Girl Scouting teaches positive lessons that last a lifetime and a new study is proving just that.
According to a recent study released by Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), women who were Girl Scouts as children display significantly more positive life outcomes than non-Girl Scout alumnae.
The study, Girl Scouting Works: The Alumnae Impact Study, which was not identified to participants as a Girl Scout project, surveyed a sample of 3,550 women aged 18 and older, roughly half of whom were Girl Scout alumnae and half drawn from the general population. The sample was chosen to be representative of the U.S. population in terms of race/ethnicity, household income, education, marital status, and type of residence.
Compared with non-alumnae, Girl Scout alumnae feel better about themselves, are more active as mentors and community volunteers, vote more regularly, are better educated, and enjoy higher household income. This was particularly true for women who'd been long-term Girl Scouts; those who were members for three or more years scored significantly higher in every area than alumnae who were members for a shorter time.
Approximately one in every two adult women (49 percent) in the U.S. has at some point been a member of Girl Scouts; the average length of time a girl spends in Girl Scouting is four years. There are currently an estimated 5.9 million Girl Scout alumnae in the U.S.
Researchers also found that alumnae fondly recall their Girl Scout experiences, with an average rating of 8.04, and say they have received concrete benefits from Girl Scouts (such as being exposed to nature and having a safe place to try new things), and now actively recognize the influence Girl Scouting has had on their lives. The positive effects of Girl Scouting seem particularly pronounced for women who were Girl Scouts longer, as well as for African American women.
"As Girl Scouts turns 100 years old, we couldn't ask for a better birthday present than this," said Gail McNutt, chief executive officer for Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes. "We declared 2012 as the Year of the Girl to help bring attention to girls and the value of encouraging and supporting them. To strengthen that support beyond the boundaries of Girl Scouting, we've launched ToGetHerThere, with the goal of reaching gender-balanced leadership in one generation. One kind of support we know girls need is role models-successful older women they can learn from and emulate. There is no group of women better suited to do that than our Girl Scout alumnae."
To learn more about Girl Scouting Works: The Alumnae Impact study, or to obtain a copy, visit www.girlscouts.org/research. To join the Girl Scout Alumnae Association, visit alumnae.girlscouts.org. To find out more or get involved with Girl Scouts in your community, visit www.gsnwgl.org.