Today is the 103rd birthday of the Girl Scouts of the USA. I've been a member of this organization for just under a third of its existence - it's my 30th year this year! Although I can personally attest to how much I've been influenced by my Girl Scout experiences, both as a child and as an adult, sometimes it's nice to know how others feel, too.
The Girl Scout Research Institute - did you even know that Girl Scouts has a full Research Institute working on girls' and women's issues all the time? - did a study recently to measure outcomes of Girl Scouting into adulthood. According to the GSRI website, the Alumnae Impact Study showed that "...Girl Scouting works. Women who were Girl Scouts as girls display positive life outcomes to a greater degree than women who were not Girl Scouts. These outcomes are regarding sense of self, community service, civic engagement, education and income. And this is the case for all Girl Scout alumnae, across age/generations, social class, race, and engagement in other extracurricular activities."
The study involved more than 3,750 women, of whom roughly 2,000 were Girl Scout alumnae. It combined qualitative and quantitative methodologies, and tested hypotheses such as:
- Does Girl Scout participation result in positive life outcomes?
- What are the benefits of the Girl Scout experience?
- Does participation benefit certain demographic groups more than others?
You can read the Executive Summary and supporting documents at the GSRI website to find out how those hypotheses tested out.
So here's my question to you. Were you a Girl Scout (or Boy Scout or 4-H kid or member of another organization) as a child? Are you still a member or volunteer today? And how have those experiences shaped your adult life? Please leave a message in the comments!