It is a common misconception that Girl Scouts is an organization for little girls to socialize, earn badges, and sell the famous Girl Scout cookies. However, this view really underestimates the strong values behind the mission of Girl Scouts. It provides girls, starting from a young age, a safe space to learn and grow. Girls are encouraged to step out of their comfort zone, build global awareness, and acquire skills such as leadership and teamwork. It is so important to empower girls and give them the tools necessary to be successful leaders and change makers.

It is the misconceptions about Girl Scouting that create a stigma around upper level Girl Scouts. It is often seen as "uncool" or "lame" if a girl participates in the organization in middle school or high school. I would like to challenge this social norm and say that more girls should be encouraged to pursue Girl Scouts in the higher levels. I was lucky enough to receive this encouragement and persevered throughout high school to achieve the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn: the Gold Award. This award holds girls to rigorous national standards and requires them to become leaders in their own communities as they lead a team to identify a problem and offer sustainable solutions. This journey was the most rewarding journey I have ever embarked on, and I hope other girls will do the same. Right now, only 5% of Girl Scouts receive their Gold Award and there is no reason this number shouldn't be higher! Dispelling the social stigma surrounding upper level Girl Scouts and what it means to be a Girl Scout in general is an important step to increasing this number.

Throughout the levels of Girl Scouts, girls are challenged to be risk takers, go-getters, and leaders. I think it is so important to empower young girls to embody these values, and Girl Scouts is an awesome organization to build the foundations of these skills! It is so much more than selling cookies and going camping; it is about acquiring life skills and making a meaningful impact in the world.