Wyoming Response: Proudly Keeping The ‘Girl’ In Girl Scouts
Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming (GSMW) says it's "proudly keeping the 'girl' in Girl Scouts", and reasserting its commitment to "providing an all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment," according to a release from their office. This follows the recent decision of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to change its program name to "Scouts BSA" and open its membership to girls.
The GSMW release says Girl Scouts has been the premier girl leadership development organization and the girl expert for 106 years, and states there is no organization that more thoroughly understands the value of programming designed specifically for girls.
“We know girls. Our mission, programming, and objectives revolve around their healthy development. And we are actively helping today’s girls tap into their potential; unlock new skills; and develop the courage, confidence, and character they need to be tomorrow’s leaders,” says Sally J. Leep, CEO of Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming.
“Since its inception, Girl Scouts has been about putting girls front and center, ensuring that everything we do is with their best interests in mind and equips girls to be fearless leaders and change-makers. For more than a century Girl Scouts has prepared girls with essential leadership skills and provided them with a supportive network of girls and women who can face any challenge, from the wilderness to the boardroom, with confidence, compassion, and success. Our focus has always been and always will be girls.”
Leep does acknowledge that the Girl Scout organization has a lot of work to do in order to educate people and dispel myths. For example, she says, people incorrectly assume that Boy Scouts provides programs and activities that Girl Scouts does not.
“There are people who still think of Girl Scouts as campfires, cookies and friendship bracelets—but we are so much more! Today’s Girl Scouts start garage bands, build robots and do service projects in our National Parks. We offer exciting, challenging programs that allow girls to take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking and archery to outdoor survival and camping. From STEM and robotics to financial literacy training, girls have the opportunity to be G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, and Leaders) in a supportive, encouraging environment where they feel safe.”
She says another misconception, held by 53 percent of school families, is that Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are the same organization. “Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are – and always have been – two separate organizations,” says Leep. “We stand firmly in our conviction that girls need their own girl-only opportunities that have been designed by and for them. Girl Scouts remains committed to serving all girls.”
Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming consists of more than 11,000 girls and adults, with national membership at 2.6 million.