Girl Scouts is well-known as the preeminent leadership development organization for girls, with programs offered from coast to coast and across the globe. A common method for providing services is through Girl Scout troops. What might not be commonly known is that Girl Scout services and programs can also be offered directly to girls, where they are.
“We take the Girl Scouts Leadership Experience to them,” said Betsy Connell, Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia (GSHG) Girl Leadership program director. “Our goal is to give girls in harder to reach areas the benefits and outcomes of the leadership experience.”
The Direct Delivery program fills in where there may not be an organized troop presence. GSHG team members serve as troop leaders in terms of coordinating and guiding group activities, ensuring they are aligned to program goals. Focus areas range from bullying, self-image, goal-setting and environmental sustainability, among others.
The program has been successfully implemented throughout our council thanks to generous contributions from various donors, including the United Way in many counties. Here’s a look at the work that’s been done by service area so far this year:
Although met with the challenges from storms throughout Southwest Georgia this past January, we were able to persevere and bring the Be a Friend First (BFF) programming to 224 girls in Sumter, Colquitt and Dougherty counties so far this year.
The BFF programming was thoroughly enjoyed by the girls and gave them a plan of action on how to handle certain situations in friendships, how to be a better friend to others and how to see greatness within themselves. With the three schools, two groups were 6th graders and one was 8th graders. With the 8th graders, we were able to focus more on building healthier relationships and proper conduct when using social media. The girls were able to complete their “Take Action” project by creating anti-bullying PSA posters to hang around their schools.
This school year we served 57 girls in the Athens service area. Sites included the Athens YMCA, Walton County Boys & Girls Club, Maysville Elementary and East Jackson Middle School. We also have just started a program with the Hall County Youth Detention Center (YDC).
We delivered programs on BFF, focused on self-image and goal setting, and the “It’s Your World—Change It” Journey series. With the Hall YDC, the program will be the GSUSA provided resource specifically tailored for girls in detention centers.
We will also serve 100-200 more during our summer program at the YWCO summer camp in Athens.
In Augusta, we served 575 girls in grades K-8 at Richmond County elementary schools and afterschool programs with the YMCA. Participants completed the “It’s Your World” Journey series and BFF program. This summer we have programs at Columbia County Community Connections, Diamond Lakes Richmond County Recreation Center, and The Family Y.
In Columbus, we served 127 girls at 8 sites and delivered a Brownie Quest program on teamwork, a Junior aMUSE program on breaking stereotypes and the Barbie program “You Can Be Anything You Dream to Be.”
This school year in Macon, we served approximately 650 girls across 17 sites throughout Bibb, Houston and Peach counties. We focused on the Journeys “It’s your Planet, Love it!”, and “It’s Your Story, Tell it!”
Additionally we held an end of the year campout at Camp Martha Johnston where approximately 70 girls spent the weekend doing traditional camp activities. We also offered a day camp experience for the girls who participated in the program this school year.
This summer we will serve girls in our summer programs at 12 sites. We anticipate 250-300 girls will be served at the summer sites.
In the Savannah area, we served over 300 girls in a variety of grade appropriate programs. The BFF program was implemented in several middle schools in the Chatham County School District and in Glynn County. The program was highly successful, and plans are underway to extend it to every middle school in the Chatham County district. Counselors and principals remarked that participants behaved better and also performed better academically after participation in this impactful anti-bullying Girl Scout program for middle school aged girls.