|Girl Scouts - Growing Leaders,
America is facing a national shortage of women in leadership positions. According to the St. Louis Business Journal's 2013 Book of Lists, only 6 of the 100 highest paid executives in the St. Louis area are women. Additionally, only 2 of the top 25 regional employers are headed by women; only 4 of the 27 top executives at the largest area hospitals are women; only 4 of the 25 largest local school districts' superintendents are women; only 4 of the 73 largest local law firms' managing partners are women; and only one of the 25 largest banks in St. Louis is headed by a woman. Nationally, women make up only 3% of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies and just 15% of corporate boards.
Studies reveal that girls know what qualities are needed to excel as a leader: being talented, caring, honest, hard-working, confident, good listeners and team players. But only one in five girls believes she has what it takes to be a strong leader. In short, girls may embody the qualities of a good leader, but lack the confidence to step up in a leadership role. To combat this, Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri incorporates the Girl Scout Leadership Experience into all of its programs - which in turn helps girls to achieve their full leadership potential and become tomorrow's leaders in whatever area provides them the greatest fulfillment.
Girl Scouts is best known for its traditional troop experience. Girls in grades K-12 can join age-specific troops and participate in activities that fulfill the Girl Scout mission of building girls with courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. Volunteer Troop Leaders use Girl Scout curriculum to lead girls in earning badges. All Girl Scout curriculum ties back to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, a model which engages girls in discovering themselves, connecting with others and taking action to make the world a better place. Girl Scout experiences offer opportunities for girls to lead, learn by doing and participate in cooperative learning: the three keys to leadership.
There are currently 1,685 Girl Scouts in Franklin County involved in 103 troops. There are 471 adult volunteers registered with the troops. Funding from Franklin County Area United Way makes it possible for low-income girls and adults to join Girl Scouts and participate in activities with other Girl Scouts. It also helps provide special programs for the girls such as the Challenge and Change program. This leadership development and social entrepreneurship program is for Girl Scouts in rural communities. Program participants come together in groups to: (1) identify a community need; (2) leverage local assets; and (3) design a sustainable solution and action plan to ensure long-term community improvements. Currently a group of Girl Scouts in St. Clair are building a community amphitheater and starting an arts program.
Last year, multiple Girl Scout troops in the Union area took over part of Philly's Pizza Parlor to set up a Girl Scout Cookie Store. This innovative way to sell the popular Girl Scout cookies became an adventure in learning for local girls. Knowing how to make, manage, spend, save and invest money is a skill that extends far beyond the cookie season. Many successful women leaders report that their first entrepreneurial experience came from selling Girl Scout cookies.
Girl Scouts is an investment in America's future - one girl at a time. To become a Girl Scout or a Girl Scout leader, register online at www.girlscoutsem.org.