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More Than S'mores: Successes and Surprises in Girl Scouts' Outdoor Experiences
By Kallen Tsikalas, PhD, Senior Research Lead and Sabrica Barnett, PhD, Senior Researcher (New York, N.Y.: Girl Scouts of the USA, 2014).
More Than S'mores: Successes and Surprises in Girl Scouts' Outdoor Experiences describes findings from a 2012 national study of fourth through eighth grade Girl Scouts (Juniors and Cadettes). The report explores two basic questions: How and how much are girls getting outside in Girl Scouts? And what difference do these outdoor experiences make? Among key findings of the study are that girls' outdoor experiences in Girl Scouts are positively linked to their challenge seeking, problem solving, and environmental leadership. Additionally, when girls get outdoors on a monthly basis in Girl Scouts, doing even casual outdoor activities, they are much more likely to agree that they've learned to recognize their strengths, to do something they thought they couldn't do, and to gain skills that will help them do better in school.
The Girl Scout Cookie Program: Teaching Essential Skills for a Lifetime
By Milagros Benítez, MEd, Senior Researcher & Sabrica Barnett, MA, Project Research Analyst (New York, N.Y.: Girl Scouts of the USA, 2012). (Summary of key findings.)
The Girl Scout Cookie Program: Teaching Essential Skills for a Lifetime presents findings from a 2012 pilot study of 1,417 Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts (second to fifth graders). The study examined the benefits of the Cookie Program, the largest girl-run business in the world, specifically around the 5 essential skills the program help girls develop: goal setting, money management, people skills, decision-making, and business ethics. The findings show how the Cookie Program activities and processes empower girls to become successful cookie entrepreneurs while gaining valuable and transferable skills that can last them a lifetime.
Linking Leadership to Academic Success: The Girl Scout Difference
By Kallen Tsikalas, PhD, Senior Researcher & Sabrica Barnett, MA, Project Research Analyst (New York, N.Y.: Girl Scouts of the USA, 2012). (Research report and Research to Action Tip Sheets.)
Linking Leadership to Academic Success: The Girl Scout Difference presents findings from a 2011 national study of nearly 3,000 fourth through eighth grade Girl Scouts (Juniors and Cadettes). The findings show how Girl Scouting supports academic engagement and achievement, with an emphasis on the role of Girl Scout processes and leadership outcomes in helping girls succeed in school. The findings also reveal that, in some cases, Girl Scout programming has greater benefits for lower-SES girls, those whose mothers have less than a college education. A set of Research to Action Tip Sheets accompanies the report, highlighting how results may be used to enhance program delivery, volunteer development, membership growth and fund raising.
Mapping the Girl Scout Leadership Experience Outcomes to the Search Institute's Youth Developmental Assets.
The Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) sets forth a bold and aspirational model of leadership that encourages girls to Discover, Connect, and Take Action to make their world a better place. The GSLE framework specifies 15 outcomes – behaviors, attitudes, skills and values – that develop girls of courage, confidence and character.
This toolkit, Mapping the Girl Scout Leadership Experience Outcomes to the Search Institute's Youth Developmental Assets, summarizes and explains the links between the 15 GSLE outcomes and the Search Institute's 40 Developmental Assets. The Search Institute's framework, which provides a comprehensive guide to the overall supports required for positive and healthy youth development, is widely used in community, youth development, and philanthropic organizations.
By establishing the links between Girl Scout outcomes and Developmental Assets, this toolkit allows users to speak in a more common language and to identify broader connections between Girl Scout programming and the goals of funders and other community partners that use the Search Institute's Assets framework.
As Girl Scouting moves into the new millennium it brings with it a renewed focus on leadership with its New Leadership Experience for girls. This new model of leadership is one which reflects the leadership definitions and aspirations of girls today. It is also one which requires on-going, comprehensive efforts to measure the impact of the New Leadership Experience, determine modifications as needed, and communicate to all of our audiences how girls are benefiting from Girl Scouting.
This seminal body of work surrounding the new model stands on a strong tradition of outcomes evaluation in Girl Scouting. While reflective of some of the outcomes measured across the previous decade, it incorporates many more—15 in all—through its Discover-Connect-Take Action framework and brings to the fore how Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character in this new age.
Our outcomes measurement studies of the past have assessed the impact of the Girl Scout program nationally, locally, and with specific initiatives. The below publications and tool kits have provided local Girl Scout councils with instruments for measuring the outcomes of the Girl Scout experience—sports, group, and resident camping—over the last decade. They have helped answer the question, Is Girl Scouting really making a difference?
These publications continue to be valuable tools for organizations in the youth sports, youth development, and resident camping fields.
To order print copies of these publications, email the Girl Scout Research Institute or call (800) GSUSA 4 U.