Archive for March 14th, 2012

Leadership, Role Models and Girl Scouts

March 14th, 2012

Monday night I attended an event celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Girl Scouts in the US. A couple of unexpected things happened. First, I received a lesson in how role models and believing in people and providing roles models makes a difference.

Here are some statistics I found stunning:

 . . . 80% of women business owners were Girl Scouts, 69% of female U.S. Senators were Girl Scouts, 67% of female members of the House of Representatives were Girl Scouts, and virtually every female astronaut who has flown in space was a Girl Scout.  (Marina Park, CEO of Girl Scouts of Northern Californa)

The Girl Scout organization attributes this to girls growing up with women leaders, in an organization that believe in girls and women and works to build “courage, confidence and character to make the world a better place.”

The second unexpected thing was how emotional the evening was for me. I attended because I was honored as one of the 100 women of Northern California selected to receive the “Greening the Future” award and to represent what’s possible. I went knowing that I had been a Girl Scout, but not thinking much about it. The statistics above struck me personally. Anytime I find a demographic that I fit into I’m interested, since I’m so often the only one of my kind in a room (e.g., the only woman, or the only person who studied China rather than technology, or the only person who can be equally happy watching either football or classical ballet, or the only person who . . . . . .)

I was also struck — viscerally — by the memories. The evening’s talks started off with a discussion of Girl Scout camping. I realized I had related my strongest memory of Girl Scout camping to my son literally 2 days before. That was a shock that suggested Girl Scouts may have had more impact on my life than I have thought.

A few women wore their sashes with achievement badges. Af first I thought this was fun and interesting — mine was lost unknown years and moves ago. Then during the award ceremony I stood next to a woman wearing hers. It made me gasp. I recognized the general pattern, the wings, the troop badge and some of the actual badges. “I had that badge, and that one , and that one too!” I haven’t thought of these in some times. Yet they instantly reminded me of hours spend figuring out what I wanted to learn about, and what I was going to do to learn and demonstrate my accomplishment.

I guess maybe being a Girl Scout taught me more than I knew at the time.

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