For over 100 years, Girl Scouting has been a powerful force in the lives of millions of girls–instilling in them increased self-confidence in their decision-making abilities and their capacity to become strong leaders in their own lives and communities. Girl Scouts are more likely to make healthy life choices and less likely to believe in negative and gender-based messages about career options.
We serve girls in every economic class. We serve girls in foster care, girls disenfranchised by their parents being incarcerated, those who have been exploited, undocumented or newly immigrated, those experiencing economic and social poverty, as well as girls from families who provide great support to their daughters’ development. We serve 18 distinct Native American populations, both on reservations and in urban centers.
Girl Scouts provides a nurturing space and opportunities to learn new things and build their confidence, character, and skills for success in the world. From traditional troops and independent experiences to community programs and specialized events, we provide a safe space for girls to grow and share new experiences, develop core values and contribute to society.
Here you will find information on specific initiatives aimed at making Girl Scouting available to all girls everywhere.
Across the country, 1.7 million children—half of them under the age of 10—have a parent in prison, according to the advocacy group The Sentencing Project. Girls with incarcerated mothers face particular obstacles, but Girl Scouts believe that lack of access to leadership development programs shouldn't be among them.
The Girl Scouts Beyond Bars (GSBB) program was established in Arizona in 1994 and, along with several other councils, has grown to serve thousands of girls across the country. GSBB equips girls ages 5 to 17 whose mothers are incarcerated with the tools they'll need to succeed while also strengthening the mother/daughter bond through regular visits.
Mothers and their daughters take an active leadership role in the planning and implementing of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, a process that fosters life skills development and personal growth. After release, parents and daughters can continue to participate in troop meetings in their communities, making Girl Scouting a consistent and supportive presence in their lives.
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Females represented more than one in four arrests in 2012, according to the FBI's National Uniform Crime Report. Of those, 12 percent were under the age of 18.
As the only national gender-specific program serving this population, Girl Scouting in Detention Centers (GSDC) encourages girls ages 12−17 to embrace new ways of viewing themselves: as leaders full of potential.
Established in the 1990s, GSDC serves girls in all areas of the juvenile justice system, including those in secure detention, in residential treatment, on probation, at alternative high schools, and in community troops after their release. The program addresses prevalent community issues affecting our young women in areas such as education, health, homelessness, gang activity, substance abuse, violence, and sexual exploitation.
Girl Scouting challenges girls to nurture their inner leadership skills and break dangerous cycles of behavior. In fact, GSUSA's 2012 GSDC National Evaluation found that the program helps girls regulate their emotions and manage their anger while fostering their ability to develop healthier relationships overall.