Girl Scouts unleashes the Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker and Leader in all young ladies
For decades, Girl Scouts has provided young girls from all over the Illinois Valley area an opportunity to get involved, become inspired, and learn new skills they otherwise might not have ever tried.
Through the many activities and programs Girl Scouts offer, young ladies can unleash their inner G.I.R.L., which stands for Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker and Leader.
Michell Heider has been the leader for Troop 1652 in Princeton for the past five years.
She got involved with the organization after her daughter, Heather, begged her to join.
Heider was never a Girl Scout growing up and was a little hesitant about getting involved in something she didn’t know much about. But after giving it some thought, she signed her daughter up and also became the troop’s co-leader at the time.
“I read all I could about Girl Scouts and told myself my daughter was totally worth it and this was a great path to build her self-esteem. I did not want my fears to interfere with her dreams,” Heider said.
After watching firsthand the positive lessons that came out of the program, Heider said, she now wishes she would have joined Girl Scouts when she was in school.
She encourages all girls to give Girls Scouts a try. The organization is open to any girl from kindergarten to 12th grade.
“They can join a troop to share fun and adventures together or become a ‘Juliette’ and do things on their own,” Heider said.
“Ask yourself, ‘What do you want your daughter to become?’ With social pressure, imagine issues and the never-ending hardships of life — these things can keep a mom and dad awake at night. These issues won’t magically go away, but being apart of Girl Scouts will help your daughter to become more self-confident.”
According to the Girl Scouts website, there are 1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults nationwide who are involved in the program.
The Girl Scout journey began more than 100 years ago when Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low organized the first troop in Savannah, Ga., on March 12, 1912. Since then, her vision and legacy have been honored by the organization’s mission to provide girls with courage, confidence and character to make the world a better place.
There are many important lessons a G.I.R.L. can learn through her experience as a Girl Scout. For Heider’s troop, the one that’s had the most impact is learning compassion for people and animals.
“I’m sure each troop or individual girl will notice a different lesson, because there are so many important ones like leadership and making good decisions,” she said.
Other lessons being taught, include being exposed to new skills, visiting local professionals to see how businesses are run and how careers can be chosen and not being afraid to ask questions.
“It sounds like simple things to adults, but little by little, these lessons build confidence and less fear when college comes along,” Heider said.
There are also a plethora of activities the girls take part in throughout the year, including STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) projects, badge work, participating in the cookie business, helping with community projects, archery, canoeing, camping, etc.
“The list is pretty endless,” Heider said.
“Girls need to know they are important and worth it and learning by doing is a wonderful thing.”
Girls who enjoy the program can work up the ranks to earn a Gold Award, which is equivalent to the Boy Scouts Eagle Award. The Gold Award represents a girl dedicated to leadership, time, creativity and effort to making her community better.
Heider said with a Gold Award, college scholarships become more available, and those deciding to enter a branch of military will be able to do so at an advanced level.
“Leadership is in high demand for our area, and Girl Scouts has many resources to help a new leader be educated,” she said.