of Scouts have as memorable of an experience as she had. Those memories, according to Vertanen, are what camp is all about.
"It's seeing the girl who lights her first campfire with one match. Or the little girl who didn't want to go kayaking or canoeing, but didn't want to get out when she got back," she said.
And as Wright encroaches on her 14th year in Girl Scouts, she is making plans to further her involvement. In fact, she plans to join Campus Girl Scouts at Northern Michigan University, where she will attend college.
"The thing that really made me stay are the connections I've made with people," she said. "It has certainly given me a different point of view for looking at the world. I learned how to be a part of the solution, instead of the problem and I think that's going to continue for life."
Anyone interested in joining the Girl Scouts can contact Jill Rady at 906-225-8020, ext. 6014.
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. His email address is kwhitney@miningjournal. net.
*Please note: Permission was given to repost this article by the author.
GSNWGL Girl Named a State Honoree of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards
By Prudential Spirit of Community Awards from Prudential, in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
Nikhitha Murali, 17, of Green Bay,Wis., a senior at Ashwaubenon High School, organized a one-day health care clinic in a poor rural village in India, raising more than $4,000 to bring much-needed health care professionals and supplies to 203 villagers, many of whom had never seen a doctor. The idea for her clinic came to Nikhitha on the way from the airport to her grandmother’s home in India. “Stray dogs huddled next to the homeless, who were swathed in grime-stained cloth,” said Nikhitha. “The crippled wailed as they hobbled down the street. Children with hollow cheeks stared at the cars that drove by.” Haunted by those images and interested in medicine, Nikhitha began researching health care in India and found that many of the illnesses that plague the poor there could be prevented with good hygiene. She decided then to run a health “camp” for a poor village.
Nikhitha first set some basic goals: she wanted to educate villagers about basic hygiene practices, distribute supplies, and provide medical checkups. She contacted a nonprofit organization in India for help in selecting the village of Pallampaakum as the site of the camp, and then contacted manufacturers of drugs and hygienic supplies, many of whom donated or discounted their products. Local Indian Rotary Clubs agreed to provide volunteers to staff the clinic and helped her recruit doctors to provide checkups. At home, she held a raffle at her school and solicited private donations to raise money. On the day of the clinic, 13 doctors of various specialties examined the villagers. Each patient was then sent home with a hygiene kit that included soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, shoes (to prevent infections and worms), and a mosquito net to prevent malaria. Twenty of the villagers were diagnosed with diabetes and were educated on the proper diet for the disease. And thanks to publicity generated by the project, a sponsor agreed to buy a water filter for the village. Nikhitha said she continues to track health statistics in the village to gauge the success of the clinic and will conduct another clinic in a different village or orphanage. “There is so much more to be done, and I can’t wait to see what the future will bring,” she said.
Off to College or Off to Career, Girl Scouts a Formula for Girl Success
By Kendra Walker from Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--During this season of mortar boards, robes and commencement speeches, it is significant to note that organizations such as the Girl Scouts have played a role in the development and ambition of girls and young women. Not only has Girl Scouts determined a link between membership and later career achievement – 82 percent of high-achieving Girl Scout alumnae believe that Girl Scouting influenced their success* and a 2004 study demonstrated that 80 percent of female executives and business owners and two-thirds of women serving in Congress were former Girl Scouts – the experiences offered by the Girl Scouts develop the leadership and life skills considered the basis for success, whether it be academic, social or career.
According to a recent study from the University of Texas at Austin, girls were 57 percent less likely than peers of the same race, social class and academic background to attend college if they had feelings of not fitting in.** Furthermore, studies have shown that in an all-girl environment, girls are more likely to speak up, take leadership roles and pursue non-traditional subjects such as math and science – and excel at them. Plus, in these environments, girls have access to more female adult role models.
Statistics and studies like these are the reason Girl Scouting is more important than ever. For almost 100 years, Girl Scouting has provided extra-curricular programming that is girl-led, inclusive, empowering and expansive – traits not only attractive to universities, colleges and corporations, but vital to the success of girls.
“Girl Scouts has motivated me to find an avenue in which I can grow to my fullest extent,” said college-bound Ambassador Girl Scout Ashley Olmeda. “Through Girl Scouts, I found an inner confidence in myself to pursue greater and more challenging obstacles, including a higher education.”
“Over the years, Girl Scouting has taught me to persevere and to never give up. I’m sure I’ll apply these skills in my studies at college, as well as the career I choose after,” added fellow Gold Award Girl Scout Dana Chernich, who will be entering the University of California, Irvine in the fall.
Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles salutes the graduating Girl Scout seniors throughout the greater Los Angeles area. On June 12, the council will honor Olmeda, Chernich and 195 other outstanding Girl Scouts this year who have earned the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting.
Celebrate a graduate and be a part of the Girl Scouts 100th Anniversary Float in the 2012 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. Girl Scouts of Greater LA has a heartfelt way for all to honor the graduates and women in their lives with float flower dedications. For each $5 donation, the name of a loved one: graduates, moms, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, wives, girlfriends, Troop Leaders, former and current Girl Scouts, and more will be on the Girl Scout 100th Anniversary Float. Dedicate a dozen for a perfect graduation gift! Visit www.girlscoutsLA.org and click on “Dedicate a Dozen” for more information.
The Girl Scouts’ float in the 2012 Tournament of Roses will feature some of the outstanding Girl Scouts riding and walking with the float. GSGLA is committed to providing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at no personal cost to all qualifying families. The greater L.A. community can help by sponsoring a Girl Scout to ride on or outwalk with the float at $150 per girl. Donations pay for rehearsals, costs associated with the parade, day-of event transportation, activities and refreshments. For more information, please visit girlscoutsLA.org or click HERE.
About Girl Scouts 100th Anniversary
Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts will celebrate a century of leadership next year with events happening throughout the country. GSGLA will host a number of centennial celebrations in the Greater Los Angeles area, including Girltopia at the L.A. Convention Center on October 29; a float entry in the 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade; a Women of Distinction luncheon honoring former Girl Scouts and industry leaders; and a council-wide Camporee. For more information on 100th Anniversary opportunities, please visit girlscoutsLA.org.
About Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles
Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles serves more than 40,000 girls in partnership with more than 23,000 volunteers from over 350 diverse communities of Los Angeles County and parts of Kern, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles is the largest girl-serving non-profit agency in Los Angeles. The council’s programs engage girls in the focus areas of Arts & Culture, Business Smarts, Environment & Outdoor Adventure, Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) and Wellness & Healthy Living. To join, volunteer, reconnect or support, visit girlscoutsLA.org or call 1-888-GSGLA-4-U.
*Girl Scouts Research Institute, Who We Are.
** Robert Crosnoe, Fitting In, Standing Out: Navigating the Social Challenges of High School to Get an Education Study. Cambridge University Press; 1 edition, March 7, 2011.
Bias Called Persistent Hurdle for Women in Sciences
By Tamar Lewin from The New York Times
A report on the underrepresentation of women in science and math by the American Association of University Women, to be released Monday, found that although women have made gains, stereotypes and cultural biases still impede their success.
The report, “Why So Few?,” supported by the National Science Foundation, examined decades of research to cull recommendations for drawing more women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the so-called STEM fields.
“We scanned the literature for research with immediate applicability,” said Catherine Hill, the university women’s research director and lead author of the report. “We found a lot of small things can make a difference, like a course in spatial skills for women going into engineering, or teaching children that math ability is not fixed, but grows with effort.”
The report treads lightly on the hot-button question of whether innate differences between the sexes account for the paucity of women at the highest levels of science and math.
Five years ago, Lawrence H. Summers, then the president of Harvard, sparked a firestorm when he suggested that “there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude” reinforced by “lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination.”
The association’s report acknowledges differences in male and female brains. But Ms. Hill said, “None of the research convincingly links those differences to specific skills, so we don’t know what they mean in terms of mathematical abilities.”
At the top level of math abilities, where boys are overrepresented, the report found that the gender gap is rapidly shrinking. Among mathematically precocious youth — sixth and seventh graders who score more than 700 on the math SAT — 30 years ago boys outnumbered girls 13 to 1, but only about 3 to 1 now.
“That’s not biology at play, it doesn’t change so fast,” Ms. Hill said. “Even if there are biological factors in boys outnumbering girls, they’re clearly not the whole story. There’s a real danger in assuming that innate differences are important in determining who will succeed, so we looked at the cultural factors, to see what evidence there is on the nurture side of nature or nurture.”
The report found ample evidence of continuing cultural bias. One study of postdoctoral applicants, for example, found that women had to publish 3 more papers in prestigious journals, or 20 more in less-known publications, to be judged as productive as male applicants.
Making judgments about an individual’s abilities based on his or her sex is a classic form of discrimination, said Nancy Hopkins, an M.I.T. biology professor who created an academic stir in the 1990s by documenting pervasive, but largely unintentional, discrimination against women at the university.
Even if male math geniuses outnumbered female geniuses 3 to 1, Dr. Hopkins said, it would be reasonable to expect one female math professor for every three male professors at places like Harvard and M.I.T. “But in fact, Harvard just tenured its first female, after 375 years,” said Dr. Hopkins, who, famously, walked out of the room after Mr. Summers made his controversial remarks.
The university women’s report cited research showing that girls’ performance suffers from any suggestion that they do poorly at math. In one experiment, college students with strong math backgrounds and similar abilities were divided into two groups and tested on math. One group was told that men perform better on the test, the other that there was no difference in performance between the sexes. Their results were starkly different: in the group told that men do better, men indeed did much better, with an average score of 25 compared with the women’s 5. In the group told there was no difference, women scored 17 and men 19.
Any suggestion of advantage based on sex affects results, the research shows, even where there is no cultural stereotype.
In an experiment ostensibly testing “contrast sensitivity ability” — a made-up skill — men and women in a group told there was no difference between the sexes in such sensitivity rated their own ability equally. But in a group told that men were better at it, men rated their skills far higher than women did.
Teaching girls about how stereotypes affect performance, the report found, can diminish such effects.
In a separate survey of 1,200 female and minority chemists and chemical engineers by Campos Inc., for the Bayer Corporation, two-thirds cited the persistent stereotype that STEM fields are not for girls or minorities as a leading contributor to their underrepresentation.
Many in the Bayer survey, also being released Monday, said they had been discouraged from going into their field in college, most often by a professor.
“My professors were not that excited to see me in their classes,” said Mae C. Jemison, a chemical engineer and the first African-American female astronaut, who works with Bayer’s science literacy project. “When I would ask a question, they would just look at me like, ‘Why are you asking that?’ But when a white boy down the row would ask the very same question, they’d say ‘astute observation.’ ”
The university women’s report found that girls have less confidence in their math abilities than boys with equivalent achievement levels. Because most people choose careers where they believe they can do well, the report said, girls’ lesser belief in their skills may partly explain why fewer young women go into scientific careers. Both the university women’s report and the Bayer survey stress the need for more female mentors and role models.
But even as women earn a growing share of the doctorates in the STEM fields, the university women’s report found, they do not show up, a decade later, in a proportionate number of tenured faculty positions.
Girl Scouts Makes a Difference
GSNWGL offers awesome Council and portable programs that fall under five focus areas:
Arts and Culture
Environment and Outdoor Adventure
Wellness and Healthy Living
Check out our Council calendar to see our upcoming events at http://www.gsnwgl.org/calendar.html or check out our portable programs at http://gsnw.gl/Portable
'The Force' is with you, Katie
By Jamie Gumbrecht from CNN
(CNN) -- Katie Goldman's universe extends from her home to her first-grade classroom. She is a big sister to Annie Rose and Cleo, a piano player, a Spanish student, a wearer of glasses. She loathes the patch she has to wear for one lazy eye. She loves magic and princesses and "Star Wars," an obsession she picked up from her dad.
The 7-year-old carried a "Star Wars" water bottle to school in Evanston, Illinois, every day, at least until a few weeks ago, when Katie suddenly asked to take an old pink one instead. The request surprised Katie's mom, Carrie Goldman. It didn't make any sense. Why would her little sci-fi fan make such a quick turn?
Goldman kept pressing for an answer. She wasn't expecting Katie's tears.
Kids at school insisted that "Star Wars" was only for boys, Katie wailed. Her daughter said she was different enough already -- the only one who was adopted, who's Jewish, who wears glasses, who needs a patch. If sacrificing Yoda for the color pink would make her fit in again, so be it.
Goldman's heart sank.
These weren't nameless, faceless bullies who taunted her daughter. They were good kids Katie ran around with on the playground. They were getting older, though, and starting to see what made people the same -- and different.
Now, it was about "Star Wars," but Goldman wondered what lunchroom teasing would progress to in middle school, high school or college.
"Is this how it starts?" Goldman wrote in her blog, Portrait of an Adoption. "Do kids find someone who does something differently and start to beat it out of her, first with words and sneers? Must my daughter conform to be accepted?"
'I need your help'
A few days later, in Orlando, Jen Yates clicked on a link that led to Goldman's blog. Yates couldn't shake Katie's image when it flashed across the screen -- a little girl with long blonde hair, no front teeth, square-rimmed glasses.
"When you hear about bullying, it's like an abstract concept," Yates said. "When you put a face on it, an adorable little girl's face, with glasses, it brings it home."
Yates remembered the isolation of being the weird kid at her high school. She was the teen who hit "Star Trek" conventions on weekends and got snide comments about it the rest of the week. She was the lone geek girl among her friends, mostly geeky boys.
Bullying tragedies dominated headlines this year after a spate of suicides. Studies revealed how deeply the bullies at school, home or online can traumatize kids. The federal government laid out new anti-bullying guidelines for educators trying to combat the issue.
It's tough to lay out anti-bullying rules for kids so young, but tougher still to know how to protect the bully's perennial target: geeks, nerds and anybody whose interests stray from the norm. Whole genres of pop culture are devoted to ridiculing them and Yates knew that Katie's story was how it starts.
Katie isn't alone. Girl geeks are a growing force.
"We've all had those kinds of experiences, if you call yourself a geek," Yates said. "It was about Katie, but it was about every girl out there, every geek out there. It transcended gender, it transcended age.
"I know a Katie. I was Katie."
So Yates did what any geek would -- she went back to her computer.
"My fellow geeks," she wrote on her blog, Epbot.com, "I need your help."
'You are not alone'
Later that day, in yet another time zone, Catherine Taber clicked Yates' post about a little girl and her "Star Wars" water bottle -- Katie.
Taber grew up on science fiction and fantasy, from Stephen King to "Star Wars," but she wasn't bullied. She was an Army brat, always the new kid at school. With each new place, her parents reminded her to be whatever she wanted, and be proud to share it with the world.
"I immediately had to say something," Taber said. "The whole theme of the 'Star Wars' universe is an anti-bullying theme. It's good versus evil, standing side by side with your friends, doing what's right. One of the most important things to stopping bullies in their tracks is to empower kids to stand up for themselves."
Taber found Katie's mom's blog, sent it to everyone she knew, and left a comment she hoped would help.
"I am [the] actress who has the great honor of being Padme Amidala on 'Star Wars: the Clone Wars!' I just wanted to tell Katie that she is in VERY good company being a female Star Wars fans," Taber wrote. "I know that Padme would tell you to be proud of who YOU are and know that you are not ALONE!
"THE FORCE is with you Katie!"
'Part of a very tight community'
Back in Evanston, Carrie Goldman was feeling good. Since she had written about the water bottle incident, other parents at Katie's school had talked to their kids. School leaders were supportive, and working on an anti-bullying program.
Something else was happening, too: Traffic on Goldman's blog was exploding.
Some 1,200 people had left messages there for Katie. Readers were coming from Yates' blog, where more than 3,000 more comments stacked up. There were links from "Star Wars" message boards, parenting blogs, tech sites. A Twitter hashtag, #maytheforcebewithkatie, streaked across social media.
Guys and gals of all ages wrote about how they'd been bullied, and how life had gotten so much better since then. They shared that they loved "Star Wars," that they wore glasses, that they were adopted -- just like Luke, just like Leia, just like Katie.
ThinkGeek, a nerdy online retailer, sent Katie a lightsaber. Artist Scott Zirkel sent a cartoon of Katie as a Jedi, glasses and all. A first-grade class in California sent letters to Katie as a show of support.
Taber and the rest of the cast of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," sent "Star Wars" merch. Ashley Eckstein, who voices the female Jedi Ahsoka Tano, sent Her Universe clothes tailored for girls. Tom Kane, who voices Yoda, escorted the Goldmans to a screening near their home.
The thousands of comments left online will be bound into a book for Katie to read whenever she needs it. To keep a sense of normality at home, the family reads just a few every night.
Katie, and her parents, have learned that the universe is so much bigger than the first grade.
"You realize how, if you want someone who has something in common, all you have to do is reach out," Goldman said. "It feels really, really good. What we want is for it to feel good for other people."
Katie is donating many of the books and toys to other kids.
A fan created a Facebook event suggesting that people wear "Star Wars" gear on December 10 to support Katie. The Goldmans also asked participants to donate Star Wars toys to charities for the holidays. About 20,000 people have signed up.
"What strikes me is how these individuals who were once so isolated are now part of a very tight community," Goldman wrote on her blog this month. "They have found each other; they are plugged into each other, and they have each other's backs. Now they have Katie's back, too."
Katie isn't doing any more interviews. There are scales to practice, Spanish words to memorize, baby sisters to play with. She still has to wear the dreaded eye patch, and eat lunch with the kids in her class. She is very busy being 7.
But on December 10, her school will host Proud To Be Me Day. Kids will be encouraged to wear something that shows what they're interested in, whether it's princesses, sports, animals and anime.
Katie will have the force of thousands behind her, and a "Star Wars" water bottle.
Girl Scouts Makes a Difference
Building a strong sense of self, and learning to connect, understand, and empathize with others of diverse backgrounds is woven through everything we do in Girl Scouts.
The statistics listed below (relevant to self-image and relational aggression or “bullying”) show the percentage of GSNWGL girls that said “Girl Scouting helps me…”
Learn to resolve conflicts peacefully (98%)
Learn to be responsible for what I say and do (97%)
Learn to understand and respect people different from me (99%)
Feel good about myself (98%)
Learn to stand up for what I believe in (95%)
Learn to make new friends and be sensitive to others’ needs (98%)
Learn to treat everyone equally (97%)
Feel a strong sense of self (96%)
Feel free to be myself even if it means being different (94%)
One Tough Cookie
By Keith Uhlig from Wausau Daily Herald
Girl Scout battles autism to become top seller.
A year ago, Kirsten Radant of Wausau sold 1,301 boxes of Girl Scout cookies. Let's put that number into context. If a Girl Scout sells more than 300 boxes in a selling season, it's considered a superlative effort, and it's likely that family members have gotten invovled with those sales, said Christin Stapelmann, product program manager for Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes Council.
The next two top sellers in north central Wisconsin sold 735 and 706 boxes.
So, 1,300 is a lot. "I honestly don't know how in the world she did that. It's incredible," Stapelmann said.
Kirsten, now 16 and a sophomore at Wausau West High School, did it the old-fashioned way. Her parents, Linda and Steve Radant, work from home, so they weren't able to take boxes to their workplaces and sell to coworkers. Kirsten did enlist the help of two close friends and fellow Girl Scouts, Johanna and Amanda Fischer, to help her with the sales. (They're older Scouts, and couldn't devote a great deal of time to cookie selling, so they agreed to pitch in. Kirsten shared the reward she earned with them: a Visa card with $300 on it.)
But Kirsten sold most of the boxes in individual, door-to-door, face-to-face sales. It would be typical of Kirsten to spend eight hours on a Saturday telling strangers about the cookies and what they mean for Girl Scouting. Linda would be there, driving Kirsten, but Kirsten did all the selling.
Before going up to each house, Kirsten tells herself "to smile, and make sure, you know, to have a positive attitude," she said.
A positive attitude, Kirsten said, goes a long way in convincing people they want boxes of Trefoils or Samoas.
None of this comes easy to Kirsten. She was found to have autism at age 4, a disability so severe she couldn't speak at the time. While making certain allowances for the disability, Linda and Steve treated Kirsten much the same as they did her two older brothers.
When first diagnosed, Kirsten's effects from the disability were extreme. In the years since, she has learned to cope and is now able to function at a high level. She still has autism, but it is not immediately apparent in her behavior.
They forced her to get involved in activities such as dance and soccer. They signed her up for 4-H. And they encouraged her to join the Girl Scouts in second grade.
Although her disability put her at a social disadvantage-in addition to having difficulties with speaking and eye contact, she had a tenancy to shut down internally-she liked Girl Scouts.
"There are other girls you get to meet, and it helps you with your leadership skills," Kirsten said.
Austism made it difficult to sell Girl Scout cookies. Early on, she would accompany Johanna and Amanda when they made thier pitches, adn they did most of the talking. But as she grew older, she grew more confident to do the sales on her own.
"We'd practice what she'd say in the car before she'd go up to a house," Linda said.
Kirsten doesn't need to do that anymore. She pretty much knows the spiel and can deal with oddities that invariably come up in door-to-door sales. The selling, and the Scouting as a whole, helped Kirsten overcome the effects of autism.
But it still isn't easy or natural. "I can be hard on myself," Kirsten said. "Or, I might think, I don't want to do this at the time, or (she'll think about) how cold it is."
That's when she turns on her smile and puts those thoughts aside.
"It's a little bit nerve-wracking sometimes," Kirsten said. "But at the same time, I have to keep that positive attitude on in front of others."
Youth Aviation Adventure helps kids realize dreams of flight
By Reporter Kelly Schlicht from WEAU TV 13 Eau Claire
As these boy scouts play with paper airplanes, they say they've learned so much at the Youth Aviation Adventure about the real deal.
“A plane, it's got several different functions. I never would have expected it to be as complicated as it is,” says Ethan Hoppe.
In its second year, the event featured a NASA Rocket Propulsion Engineer, Bryan Palaszewski, as its keynote speaker.
“He's just a great personable person, for what I consider a rocket scientist,” says YAA Organizer Jack Fay. “And there was just a lot of great information, and I think the kids really had a great, great time.”
From small planes, to helicopters, to space shuttles, engineers and pilots who spoke at today's event say they hope they can inspire the next generation of kids.
“It's very important for the next generation to understand the history of what's gone on in space flight and aeronautics, and this is a good way of trying to capture their imagination when the students are very young,” says Palaszewski.
“Their eyes spark when you say something,” says pilot Jessica Miller, a sophomore at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. “It's really exciting when you see that, because that's why you're here.”
Some of the kids say they had the most fun just being kids.
“It would have to be playing with the Styrofoam gliders,” says Hoppe.
Today's speakers say you never know which one would be the next rocket scientist. But Miller says she's hoping not just the little boys were inspired to fly.
“I’m one of the very few if not only women around,” she says.
With so many Girl Scouts in attendance on Saturday, Miller says she hopes she can inspire more girls to get into this field.
“It's hard to get into aviation as a female, and so I really try to encourage them that you can definitely do it, and there is a lot more support actually nowadays,” says Miller.
And boy or girl, Miller and other aviation gurus say they hope the kids have seen something today, that will help their dreams take flight.
Miller says many colleges with aviation programs, like her school, Saint Cloud State in Minnesota, offer scholarships to women and minorities who want to fly.
The Youth Aviation Adventure is in its second year. This year, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were eligible to earn badges for participating.
WEAU 13 News helped sponsor the Youth Aviation Adventure event.