Monday, August 14, 2017

Meeting with Representative Scott

Camille, Representative Scott, Tracy Keller
Girl Scout Ambassador Camille from Hampton, accompanied Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast CEO Tracy Keller on a visit with Representative Bobby Scott on Monday, August 7. Camille had an opportunity to share information about her Girl Scout Gold Award project with the congressman, a project she completed last spring. Through her project, Camille aimed to create a safe space for the children at the HER Shelter to learn about music in a group setting and help them boost their self-esteem.

During the visit with the congressman, Keller spoke about a study, State of Girls 2017: Emerging Trends and Troubling Truths, recently released by the Girl Scout Research Institute. While Virginia ranks thirteenth among the well-being of girls in the 50 states, there is still work to be done. According to the report, 64 percent of eighth-grade girls in Virginia are not proficient in math, and 55 percent of fourth-grade girls are not proficient in reading. Furthermore, 16 percent of girls ages six to 17 in Virginia do not participate in any organized activities, and 22 percent of girls in this same demographic watch television or play video games for more than three hours per day.

Keller shared with Representative Scott some of the ways that Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is addressing the challenges faced by girls in southeastern Virginia. In June, Girl Scouts hosted a LEGO-themed STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) event for girls in Newport News and their fathers or male caregivers that not only provided an opportunity for them to spend quality time together, but also engaged girls in problem-solving activities and STEM learning. Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast has numerous STEM events planned this fall, including Science Alive, Synthetic Engineering, Engineering Women and Girls STEM Ahead.

events held in conjunction with STEM experts from The College of William and Mary, Norfolk State University and Society of Women Engineers, among others.

“By offering hands-on, girl-led, girl-centered learning in STEM, the outdoors, and entrepreneurship, as well as life-skill building, Girl Scouts helps all girls take the lead early and often,” Keller said.

Representative Scott spoke to Keller about the H.R.1809 - Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2017 that passed in the House and is now in the Senate. This bill, which has strongly been supported by the Congressman, will reauthorize and update the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974. Representative Scott also spoke about preventative solutions that include having innovative and engaging after-school programs for youth, such as Girl Scouts.

Before the meeting ended, Keller thanked Representative Scott for his ongoing support of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and asked that he support the proposed increasing funding for the Title IV Part A of ESSA, the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant Program. This new block grant requires funding to be allocated and spent on partnerships between schools and outside organizations in areas that Girl Scouts excel in, such as STEM. Find out more about how to advocate for the extended funding of this grant program here.