Recently, I began working as a volunteer leader for a Girl Scout troop here in Fort Collins, Colo. With the girls all being in early elementary school, this is an essential time to provide encouragement and badass women role models in their lives.
I came across an article about Girl Scouts in the outdoors that incited some pretty strong emotions within me. The article states the fact that only 50% of girls consider themselves brave. It’s shocking to think someone could not have strong emotions provoked after reading that.
The article went on to mention Caroline Paul’s book, “The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure,” and her review in the New York Times on the “bravery gap.”
“We must chuck the insidious language of fear (Be careful! That’s too scary!) and instead use the same terms we offer boys, of bravery and resilience. We need to embolden girls to master skills that at first appear difficult, even dangerous,” Caroline Paul said.
Articles like this one are saying what needs to be said — girls need help realizing how strong and capable they are. It is one thing to tell them, it is another thing to show them, to throw them into an adventure and challenge them to overcome and help them conquer.
Airica Parker, an English professor at Colorado State University, doted on her own history with the Girl Scouts and being raised not as a little girl, but as a little human. Parker was raised to believe she is capable of anything and everything. As a Girl Scout during her elementary school years, she will happily tell you, “when I look back on my time in the Girl Scouts, I smile.”
Apart from the outdoor environmental work Parker’s troop would participate in, she owes her strong will to the fishing days with her father. As well as the many activities her parents encouraged her to engage in. Parker believes our future generation should be provided opportunities of both traditional boy and girl experiences that the world has to offer, no holding back.
Parker makes a great point, all children deserve equal opportunities and attitudes growing up.
There has been enough girl on girl hate, enough side remarks, enough judgement. We grew up among it and witnessed it happening to other girls. It’s heartbreaking.
Let’s change the conversation these girls are hearing, I’ll start:
- I vow to make women and girls feel strong and empowered with every word I speak to them, with every action I take.
- I vow to provide strength and guidance for those younger than I, and those older who would benefit from my encouragement.
- I promise to learn as much as I can, to work as hard as I can and to bring as much love as possible.
It is time to create a world in which girls are raised feeling mighty, feeling capable, feeling ready to take on any challenge.
It is time to see brave girls, to see creative girls, to see innovative girls, to see girls succeeding without needing to fight for an opportunity.
It is time to see women of all colors and backgrounds, succeeding in what they love and what they deserve.
Let’s vow to help foster a culture of empowerment for young women everywhere.
Join the conversation, how are you going to empower young girls?