Girl Scouts programming works to shape girls into courageous and independent community leaders.
Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, founded in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low in Savannah, Georgia, is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. In the midst of the Progressive Era — and at a time when women in the U.S. couldn't yet vote — Juliette Gordon Low sparked a worldwide movement inspiring girls to embrace, together, their individuality, strength and intellect. Today, Girl Scouts of the USA is 2.6 million strong — 1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)(™) to change the world.
In 2008, Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia was formed as result of the merger of six Girl Scout Councils in Georgia. In 2017, Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia (GSHG) serves over 13,000 girls in Kindergarten through 12th grade annually with the help of more than 4,000 active adult volunteers.
The GSHG council is comprised of 122 counties in Georgia, two in South Carolina and one in Alabama and services centers are located in Albany, Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon and Savannah, our corporate headquarters. Through ongoing programs in leadership development, science and technology, bullying-prevention, entrepreneurship and financial literacy, and community service, Girl Scouting provides girls with opportunities to try new things, cultivate healthy friendships, build skills and confidence, develop positive values, connect with their communities and practice leadership skills.
Learning leadership skills and discovering new friendships
As Girl Scouts, girls discover the fun, friendship and power of girls together. Girls grow courageous and strong through a wide variety of enriching experiences, such as field trips, camping and outdoor education, skill-building sports clinics, community service projects, cultural exchanges and environmental stewardship.
Girl Scouts helps girls develop their full individual potential; relate to others with increasing understanding, skill and respect; develop values to guide their actions and provide the foundation for sound decision making; and contribute to the improvement of society through their abilities, leadership skills and cooperation with others.
More than 59 million women in the U.S. today enjoyed Girl Scouts during their childhood — a number that keeps growing as Girl Scouts continue to inspire, challenge and empower girls everywhere. In fact, one of every two adult women is a Girl Scout Alumna. Girl Scout Alumnae display positive life outcomes to a greater degree than non-alumnae on several indicators of success, including a sense of self, volunteerism and community work, civic engagement, education and income/socioeconomic status (Girl Scout Research Institute 2012).
Also, 58 percent of women in the 114th Congress are Girl Scout alumnae and 75 percent of female senators are Girl Scout alumnae. In the House of Representatives, 53 percent of women currently serving are Girl Scout alumnae. Five of the six current female governors are Girl Scout alumnae (Girl Scouts of the USA Public Policy & Advocacy Office 2015)
Community advocacy and public service
With its history of more than 100 years serving girls of all backgrounds, Girl Scouts is uniquely positioned to help bridge the gap for girls in low-income families in order for all girls to live healthy, happy and productive lives. The most recent data from the "State of Girls" show that economic conditions affecting girls in the United States have not recovered from the Great Recession that began in late 2007. In fact, they have worsened. More girls are living in poverty and low-income households today than ten years ago. This is significant because these low socioeconomic-status (SES) girls face considerable challenges that affect their health, happiness and achievement. Low-SES girls are more likely to be of black/African American, Hispanic/Latino and American Indian descent.
In Georgia, Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia began to address these needs several decades ago through a program we call, "Direct Delivery". Through this outreach program, Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia provides the Girl Scout Program to underserved girls, grades Kindergarten through 12th grade, to help at-risk girls develop positive values, leadership and life skills, a positive self-image and to learn and desire to contribute to their communities.
GSHG reaches out to at-risk girls through its "Outreach/Direct Delivery" Girl Scout Program by providing dedicated staff to conduct the Girl Scout program in a safe setting where girls already are: at schools, Boys & Girls Clubs, neighborhood community centers, and at the Macon Youth Development Campus. Girls often come from families with limited educational and career aspirations, perpetuating generational poverty.
Direct Delivery in Georgia
While most Girl Scouts in Georgia are in traditional troops, several thousand more Girl Scouts in Georgia actively participate in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience through Direct Delivery. Most of the Direct Delivery/Outreach programming is held in larger cities like Savannah, Macon, Columbus, Augusta and Brunswick, and we expand into new venues with additional girls as funds and staffing permit.
Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia is committed to providing Girl Scout programming to as many girls as we are able through Direct Delivery, allowing all interest girls to develop a positive sense of self, build healthy relationships and strong values, engage in sustainable community service opportunities, seek out and deal with challenges and prepare them to find their personal paths to adulthood and meet education obstacles and peer pressure head-on.
Over the years, we have added and fine-tuned programming including our signature "Be a Friend First" anti-bullying curriculum, age-appropriate financial literacy, STEM activities, outdoor education, leadership and team building, environmental awareness and community engagement. Hands-on activities such as self-expression, STEM and environmental projects, nurturing healthy friendships, conflict resolution, career exploration and more, help girls discover who they are and what they most care about and to become caring, productive adults.
Girls earn badges, complete Journeys (research and curriculum-based guidebooks) and do service projects building skills that will help them succeed in school: confidence, problem-solving, teamwork, character, decision-making, healthy relationships and peaceful conflict resolution skills. All girls deserve an even playing field with education and enrichment opportunities that help them thrive through their youth and into adulthood.
What kind of girl is out of Historic Georgia?
Our target audience is all girls in grades K-12 from all racial, ethnic and socio-economic groups. All girls are encouraged to participate, regardless of family finances, academic ability or physical limitations. Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia (GSHG) provides financial assistance, if needed, for a girl's registration fee to Girl Scouts USA, which entails a $25 annual membership fee. GSHG ensures that no girl or volunteer is ever denied membership because of her inability to pay. None of the registration fees stays in the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia Council, nor are there extra membership fees. All girls must be in grades K-12, accept the Girl Scout Promise and Law, and register as a member of Girl Scouts USA. Adult volunteers must be over the age of 18 and register as a member with GSUSA. Adult volunteers who work directly with girls must pass a criminal background check.
As a result of participation in Girl Scouting in the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia Council:
- 90 percent of girls develop a strong of self, building confidence in themselves and their abilities.
- 95 percent of girls develop positive, acting ethically, honestly, and responsibly and show concern for others.
- 90 percent of girls seek challenges and try things even if they might fail.
- 85 percent of girls learn how to develop healthy relationships by communicating their feelings directly and resolving conflicts constructively.
- 90 percent of girls serve our community in purposeful and meaningful ways.
Girls and troop leaders complete program evaluations following each program/event they attend, evaluating the quality of the program and what they have learned. Program staff then works with a committee of girls to develop the next series of programs factoring in the evaluation results. GSHG department directors to participate in bi-monthly planning and management meeting to ensure consistent communication and follow through and to brainstorm solutions and creative new ideas to constantly improve the Girl Scout program.
Girls in troops complete surveys once a year that assess their achievement of the Girl Scout Program outcomes, from which we drive our outcomes. Girls in Direct Delivery also complete surveys. Results of these surveys are shared with GSHG's leadership and functional departments (Program, Membership and Volunteer Management) so they can respond if there are any consistent survey answers that point out a need for adjustments in programming or training of volunteers or Direct Delivery Managers.
GSHG Direct Delivery/Outreach recruits through flyers and events at Housing Authority neighborhoods and schools. Girls register and meet weekly in groups working on age-appropriate activities guided by program-driven, curricula-based Journey guidebooks. Hands-on activities and programs include bullying prevention, self-expression, STEM, healthy friendships, conflict resolution and community service projects to help girls build courage and confidence, improve academic achievement, and become caring, productive adults.
Creating even more community impact
To increase the number of quality, well-prepared troop and throughout Georgia, in 2017, Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia launched the Customer Engagement Initiative (CEI), a robust technology system designed to strengthen adult volunteer involvement by attracting, training and supporting volunteers needed to deliver exceptional Girl Scout programming. CEI facilities training allows easier access to program ideas and provides flexible meeting preparation, shortening the time it takes to ready a volunteer for service and provides her with confidence-building resources and support. A searchable database of project ideas, troop meeting plans and instructions for related program games or crafts is filtered by age of participants and length of time of a meeting, helping volunteers maximize planning time to deliver quality, impactful experiences for girls. CEI trains volunteers and connects them to a wealth of resources through a vast digital library. GSHG launched this technology system to help volunteers deliver exceptional Girl Scout programming.
Programming that inspires and builds confidence
Camp and outdoor education are also an integral part of Girl Scouting for both girls in traditional troops and outreach girls served through GSHS's Direct Delivery Program. It is the place where the skills and values a girl learns in her Girl Scout troop, at a Girl Scout event, and throughout the school year, are put into action. She exercises her independence when she spends a night away from home. She musters up her courage and confidence to participate in intense outdoor experiences. She builds character when she shares responsibilities with her tent-mates. She succeeds and she fails, in a supportive environment surrounded by friends, both old and new. While building self-confidence is fundamental to every girl's development, camping and outdoor challenges provide avenues for achievement and the opportunity to develop independence and self-reliance, learn teamwork, seek challenges and find out more about who she is.
Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia is dedicated to continuously evaluating the quality of all camp programming and conducts outcome measurements after each program that aligns with the five outcomes identified with the Girl Scout mission and experience, not unlike weekly or other special programs. The measured outcome is:
- A sense of self: Girls have the confidence in themselves and their abilities and form positive identities.
- Positive values: Girls are ethical, honestly and responsibly and show concern for others.
- Healthy relationships: Girls develop and maintain healthy relationships by communicating their feelings directly and resolving conflicts constructively.
- Challenge seeking: Girls learn to take appropriate risks, try things even if they might fail and learn from mistakes.
- Problem-solving: Girls learn how to interpret problems and create appropriate action plans to solve them.
Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia provides council-wide programs, camping, outdoor education, STEM, financial literacy, anti-bullying and so much more, in addition to weekly school and/or after school programs support girls as they try new things, cultivate healthy friendships, build life skills and confidence, develop positive values, connect with their communities and become empowered to be themselves and enhance their leadership skills, Girl Scouts is the ultimate adventure as well as preeminent leadership development organization for girls.
For Girl Scouts, some of the biggest obstacles to reaching more girls are (1) the need to recruit, train and retain capable volunteer leaders and (2) obsolete business practices that inefficiency over-rely on paper, delaying the time from the first contact with a prospective member or volunteer to the time when that girl is placed in a troop of that volunteer is successfully serving. For these reasons, Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia launched the Customer Engagement Initiative.
A key part of that initiative is a Girl Scout Nationwide, proprietary technology system built on SalesForce, a cloud-based system. CEI features a database — of both girls and volunteers — accessible from anywhere with real-time updates. Many processes are automated and messaging is consistent and instantaneous. The Customer Engagement Initiative technology system is designed to strengthen adult volunteer involvement by attracting, training and supporting volunteers needed to deliver exceptional Girl Scout programming.