Girl Scouts is a 105 year old organization and over the course of those 105 years, Girl Scouts has evolved to suit the needs of girls where they’re at, at that point in time. Badge programs have come and gone, STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) activities have increased, outdoor experiences have expanded, and Journeys have been streamlined just to name a few.
Those changes and our evolution to always meet the needs of today’s girls is why Girl Scouts is the girl leadership expert! However, with such a rich history and a large alumnae network, it’s not surprising that there are (more than) a few myths around how Girl Scouting works today! So, we’re here to set the record straight in this two-part blog series! Part 1 (what you’re reading now!) are general Girl Scout myths, debunked. On Monday Nov. 20, we’ll bring you part 2 – Girl Scout myths around policies and procedures with information geared more toward troop leaders.
Myth: There isn’t anything in Girl Scouts like the Eagle Scout Award.
Truth: Girl Scouts have the opportunity to earn the highest award in Girl Scouting called the Gold Award. This prestigious award recognizes girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable Take Action projects that have sustainable impact in their communities-and beyond. Gold Award Girl Scouts spend 1-2 years on their projects as a Girl Scout Senior and/or Ambassador. Those who choose to join the armed forces enter at one rank higher than other recruits and university research indicates that adding Gold Award to a college application is a critical element in the admissions decision process. Over the course of 100 years, more than a million girls have earned their Gold Award or its equivalent.
Myth: Girl Scouts can only attend Girl Scout activities as a troop.
Truth: Many Community Partner Programs, Outdoor Experiences and Spark Events are open to all Girl Scouts. Troops may choose to go as a group, or caregivers can register their Girl Scout individually to participate on their own (supervised, of course). This is a great way to take advantage of the thousands (yep) of activities that are available to Girl Scouts all year long. Attend Kansas City Ballet’s The Nutcraker as a family, participate in adventure activities that appeal to your Girl Scout’s interest that the troop as a whole may not be interested in, or learn more about careers in STEM on a more personal level at Spark Events.
*Spring dates for Adventure Programs and Spark Events will be announced after the first of the year!
Myth: Girls must belong to a troop to be a Girl Scout.
Truth: Girls K-12 can be a registered member without being affiliated with a troop or troop leader. They still complete Girl Scout activities – badge earning, cookie sales and more with the guidance of an adult mentor. These girls are called Indy Girl Scouts. This is a great option for especially Junior or older Girl Scouts who live in a rural area, are having trouble finding a troop or want to continue in Girl Scouting on their own.
Myth: I’m not a Girl Scout Alumna because I was only a Daisy/Brownie/Junior…
Truth: Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout! No matter the level or how long you were a Girl Scout, you are a Girl Scout Alumna – one of 59 million women around the world! That’s one in every two adult women. Whoah. As an alumna, make sure you’re staying up-to-date on alumna-specific activities at Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri by joining the GSKSMO Alumnae Facebook group!
Myth: Girls have to join Girl Scouts at the beginning of the school year/Girls can’t join until First Grader/it’s too late to join Girl Scouts.
Truth: Girls can join Girl Scouts year-round and as a Kindergartener through High School Senior! Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri works year-round to form troops and place girl and adult members! And, it’s never too late to join Girl Scouts in your life.
Myth: Dads can’t go camping or be troop leaders.
Truth: #ManEnoughToBeAGirlScout! We LOVE Girl Scout Dads and they are invited and encouraged to be troop leaders, co-leaders or serve in any other volunteer capacity with Girl Scouts. As any volunteer, they must follow our Safety Activity Checkpoints and when it involves camping or an overnight activity, they just sleep in separate sleeping quarters nearby!
Myth: The only way to volunteer with Girl Scouts is to be a troop leader.
Truth: There are a plethora of ways you can volunteer with Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri. Yes, we’re always looking for troop leaders but you can also volunteer with a troop as more of a supporting adult – helping drive, plan activities and snacks, money management or other tasks that keep the troop running smoothly! Or, serve as a service unit volunteer mentoring adult volunteers as they work with girls, a Cookie volunteer coordinating the logistics for the largest girl-led business in the world or in a seasonal or episodic opportunity with the council! See them all and learn more!
Do you have a Girl Scout myth you want to make sure we debunk? Let us know in the comments below! Be sure to come back on Monday for Part 2 in Girl Scout Myths, Debunked where we look at some misinformation around policies and procedures for troop leaders.