Friday, July 31, 2009

The More Things Change by Guest Blogger, Adina Genn

Recently I received a mailing from a nearby friend about buying Girl Scout cookies, and I had to pause. No, not over the fact that soon I’d soon have some yummy Thin Mints to munch. Instead, I marveled over the realization that Girl Scouts of Nassau County is now in its 97th year. Nearly a century later – in a post-feminist world, no less – the Girl Scouts of Nassau County is still thriving.
Ninety-seven years is a long time. And in that stretch, women have accomplished a lot: Think women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem, the first female Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, designer Vera Wang, Olympic Gold Medal Skater Dorothy Hamill, each of them Girl Scouts alumnus. You get the picture. Women are world-class leaders in virtually every field imaginable, from government to business to sports and beyond.
These days, you don’t have to look far to find inspirational trailblazers. Many moms are busy juggling rewarding careers while also running their homes. The result? Girls catch a glimpse of their owns futures, ripe also boundless opportunities. Arguably, these possibilities were not so tangible nearly a century ago, when founder Juliet Gordon started the Girl Scouting tradition as a means to build girls of courage, confidence and character. And remember, Gordon was blazing trails at a time when women still didn’t have the right to vote in the United States!
This contrast in women’s impact in the world, 100 years ago versus today, lead me to wonder: With so many women role models to emulate, is there still the need for organizations outside the home to provide leadership development for girls?
Absolutely. Sure, we still have a long way to go, with equal pay and the need for parity in other areas both nationally and abroad, still unmet. But perhaps just as important, mothers today are time-crunched in ways not largely experienced before. After all, there are only so many hours in the day to prove our worth in the workforce while also raising children to grow up with the kind of values that ultimately will enable them to make a difference in the world.
For busy moms today, Girl Scouting is a gift.  It offers leadership programs for troops, as well as for girls who on their own want to pick up new skills. There are fun outings to Citi Field and jewelry workshops where girls can design their very own creations. These are the very kinds of activities moms want their kids to experience, assuming these overcommitted parents possess the wherewithal and inclination to plan accordingly.
Many of the moms I know often wonder how they can be it all – breadwinner, chief entertainment officer, and teacher. Girl Scouts shares some of the responsibilities, with a community that seems to always be there for families, no matter what.
Women surely have come a long way in the last century. But the need for community never goes away. Funny, that with so much progress, some things never change. 
ADINA GENN is an award-winning journalist recognized with several press club awards for her news and feature work. She is the co-author of “Everything I Know About Business I Learned at McDonald’s: The 7 Leadership Principles that Drive Break Out Success” “So, You Want to Franchise Your Business” and “The Everything Fundraising Book.” In April 2007, she was named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Journalist of the Year. 

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