Monday, March 24, 2014

Commission on the Status of Women

Morgan, Baillie, Emilia and Reid
Earlier this month, four GSCCC girls, Morgan, Baillie, Emilia and Reid, represented Girl Scouts at the United Nations 58th Commission on the Status of Women in New York City. They were part of a group of 17 Girl Scouts who had the opportunity to advocate for girls at the United Nations through the Working Group on Girls, a coalition of over 80 nonprofit organizations, including Girl Scouts of the USA, that advocates for government representatives to work hard to solve the problems that girls around the world face.

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and the advancement of women. Each year, a priority theme is chosen for CSW to help guide the discussion and the focus of the commission. The priority theme for this year focused on the challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls. The Millennium Development Goals were eight areas of focus established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2000 with the aim of ending extreme poverty in the world by 2015. At CSW, the delegates shared their thoughts on the successes, gaps and challenges of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals in their own communities and on a global scale, as well as what should be done moving forward.

Each GSCCC delegate had a specific role at CSW. Morgan was part of a writing team that developed a statement that was officially submitted to the General Assembly at CSW. Baillie spoke on a panel about political empowerment for girls. Emilia co-moderated and shared her interests in advancing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) opportunities for girls at a panel discussion hosted by the Girl Scouts of the USA. Reid was an advocacy liaison who monitored the General Assembly sessions and caucuses to report back to the Working Group on Girls.
Reid, Emilia, Baillie and Morgan inside the Economic and
Social Chamber at UN Headquarters.
During their week in New York, the girls also attended numerous parallel and side events, which are programs organized outside of the formal UN sessions that allow Member States, UN entities and nongovernmental organizations to further discuss this year’s priority theme. At these events, the girls heard from influential women from around the world, including Phumzile Mlabmo-Ngcuka, executive director of UN Women, who delivered a powerful message that every generation can choose its own story, and it’s up to girls to decide what they want to see and make it happen. 

For the four Girl Scouts who traveled to the United Nations, their experience did not end when they left New York. They have brought back what they learned to share with their peers, teachers, communities and fellow Girl Scouts. In the fall, the girls will be presenting a program for girls to learn more about the MDGs, the United Nations and empowering women and girls. More information can be found in the next edition of GO!
GSCCC delegates visited the Girl Scouts of the USA central office.

The girls had their first subway ride on the way to Teen Orientation.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Gold Award Spotlight: Reaching New Altitudes

Girl Scout Ambassador Lauren from Newport News recently earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, which is the highest honor and achievement in Girl Scouting. For her project, Lauren wanted to create an opportunity for local youth to gain knowledge in the fields of aviation, aerospace and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

She created lesson plans to teach children in local community groups about the fundamentals of flight, the importance of STEM as a whole and about resources they can use to pursue interests in STEM, including local museums, events and summer camps. Lauren led activities that allowed children to build airplane models, see things fly and learn about aviation history.

Lauren chose this project because she recognizes a trend in education that focuses on children passing standardized tests, rather than encouraging children to pursue innovative thoughts and be challenged in the fields that interest them. By creating opportunities for children to be engaged in STEM activities, Lauren gave the children that she worked with experience, education and intrigue in the STEM fields.

“As a military child, I’ve always liked aviation,” Lauren said. “My teachings will lay a foundation for youth to build on their understanding of aviation and the role it plays in their everyday lives.”

The Gold Award requires girls to identify an issue in their community and carry out a Take Action project to address the matter through leadership work. Nationwide, less than 6 percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award, which adds Lauren to an elite group of female leaders across the country with the honor.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ban Bossy

Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Anna Maria Chávez will be featured on the cover of Parade magazine this Sunday along with Facebook COO and Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. These powerful women are looking to change the conversation about girls and leadership with a new campaign to Ban Bossy.

When it comes to girls' ambition, the pattern is clear: girls are discouraged from leading. When a little boy asserts himself, he's called a "leader," yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being called "bossy"- one of the many ways we inadvertently hold girls back. The Ban Bossy campaign is designed to drive national conversation about girls' leadership, as well as provide girls, troop leaders and parents with practical tips about how to encourage girls.

In fact, according to a study conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute, while most youth (82 percent) agree that girls and boys are equally good at being leaders, 52 percent also agree that "girls have to work harder than boys in order to gain positions of leadership."

You can access a portion of the article that will appear in Parade here. The complete article will be available in print and online on Sunday, March 9.

Virginia Legislative Day 2014

On February 27, 2014, a delegation of girl and adult members from Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast attended an annual Virginia Girl Scout Legislative Day in Richmond. A “milk and cookies” reception was held in the morning at the General Assembly Building where state delegates and senators had an opportunity to visit with various Girl Scout staff, volunteers and girl members from throughout Virginia. There are a total of five councils that serve Girl Scouts in Virginia. Introductions in the House and Senate followed the reception.

A special visit with Virginia Secretary of Education Ann Holton was held in the afternoon to discuss Girl Scout program initiatives in science, technology, engineering and math, as well as a new initiative that addresses bullying – Be a Friend First. This annual event allows Girl Scouts on leadership tracks who are interested in advocacy to speak with legislators and to help Girl Scouts promote efforts that create positive change in girls’ lives.

Left to right: GSCCC CEO Tracy Keller, Girl Scout Cadettes Zoe and Lily from Chesapeake, Girl Scout Junior Sianna from Norfolk, Virginia Secretary of Education Ann Holton (a former Girl Scout), Girl Scout Ambassador Megan and Girl Scout Seniors Anne and Amanda from Virginia Beach, and CEO of Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia Viola Baskerville.