Lynn Banaszak: The Girls Scouts leadership pipeline
I fondly remember the afternoons with my Girl Scout troop in our elementary school cafeteria, laughing, learning and growing. I earned many badges, but more importantly, I gained a sense of accomplishment, explored different perspectives about the world, developed a commitment to community and forged lasting friendships. I count those days as some of my most formative. That’s why I am a proud Girl Scout for life.
For more than 100 years, Girl Scouts has been bringing a wealth of knowledge to extraordinary programs that deliver girls cornerstone experiences with benefits to last them a lifetime — just like I enjoyed in my youth.
Girl Scouts is the premier leadership development organization for girls in the world because it’s girl-led, and girl-approved, since 1912. Led by strong, caring role models and mentors, girls in Girl Scouts are encouraged to take the lead from age 5 to 18 and into adulthood. That’s why Girl Scouts is the female leadership pipeline, helping prepare girls to become leaders of the future.
Girl Scouts has been in the news over these recent months responding to the confusion caused by the announcement from Boy Scouts of America (BSA), a year ago, that it is allowing girls to join its organization. With this announcement, some incorrectly assume that Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are merging, or that Girl Scouts will follow suit by admitting boys into its program. Girl Scouts is remaining an all-girl program.
Why remain an all-girl program? Because — as we’ve seen throughout Girl Scouts’ century-long history — there are powerful benefits to girls gathering together. In Girl Scouts, girls support each other in a safe, no-limits environment designed just for them, as they explore their interests, experience adventure, try on leadership roles and accomplish amazing things. Fostering female-to-female relationships creates a sense of mutual empowerment and community that is a strong platform for personal growth and innovative thinking.
Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania, our regional council, is passionate about its mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place … and become the leaders of tomorrow.
With most schools and many extracurricular programs now being co-ed, Girl Scouts remains one of the few single-gender organizations available to young women. That, Girl Scouts of the USA maintains, puts the group in a unique position to change girls’ lives for the better.
Those of us who have experienced the program know that the unique girl-led experience in Girl Scouts gives girls the encouragement, guidance and confidence they need to grow into powerful leaders.
It is an honor to stand with other female leaders in our region as a member of the Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania 2019 Awards of Distinction Honorary Committee. We are excited to celebrate excellence in organizational and female leadership and build critical support to keep the Girl Scouting tradition strong in Western Pennsylvania.
Yours in Girl Scouting.