How’s the new job? It’s a question I’ve been asked a lot recently. Less than two weeks ago, I became the new CEO for the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore. My first day on the job, I traveled to Columbus, Ohio, for Girl Scouts of the USA’s national convention. Then, this Wednesday, only my third day physically in my office, Boy Scouts of America announced its decision to begin accepting girls into its program.
So far, my new job has been an adventure.
Before joining the Girl Scout organization, I served almost 10 years as the executive director of the Monmouth County Workforce Development Board. I helped young adults find jobs. With that experience, after only 12 days as a professional Girl Scout, I can tell you beyond a doubt that Girl Scouts does an amazing job preparing girls for a lifetime of success.
Girl Scouts count on us to provide opportunities that foster collaboration, enabling them to stretch beyond their limits. Our programs provide a safe haven where girls are free to be themselves without the pressures and social anxiety that can result from a mixed-gender environment.
Girl Scouts also prepares girls for the future, no matter what that future might hold. Everything a Girl Scout does centers around STEM, the outdoors, development of life skills and entrepreneurship. These activities are designed not only to engage her where she is now, but also grow along with her from age 5 to 18 and into adulthood.
At the Girl Scout convention last week, I met passionate girls from across the country. Each one was a go-getter, innovator, risk-taker and leader. Some enjoyed STEM, others were drawn to our outdoor opportunities. Regardless, all of them loved being Girl Scouts and you could tell they were better prepared for adulthood than those who don’t have the opportunity to participate in Girl Scout experiences.
One local Girl Scout who attended with me is Erin Foreman. She’s a junior at Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES) in Manahawkin. Last year, she earned her Gold Award, a very rare feat for a high school sophomore. For her project, Erin worked with the Lacey Police Department to create the Lacey Lockbox Program, a program that gives law enforcement easier access to the homes of senior citizens and those with disabilities during emergencies.
Erin continues to be an active Girl Scout. At the national convention, she served as a delegate representing Girl Scouts from Monmouth and Ocean counties, helping to make decisions that will affect the course of our organization for years to come. This past summer, she traveled with other Girl Scouts from our community to the Galapagos Islands where she had the opportunity to walk in Charles Darwin’s footsteps. And, this week, I was honored to inform her that she was selected to be the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore’s 2018 Junior Woman of Distinction. Erin will be honored at our 30th Annual Women of Distinction and Community Partners Gala in March.
Girl Scouts is a thriving organization, not only in Monmouth and Ocean counties, but across the country. It’s easy to see why other organizations envy us and want to get girls involved. However, the path to success should involve building yourself and others up. That’s the Girl Scout way and that’s why we have an ongoing tradition of success.
In the end, we all want the same thing, to provide all children with endless opportunities to succeed, no matter what they choose to do in life. For girls, I believe their best opportunity for success lies with Girl Scouts.
I encourage all of you to join me on a Girl Scout adventure. Take time to learn what we have to offer; we’re much more than you imagine. We’re an organization that provides engaging opportunities focused on life-skills, entrepreneurship, civics and the arts. We’re an organization that makes a lifetime of difference. We’re an organization that’s been around for 105 years, and we’re not going anywhere.
Too many girls and their families are counting on us.