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I am a Senior GirlScout and am looking for ideas for my gold award. I am deeply commited to both GirlScouts and women's issues; I feel that GirlScouts has the capability to become the optimum training for the next generation's female leaders. However, GirlScouts still retains the image of sewing, singing, and smiling little girls -- not to mention the cookies. My ideal gold award would be to completely redue the GirlScouts advertising campaign, and the goals of the organization. While I know that the latter is not possible, I feel half the battle of empowering women and girls is the public's attitude. I am seeking ideas and possible direction on who I should talk to to complete my, well, very ambitious project. Any help is very welcome! Thank you, Alice

Radicalizing the Girl Scouts is going to be quite a task, but Barbie survived her make-overs, perhaps the Girl Scouts can learn from her example. (I'm mostly referring to Barbie's most recent ad campaign, which featured girls of all races and ethnicities in photos being free with the motto: "Be Anything." Implying that all types of girls play with Barbie--be who you are and play with Barbie. It seems like the Girl Scouts needs a similiar make-over--all types of girls are Girl Scouts and it needs to own up to that.

I'm constantly amazed at how many women were once Girl Scouts, including myself--though I was really only a Girl Scout for a short-time, but a very dedicated Brownie. Even more amazing is what these one-time Girl Scouts grow up to be---Anything and Everything.

Perhaps there is a way to remake the image by revisiting the reality: Even though Girl Scouts may try to mold girls at a certain age to be a certain type of person, the reality is that these one time Girl Scouts grow up to be their own person. What the Girl Scouts instill in them enough self-esteem to be able to do that. Therefore, I think that a great way to start an image make-over is to look at women who used to be Girl Scouts--try people like Uma Thurman, Marlo Thomas, etc.....Also, one great Girl Scout story I recently heard was about a new badge with was for those girls who fought domestic violence. It came out of a troop in Pennsylvania or West Virginia or something like that, but the depressing news is that I later heard that this badge was revoked or that it never got off the ground. But more ideas like this--i.e. turning girls into young activists rather than young homemakers. For example, I know of some non-Girl Scout girls who have collected cellular phones in their communities and then donated them to local battered women's shelters so women could be protected. (The phones were reissued for free.) I also know of lots of girls who are avid recyclers and most recently I know of many girls who are troubled by what is happening to women and girls in Afghanistan and, therefore, want to change it. These are only a few indications that girls want to be activists and make a difference rather than make a pie. Can you use that to fuel some changes?

Also, how about partnering with Girls, Inc, or some other group that is a little less steeped in such a long history.

Now, I feel like I am rambling. Did any of that help? I hope so, but please feel free to write back again.



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