Girl Scout programs benefit girls’ mental health

To the Editor:

At Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, we’re deeply concerned about mental health issues girls are experiencing. According to recent data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the share of children struggling to make it through the day rose nearly 26% — from 9.4% (5.8 million kids) in 2016 to 11.8% (7.3 million kids) in 2020.

As children struggle with anxiety and depression, Girl Scouts offers much-needed support.

Programs provide a sense of belonging and embrace the value of mental wellness. Trying new things, exploring the outdoors, having strong social connections, and having activities to look forward to – these are key components of improving mental health.

In Girl Scouts, girls find the skills, resources and community to develop a strong sense of self. They build healthy, supportive relationships by connecting with peers and adults.

As they progress through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, Girl Scouts discover their values and strengths. They claim their power as they learn ways to take action to make a difference in their community and their world.

Girl Scout Research Institute found that girls in Girl Scouts develop skills and confidence.

Girl Scouts of all ages learn the importance of persevering through adversity. With each new challenge, they learn how to handle both success and failure, building the resilience and courage so crucial to meeting daily challenges.

In doing so, girls learn healthy ways of coping with difficulties. Girls grow their perseverance, self-esteem, and sociability, leading to lower rates of depression, aggression and obesity, as well as greater life satisfaction. When youth master these life skills early on, the benefits are lifelong!

Encourage the girls in your life to join Girl Scouts. Girls in grades K-12 can join at any time; many troops are forming now. Adult volunteers also have a special role to play, guiding and supporting girls as they explore their dreams and ambitions. Training and resources are provided.

Help girls bolster their well-being and foster lifelong skills for success while enjoying the fun and friendship of Girl Scouting. Visit gswo.org for more information.

Roni Luckenbill

CEO, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio