The Girl Scouts have rocked for 100 years (and it's not all about the cookies!)

I'm a huge fan of Girl Scout cookies. Who isn't? Every February, I am on the lookout for coworkers, friends and family members with daughters in the Girl Scouts, ready to sell me some Thin Mints, Samoas or Dulce de Leche cookies. Some I devour within days and others go straight to the freezer so that they can last me all year.

But besides my love for the delicious treats, I have always appreciated the Girl Scouts and all of the things that they do for young girls. Although I was never a Girl Scout myself, one of my best friends in high school was still in a troop and I sometimes joined in on volunteer activities.

I learned a lot about what kind of services and skills they teach and now, on the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts, I realize that it's everything that I would want to teach my own daughter.


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Girls get to try new things, like typically "boy" activities: From sailing to camping, girls get to participate in many activities and try a lot of new things. Badges also include things like crafting and even personal finance so, although a girl may not master any one skill, she's exposed to many different ones and encouraged to become a more well-rounded person.

Volunteering and focusing on the concept of citizenship: The girls learn a lot about the concept of citizenship and how to be a good citizen while focusing on how to do it pro-actively. Many girl scouts spend time volunteering for the good of society (like wrapping Christmas presents for children who are victims of child abuse) and the planet (like planting new community gardens).

Bonding with fellow girls and promoting teamwork in a non-competitive setting: Participating in the girl scouts builds a lot of teamwork, since girls have to work together to accomplish a lot of tasks and during volunteer activities. They also get to bond with other girls and form friendships not based on competition, but instead based on doing something good together.

Building confidence by not having to look perfect all the time: Since there are no boys around, one of the best parts of growing up as a girl scout (particularly as you get older) is that you don't have any pressure to look "pretty". These girls are much more focused on learning new skills, volunteering and building up their leadership instead of thinking about their appearance.

Troops aren't necessarily school based, so girls meet new people: Although some Girl Scout troops can be based in schools, most are run by parents (like my friend's mom!) where other kids from surrounding neighborhoods are welcome to join. It's a great way for girls to make new friends that they may not have met outside of school if it wasn't for the Girl Scout meetings.

Selling cookies teaches about self assertion and hard work: Even selling those eponymous Girl Scout cookies teaches girls a thing or two about life. Going door-to-door, girls can learn a lot about assertion and salesmanship. Plus, the value of hard work is imparted early on since those that work harder to sell more cookies are usually rewarded with better sales and prizes.

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Did you or your kids ever participate in the Girl Scouts?

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