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The top leadership organization for girls

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013 11:00 a.m. CDT

SPRINGFIELD — Girl Scouts of Central Illinois (GSCI) is still accepting 2013 registrations for girls ages 5-17 who would like to become part of a troop.

Today in central Illinois, more than 21,000 girls participate in troops and Girl Scouting activities in their communities, and according to Girl Scout records, that number continues to grow throughout the area.

Girl Scouts is widely recognized as the top leadership organization for girls in the world.

Today’s Girl Scout Leadership Experience, although embedded in the tradition of cookies and camping, offers girls more than ever before.

Girl Scouting provides more opportunities than any other organization to help girls and young women develop their leadership potential and build practical life skills.

“Girl Scouts has evolved to meet the needs of today’s girls,” said Jamie Stout, director of membership and volunteerism.

“We help build girls of courage, confidence and character by providing the tools and support to young girls that feeds their drive to succeed in all aspects of life.

“And we empower and encourage them to become good stewards to the environment and their communities,” she added.

“There is no other organization like it in the world.”

One core concentration in the organization today is exposing girls to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in a way that inspires a future career path.

When today’s girls graduate from college, the United States will need three million more scientists and engineers, yet women account for fewer than 20 percent of the bachelor’s degrees in engineering, computer science and physics.

Research shows that by middle school, girls begin to shy away from STEM, but when they are able to explore STEM fields and careers in a girl-only environment with female role models, this enhances their skills, confidence, ambition, drive and learning.

Girl Scouts also boasts the top financial literacy program in the nation for girls — and it starts with cookies.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program has grown into a leading business and economic literacy program that is run by and for girls.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program provides an important ingredient for leadership by helping girls develop five key skills:

• Goal setting.

• Decision making.

• Money management.

• People skills.

• Business ethics.

The financial literacy skills taught through Girl Scouts have proven to be a key factor in shaping financial and personal success for alumnae.

A recent impact study about the value of Girl Scouting reveals that Girl Scout alumnae have a higher income/socioeconomic status, a greater level of civic engagement, and are overall more successful than their non-Girl Scout peers (published by the Girl Scout Research Institute, 2012).

More than 50 million American women are alumnae of Girl Scouting:

• Nearly 70 percent of the women in the U.S. Congress today are former Girl Scouts;

• 64 percent of the women listed in Who’s Who of American Women are Girl Scout alumnae;

•53 percent of all women business owners are Girl Scout alumnae.

Would you, your daughter or other female friends/relatives/neighbors like to become more familiar and get involved in the Girls Scouting program? There are plenty of opportunities for girls of all ages. Leaders, mentors and other people are always needed to help or volunteer.

For more information, visit the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois website at www.GetYourGirlPower.org.

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