Since writing earlier this week about the Boy Scouts' decision to admit girls, I've learned that people really don’t know about scouting in general and they know even less about the Boy Scout’s sister organization, the Girl Scouts.
Lidia Soto-Harmon, the CEO of Girl Scouts of the Nation's Capital Region, seems to understand the confusion and after the Boy Scout announcement, decided it was a good idea to remind people of the benefits of a girl-only organization.
In a letter sent to all parents of DC-area Girl Scout members, Soto Harmon first points out the value of participating in the Girl Scouts, saying that Girl Scouts are more likely than non-Girl Scouts to be leaders. She refers to polling conducted by the organization that shows girls who participate in Girl Scouts have a stronger sense of self (80% vs. 68%), they possess positive values (75% vs. 59%), seek challenges and learn from setbacks (62% vs. 42%), they develop and maintain healthy relationships (60% vs. 43%), and are able to exhibit community problem-solving skills (57% vs. 28%).
According to Soto-Harmon, the reason those who participate in Girl Scouts have such good outcomes is because they are together with other girls where they feel more confident and willing to take more risks. She writes that starting at about 6 years old, girls start thinking that boys are smarter and that 1 out of 3 girls say that they are afraid to lead because of what others (boys) might think of them.
Soto Harmon also offers some impressive statistics about the Girl Scout alumnae:
- 90% of all female astronauts
- 75% of all female U.S. Senators
- 80% of all female tech leaders
- And every female Secretary of State is a Girl Scout alumnae
Many have celebrated the Boy Scout policy change. But it’s worth considering how this move will affect the Girl Scouts—an organization that clearly helps girls develop into strong, productive leaders that sadly, will not lose many of it's members.