Girl Scouting is an adventure that is designed to help young girls grow into strong, independent, and confident women. While much of the focus of the organization is on reaching out to younger girls, there is a critical need to support older girls in their journey. This guide is intended to provide helpful advice and information for caregivers, parents, and troop leaders on how to best support and keep girls in the program, even as they get older.
What is the Older Girl Program?
The Girl Scouts of the USA offers an Older Girl Program which is designed to help girls transition from traditional scouting activities and into a more mature approach to Girl Scouting. The program focuses on leadership development, life skills, and other activities such as career exploration, as well as outdoor and travel experiences. Girls who participate in the Older Girl Program can earn program-specific badges, such as the Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador Badges, and may even gain access to exclusive scholarships and awards.
Tips for Supporting Older Girls
- Encourage Self-Exploration. The Older Girl Program provides girls with an opportunity to grow and explore their interests, values, and talents. Encourage girls to try new activities, seek out problems to solve, and strive to become their best selves.
- Focus on Leadership Development. The Older Girl Program emphasizes developing leadership skills, such as public speaking, decision making, goal setting, and problem solving. Encourage girls to take initiative, set goals for themselves, and try their hand at leading projects and activities.
- Foster Independence. As girls become older, they will need to become more independent. Help girls learn to make decisions, solve problems, and manage their own tasks. Encourage girls to take ownership of their actions and be responsible for their decisions.
- Provide Opportunities for Networking. The Older Girl Program provides girls with access to a network of other girls their age who share similar interests and goals. Encourage girls to attend events with other girls in the program and take advantage of these networking opportunities.
- Talk About Future Goals and Plans. The Older Girl Program helps girls develop the skills and experience necessary to pursue their goals and dreams. Guide girls in setting and achieving their goals. Celebrate their successes and help them to find resources as they move forward.
Resources for Older Girls
There are many resources available to help girls in the Older Girl Program. The Older Girls Resource Packet from Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey offers helpful information about the program, as well as activities and resources to help girls succeed. There is also the Senior Girl Scout Handbook from Girl Scouts of the United States of America, which provides activities and information about the Older Girl Program. Finally, the Senior Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting from Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana is a great resource for girls to help them gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to be successful.
The Older Girl Program is an important part of the Girl Scouting program and helps girls to grow and develop in positive ways. By providing support and guidance, parents and caregivers can help older girls stay engaged in the program and take advantage of the many opportunities it provides.