Girl Scouting benefits girls, communities

Girl Scouts is the place for girls to have fun and try new experiences, such as turning ordinary household items into robots, organizing a community walk for cancer awareness, or hiking to the top of Mount Katahdin in Maine.

The volunteers and staff at Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania want every girl to be so excited about the adventures she’ll have with Girl Scouts that she can hardly wait, because she knows she can do anything she sets her mind to, including taking action to make the world a better place.

Recently, Girl Scout Cadette Troop 30699 in Youngsville participated in the Challenge and Change: Challenge Yourself, Change the World national teen leadership program.

The program is designed to teach teens about social entrepreneurship. As part of the program, the girls set a goal to reduce obesity in their community. To help meet this objective, the girls designed and implemented the Front Porch Planter (FPP) project to educate people about eating healthier whole foods through gardening.

On June 5, the girls held an event to distribute 100 garden boxes filled with vegetable and herb plants to families throughout their community. Recipients were required to complete a survey to obtain a planter box. The girls will be conducting a post survey with the recipients to collect data on how their gardens grew. Future plans for the project include holding local cooking classes and offering garden planter boxes to local elementary schools for use in classroom education.

Troop 30699’s Front Porch Planter project was selected as a winner in the 2013 Youth Awards Contest sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors. The troop will be awarded a $500 cash prize and certificate during the annual convention of the Warren County Association of Township Officials on October 21 at the Holiday Inn, 210 Ludlow St., Warren.

Girl Scouts’ projects like Front Porch Planter not only benefit the community, but the girls as well. Girl Scouting activities are girl-led, providing the opportunity for girls to learn by doing in a supportive, non-competitive environment. The Girl Scout experience gives girls the confidence and the tools to lead, helping them become the citizens who will make a difference in the world.

Research proves that Girl Scouting benefits girls for life. In fact, in a 2012 study found that women who were Girl Scouts as girls displayed more positive life outcomes, higher incomes, and higher education levels than women who were not Girl Scouts. This is a compelling reason for caregivers to enroll their daughters in Girl Scouts.

Volunteers are needed to help more girls in the Warren area reap the benefits of the Girl Scouting experience. Today’s Girl Scouts offers many flexible ways for you to volunteer. No matter how much time you can spare to be a Girl Scout volunteer even if it’s only a few hours you will have a direct effect on girls’ leadership development.

To learn more, visit gswpa.org or contact Jennifer Fox-Riggin at 723-4990 or jfoxriggin@gswpa.org.

Angie Stengel is Chief Operations Officer for Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA). In this role, she leads efforts in membership, programs, volunteer administration and data management. She also facilitates all aspects of the Council Strategic Learning process.