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Girl Scouts of the USA - Advocacy News
Girl Scouts FIRST LEGO League Team Takes Part in White House Science Fair
April 22, 2013 – Two Girl Scouts, Catherine and Summer, and troop leader Susannah Rousculp represented their FIRST LEGO League Team known as the Atomic Flying Pickles, from the Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails Council, at the White House Science Fair. The team was selected to exhibit their evaporative cooling headband for seniors by the White House Office on Science and Technology.
The girls presented their project along with one of their robots at the fair, which President Obama hosted to celebrate student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country.
"We're delighted that the girls' exploration into STEM has brought them all the way to the White House Science Fair. We believe each of the young ladies is a wonderful example of future leaders who have the potential to change the world for the better. This is what happens when a community invests in a girl; when we invest in a girl we invest in our future," said Peggy Sanchez Mills, Chief Executive Officer of the Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails.
"I am so excited and honored to be going to the White House and to be able to meet other students from around our country doing STEM related projects," said Catherine. "I think this will be a great experience for me and my teammate. It's great to be representing Girl Scouts and to be sharing all the new STEM activities we are doing. My team and I won the state FLL Champion's Award for inspiring others about the excitement of science, and I hope that other girls will be encouraged to see how fun STEM activities can be."
White House conference on Girls' Leadership and Civic Education
April 22, 2013 – The White House, the U.S. Department of Education, and Rutgers University's Center for American Women and Politics held a conference on Girls' Leadership and Civic Education. During this working conference, panels of distinguished speakers explored the nature of this gender gap and highlighted best practices in civic education and how best to address it in our schools, youth serving organizations, media and elsewhere.
Lidia Soto Harmon, CEO from the Girl Scout council of the Nation's Capital served as a panelist to discuss how Girl Scouts develops leaders and engages girls in civic participation. The conference was kicked off by Tina Tchen, Chief of Staff to the First Lady and Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls. The conference included scholars, public officials, leaders of youth-serving organizations, media experts, business leaders, educators, young leaders, for a lively series of panels, speakers and discussions.
Girl Scouts of the USA Joins Other Non-Profits to Protect Charitable Giving
April 10, 2013 – Girl Scouts joined with a national coalition of public charities and foundations asking President Obama to reconsider his budget proposal to limit the value of itemized deductions for charitable contributions. Girl Scouts urged the Administration to maintain the current charitable deduction and reconsider the FY 2014 Budget proposal released today that would limit this powerful giving incentive that supports our communities. Read the Charitable Giving Coalition letter (PDF).
Girl Scouts Supports Charities Receive the Same Pension Rules as Corporate America
April 9, 2013 –Girl Scouts shared comments with Congress that certain pension funding rules are impeding our mission. On behalf of the 112 local, non-profit councils, our members and alumnae, Anna Maria Chávez, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of the USA, urged Congress to apply the same pension funding rules to us that currently apply to taxable, for-profit companies. Without this relief as a multi-employer pension plan, our ability to continue funding vital programs, offer opportunities to at-risk girls, and retain staff and develop volunteers is threatened. We ask Congress that this be changed. Girl Scouts submitted this public statement to be included in a report requested by the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee on changes to the tax rules of charities and pension plans. Read the Congressional Statement (PDF)
February 2013 Leadership Breakfast on Capitol Hill
February 28, 2013 — Girl Scouts of the USA CEO, Anna Maria Chávez, and seventeen of Girl Scouts Gold Award recipients from around the country joined Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios, Congressman Jack Kingston, Girl Scout's Honorary Troop Capitol Hill Co-chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and more than 100 other leaders on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on February 28th to celebrate women's leadership and the second century of Girl Scouting.
Girl Scouts of the USA CEO, Anna Maria Chávez and Treasurer of the United States, Rosie Rios.
The leadership breakfast brought together outstanding women and men from the public and private sectors as well as members of Congress. Among these members were Congressmen Glenn Thompson, John Delaney, Doug Lamborn, Buck McKeon, Donald Payne Jr., and members of Girl Scout's Honorary Troop Capitol Hill, a bipartisan delegation comprised of all women members of Congress. The Girl Scout's Honorary Troop Capitol Hill members in attendance were Congresswomen Betty McCollum, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Susan Brooks, Cheri Bustos, Lois Frankel, Ann Kirkpatrick, Grace Meng, and Dina Titus.
Girl Scout's Honorary Troop Capitol Hill was established by Girl Scouts of the USA to educate Congress about issues affecting girls and young women. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Kay Granger of Texas and Senators Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Susan Collins of Maine serve as Co-chairs of Girl Scout's Honorary Troop Capitol Hill. This honorary troop has assisted Girl Scouts of the USA in an impressive array of activities including sponsoring special events to introduce more members of Congress to the benefits of Girl Scouting, developing policy ideas and holding congressional briefings to address key issues facing girls and young women, and identifying funding opportunities to support these issues. As members of Girl Scout's Honorary Troop Capitol Hill, women members of Congress are active participants in our local Girl Scouts councils, helping Girl Scouts expand programs and reach more girls across the nation, especially in traditionally underserved communities.
At the event, women members of Congress were welcomed into Girl Scout's Honorary Troop Capitol Hill by reciting the Girl Scouts Promise and Law led by Anna Maria Chávez. As the Co-Chair of Girl Scout's Honorary Troop Capitol Hill, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz recounted her role as a Girl Scouts troop leader. She emphasized the importance of Girl Scouts STEM and Financial Literacy programs and their significant impact on her daughters who were both girl scouts.
Another key feature of the event was the recognition of Girl Scout Gold Award recipients and five of the 2013 National Young Women of Distinction. Both recognitions require significant planning and project management within their communities, and are awarded at the Girl Scout Senior and Girl Scout Ambassador levels.
Finally, the leadership breakfast launched the celebration of the 2013 Girl Scouts of the USA Centennial Silver Dollar. Girl Scouts of the USA will complete its centennial year on March 12, 2013 marking over 100 years of building girl leadership. The coin went on sale on February 28th and is available through the United States Mint and in select Girl Scout council shops nationwide. For information on the coin, visit www.girlscouts.org/coin or www.usmint.gov, or dial 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).
Young Woman of Distinction Travels to Washington, D.C. to Meet with Congressional Leaders
February 28, 2013 — Zoë Gadegbeku, a Gold Award recipient from Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, traveled to Washington, D.C. to be honored at a Girl Scouts leadership breakfast on Capitol Hill. As a Young Woman of Distinction, Zoë joined Girl Scouts of the USA CEO, Anna Maria Chávez, Treasurer of the United States, Rosie Rios, Girl Scout's Honorary Troop Capitol Hill Co-Chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Representative Jack Kingston from Georgia as a speaker to highlight her Gold Award project. In her remarks at the event, Zoë told the audience about the benefits of Girl Scouting and attaining the Gold Award. After the event, Zoë joined her council's CEO, Marilyn Midyette, on Capitol Hill to meet with their Congressional leaders, Representatives John Lewis, Phil Gingery, Rob Woodall, Tom Price and Senators John Isakson and Saxby Chambliss to emphasize the important work their Girl Scout Council does for girls everyday in their communities and to highlight the organization's work around STEM, Financial Literacy, Healthy Living, and the Gold Award.
Girl Scouts of the USA Joins Other Non-Profits to Support Charitable Giving
February 14, 2013 – Girl Scouts proudly added their voice with a national coalition of public charities, foundations, and corporate giving programs at a Congressional hearing on proposals to cap the itemized deduction for charitable contributions. In testimony offered by Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, we supported preserving the deduction for charitable giving and expressed opposition to limiting the value of these deductions. In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, nonprofit organizations still struggle to meet increased demand and raise the necessary funds for critical services, and these proposals would reduce the incentive for giving to charities. Instead, Girl Scouts support public policies that help non-profits recruit and retain volunteers, incentivize charitable giving, and other activities that help us achieve our mission. Read the Congressional testimony (PDF).
Learn more about Girl Scouts of the USA's advocacy efforts in these stories: