Thursday, February 25, 2016

Advocacy in Action: House Bill 942

By Tracy Keller, CEO of Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast

Over the past two months while I’ve worked to support House Bill 942, I’ve learned a lot, or “relearned” a lot, by refreshing my school-day memories of government and civics classes. It’s also made it crystal clear that advocacy is an important part of what we do as Girl Scouts. As adults in the organization, we become the voice for girls and make a difference in our communities, state and nation. Together, we work as a team to educate policymakers and community leaders on issues that directly affect girls and our movement. And just as important, we are the role models for girls who see us stepping up and taking action.

One of my favorite quotes that found its way to me this week, was one by Melinda Gates – “I tell my daughters to have their voice in this world, and it became clear I needed to role-model that.”

Without a doubt, role models are important. I received an email from a troop leader recently that brought tears of pride to my eyes. After learning about HB 942, the leader organized a troop meeting to go over the legislative process. In good Girl Scout form, her “ lesson plan” was filled with fun, and it excited the girls to take action. The girls wrote letters to their senator that are priceless and say more than any message I or another Girl Scout CEO could send.

The compelling voices and perspectives of girls is a window into our organization. Their voices shout out how we are engaging them in the program process and how we include them as persuasive advocates for themselves and for other girls. When girls take action on their own behalf, it enables them to think of themselves as leaders and helps them build advocacy skills that will possibly protect their rights and the rights of others in the future.

This is one of the reasons I am supporting House Bill 942 with determination. I want every girl to have that sense of courage and confidence. With the passage of this bill, we will be in a better place to access more schools and provide girls and their families with information on the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and how it can make a difference in their lives and the lives of others in their communities.

Please take a moment and take action today. Send a message of support to your Virginia senator. Find your senator here.