Girl Scouts has proud heritage of serving girls across Alaska

COMPASS: Other points of view

By ANNA BRYANTMarch 9, 2012 

On March 12, Girl Scouts of the USA celebrates 100 years of Girl Scouting. With a membership of over 3.2 million, Girl Scouts of the USA supports 2.3 million girl members and 890,000 adults.

More than 50 million women in the U.S. today are Girl Scout alumnae.

A lone Girl Scout troop first met in Anchorage in 1926, but it wasn't until 1947 that Girl Scouts of the USA granted a council charter to the Anchorage Girl Scouts. As troops became active outside the Anchorage bowl in 1951, the name was changed to Susitna Girl Scout Council.

Today there are two councils in Alaska -- the Farthest North Council, which serves Fairbanks and Northern Alaska communities, and Girl Scouts of Alaska, which serves all girls south of the 63rd parallel in Southcentral, Southeast and Southwest Alaska including the Aleutian Islands.

Girl Scouts is the largest girl-serving organization in the United States and in Alaska reflects a rich diversity. We are urban, rural and remote with 37 percent of all girl members living off the road system. Girl Scouts of Alaska serves more than 6,000 girls ages 5-17 in 90-plus communities. More than 1,500 adult volunteers reside within the Girl Scouts of Alaska council as well.

Because girls no longer have to be in a troop to participate in Girl Scouts, the program is available and accessible to any girl in Alaska who wants to join. We have different pathways for girls to participate in.

The Camp Pathway is for girls who participate in day or resident camps, and the Event Pathway is for girls who participate in events such as Women of Science, Women of the Arts, Outdoor Survival Skills and Robotics events

The Series Pathway allows girls to participate as a group in a series of sessions relating to a specific theme or purpose. The Travel Pathway helps girls participate in leadership and crosscultural opportunities through in-state, national and international travel. This year Girl Scouts of Alaska will send girls around the state and country, and to Hokkaido, Japan.

The Troop Pathway endures for girls who can meet regularly during the school year with the same group of girls to engage in volunteer-led high-quality programs that support learning, relationship building and fun.

Soon there will be a Virtual Pathway for girls to participate in programs activities in a safe and secure online environment.

This week girls and adults around the country will celebrate in many ways the birthday of the founding of the Girl Scout organization by Juliette Gordon Low. In Alaska, current Girl Scouts and Girl Scout alumnae will attend campfires celebrating the centennial.

For more information about what is happening to mark this historic event in your town, please visit the 100th anniversary section of the Girl Scouts of Alaska website at www. Here you will find information for girls, teens and adults who are interested in being involved in the Scouting movement.

There are lots of ways to volunteer with Girl Scouts. By giving your time, energy and talent you can help to bring the Girl Scout Leadership experience to girls across Alaska. Please take a minute to wish the Girl Scouts in your life a happy birthday this week. Chances are most women you know are or have been involved in Girl Scouts, and quite a few men too.

Sixty percent of women in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives are former Girl Scouts. Fifty-three percent of all women business owners are former Girl Scouts. Seventy-six percent of alumnae report that Girl Scouts had a positive impact on their lives.

Often, when people think of Girl Scouts, they think of the three Cs: crafts, cookies and camp. The Girl Scout mission statement includes the three Cs we would like people to think of when they think of Girl Scouts: Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.

Anna Bryant is a board member of the Girl Scouts of Alaska, a winner of the Girl Scouts Gold Award and has three nieces currently involved in the Scouts.

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