guest blog by Brittney McKeown, Girl Scouts of the USA
As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we reflect on the need to ensure all girls have an opportunity to get outside. For over a century, providing girls with access to the outdoors and offering authentic leadership experiences have been cornerstone elements of the Girl Scout mission.
Girl Scouts gives girls access to the open space of the outdoors, an ideal setting in which girls can explore, observe, learn, and give back to their peers and their communities. We offer girls outdoor experiences in a safe, all-girl space where they are free to stretch their minds and expand their skills, gaining confidence as they take on new challenges. According to Girl Scout Research Institute’s More Than S’mores (2014), Girl Scouts are twice as likely as non-Girl Scouts to say they take action to protect the environment. From camping trips and outdoor adventures to our It’s Your Planet—Love It! Journey series, girls learn about environmental issues and develop their own sense of environmental stewardship. Girl Scouts is proud to have fostered this spirit in alumnae such as Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and numerous National Park Service rangers across the United States.
Girl Scouts is committed to expanding Girl Scouting in the outdoors, bringing outdoor experiences to girls from diverse backgrounds who are served by 112 Girl Scout councils across the country. We are grateful for partnerships such as the Girl Scout Ranger Program, a joint venture with the National Park Service that connects girls with national parks throughout the United States, including monuments, coastlines, and urban sites. Girls who have at least three outdoor experiences monthly eclipse their peers in environmental stewardship, more readily seek challenges, and are better problem solvers, all of which are traits needed for 21st century leaders.
Recognizing the drive and dedication of the women and girls around us today, Girls Scouts celebrates Women’s History Month. By working within coalitions such as Outdoors Alliance for Kids to ensure that all youth have the opportunity to experience the outdoors, Girl Scouts continues our century-long tradition of helping girls grow up to become environmental stewards and strong female leaders. Before they were leading scientists, military leaders, journalists, athletes, politicians, artists, or writers, many women were Girl Scouts themselves and celebrated Women’s History Month with their troops. When you think about that, it’s easy to realize the potential that each and every one of us has to make an impact.