This month is all about the girls: March 8-14 is Girl Scout Week and March 12 is National Girl Scout Day. And Girl Scouts are more than just next-level cookie sellers — this century-old organization is all about building courage, confidence and character. The Girl Scouts accomplish this mission in myriad ways, from volunteer events to skill–building workshops where girls can earn those infamous badges.
Locally, the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio is 39,000 girls strong, with scouts hailing from more than 30 counties in the area. Cincinnati Parent spoke with Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s director of marketing & communications KayAnn Taylor Rutter, about all things Girl Scouts.
The Girl Scouts are best-known for those iconic boxes of cookies, but that’s just one of the many things you do. How do the Girl Scouts affect positive change in the community?
Girl Scouts offers something for every girl! Girl [Scouts] explore entrepreneurship, the outdoors, STEM and general life skills, like healthy relationships and anti-bullying. Girl Scouts are go-getters, innovators, risk takers and leaders, contributing many hours to improving their communities each year, both as troops and individuals.
Your mission is to build courage, confidence and character. How do you do this? Why is this so important?
In Girl Scouts, girls have a safe space to try new things, fail and [ultimately] try again. Supported by caring adult leaders and their Girl Scout sisters, girls learn to identify and use their strengths, work collaboratively to solve problems and encourage and appreciate diverse perspectives. As a result, Girl Scouts develop a growth mindset — a willingness to keep learning, growing and contributing throughout their lives.
How has Girl Scouts changed over the years?
Our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, launched Girl Scouts seven years before women gained the right to vote. She knew that girls were being left behind and she wanted them to have life-changing experiences that would prepare them for the future. Over a hundred years later, those life-changing experiences include current issues like programming for cyber security, designing robots, writing business plans, improving the environment and traveling the world.
What is the cost of Girl Scouts? Are there scholarships available?
An annual membership is just $25. Additional fees may apply for activities such as camps, special programs and/or events. Girl Scouts believe that all girls should be able to participate, so financial assistance is available to cover membership and activity fees on an as-need basis.
How can Cincinnati kids — and parents — get involved in Girl Scouts?
Registration is easy: Sign up online at gswo.org or by phone at 888–350–5090. Girls can join any time — as early as the summer before kindergarten and as late as Grade 12. There’s a range of ways adults can participate as well, from serving as troop leaders and assistants to short-term program opportunities.
Looking ahead, what do you hope the future holds for the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio?
While we’re working to introduce more girls to STEM careers, upgrade our camp facilities and develop partnerships to make Girl Scouts more accessible, what we hope for most is that our past and present Girl Scouts pursue their ambitions and apply the lessons they’ve learned about themselves to ultimately make the world a better place.