Although the Girl Scout program doesn’t focus on test scores or school grades, participating in specific Girl Scout experiences may help girls become better students. The Girl Scout Research Institute study, Linking Leadership to Academic Success: The Girl Scout Difference, explores the ways Girl Scout leadership experiences contribute to girls’ academic engagement and achievement.
Discovering, Connecting, Taking Action
The Girl Scout program engages girls in three key types of leadership experiences:
- discovering themselves and their values while learning practical life skills
- connecting with others and building positive relationships
- taking action to create a better future for themselves and to uplift their communities
It is not simply what girls do in Girl Scouting, but how they engage that creates a high-quality experience. Girl Scout activities incorporate three processes that make Girl Scouting unique from other activities: girl leadership, experiential learning (i.e. learning by doing) and cooperative learning.
Through these three Girl Scout processes, girls are empowered to make decisions, share knowledge and skills in a supportive environment, and actively engage in meaningful learning and development. The Girl Scout processes, particularly cooperative and experiential learning, are associated with creating active, engaged participants and learners in and beyond Girl Scouts.
Research from Girl Scouts of the USA suggests that Girl Scout factors influence girls’ academic success as much as (and sometimes more than) non-Girl Scout factors.
The research indicates:
- Girl Scout participation has a positive impact on girls’ leadership.
- Girls who gain experience solving problems and seeking challenges in Girl Scouting are more successful in school than girls who have fewer experiences in these areas.
- Specific Girl Scout experiences, such as those involving cooperative learning and girls leading, are more beneficial than others in promoting Girl Scout outcomes that influence academic success.
How You Can Help Your Girl Scout
Talk about it. Talk with your Girl Scout what she learned during an activity or project. Ask her about how she might use that knowledge or skill in the future.