by Brynna Boyd, 12th grade, Flower Mound High School
Joining Girl Scouts is like booking a reservation at a hotel down the street but ending up on a cruise around the world. It’s a program that gives girls far more than they expected, asked for, or even knew was possible. When my mom signed me up for Girl Scouts, my kindergarten mind couldn’t come close to understanding the opportunities Girl Scouts would present and the impact they would have in shaping me into the person I am today.
I thought I was signing up to sell cookies and go on camping trips (which I did), but I was doing far more. I was problem solving and learning leadership and life skills. I was exploring different interests and meeting new people. Eventually, I grew out of the crafts and games (partially), but Girl Scouting was far from over. I graduated into travel, career exploration and opportunities I couldn’t get anywhere else. Girl Scouts is built on the goal of building girls of courage confidence and character who will make the world a better place, and I have seen this happen firsthand since kindergarten. There are many instances when I’ve realized the magnitude of what Girl Scouting does in girls’ lives, but one stands out above the others:
I applied to go on a Girl Scout Destination to Costa Rica and Panama. That summer I found myself in a remote forest with nine strangers who held the same sense of adventure. We spent two weeks building a library in a small village and immersing ourselves into the culture. We worked on a sea turtle conservation project on the beaches of Panama, and released baby turtles into the ocean. Zip-lining through the jungle, rafting down a river and shopping the local artisan market all made it onto the agenda, and as the week came to a close, ten strangers had turned into ten friends. This experience showed me how impactful Girl Scouts really is. Without ever having flown by myself before, I was willing to hop onto a plane to a place with a completely different language and lifestyle; and nine other Girls around the country were willing to do the same. We didn’t know each other, but we became fast friends and still stay in contact today. We all came together to create something incredible, and this exemplified how being a Girl Scout means being a part of something way larger than myself that I could never fully comprehend otherwise.
Girl Scouts builds girls into confident leaders. The inclusive all-girl environment of the Girl Scout program helps girls feel safe and provides a comfortable space to take smart risks, try new things and explore areas we might not have deemed possible. It breaks down gender barriers and opens opportunities for girls to discover who they really are. According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, Girl Scout alumna have more successful careers, are more active as mentors and community volunteers, vote more regularly, are better educated, and enjoy higher household and personal income.
I’ve experienced time and time again that Girl Scouts is an organization that provides opportunities unlike any other. In Girl Scouts I grew up thinking that getting to spend a weekend at NASA was a normal activity – not something reserved for a particular kid or for a specific gender. I’ve been on campouts, toured TV stations, worked on service projects, took cooking classes, and much more. I’ve gone from job shadowing to job interviews. I’ve gone from learning about the issues in my community, to being the person who leads the charge to fix them. Even before I was traveling the world, learning life skills and working to change my community, Girl Scouts was constantly molding me into who I am. Since I was a Daisy, every single event, activity, patch and pin was teaching me before I even knew what was happening. Each cookie sold was a lesson in business, and every badge was a new skill.
In 2014, I attended the Girl Scout National Convention in Salt Lake City, and saw girls from different backgrounds, ethnicities and religions all coming together to see the power women have in the world. I realized that Girl Scouts has surrounded me with incredible role models and endless opportunities, and because of this I’ve always felt unstoppable. This year, I was honored to be selected as part of the national girl media team. As we approach G.I.R.L. 2017 in Columbus, OH in October, I can’t wait for thousands of girls to come together and get the chance to feel the same way.
To learn more about Girl Scouts visit www.gsnetx.org.