New Girl Scout Program coming soon

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 1, 2004

There’s a new Girl Scout program designed for 21st century girls that’s coming to Dallas County very soon.

“The most exciting new program that Girl Scouts has to offer is called ‘Studio 2B,'” said Kristi Lashley, communications manager for Montgomery-based Girl Scouts of South Central Alabama, in a recent interview.

A pilot program has been completed and Girl Scouts are ready to role out the program locally, Lashley said.

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“It’s something the girls came up with on their own and it’s really taking off nationwide,” added Felicia Tyus, director of membership and marketing.

“The girls chose the name ‘Studio 2B’ themselves because they thought it sounded cool and like a place they wanted to be,” Lashley said, herself a former Girl Scout whose mother was her Girl Scout leader.

Lashley said that in the new program for girls ages 11-17, which is different from the traditional Girl Scout troop program that continues, the girls decide on their own programs. It is totally girl-driven. The Girl Scout “leader” becomes the “advisor.”

Tyus said that activities chosen during the pilot phase included such things as career exploration activities and education, how to handle personal finances, make-up and activities related to personal appearance and grooming.

“Today’s girls seem to be more interested in real-life things,” said Lashley. “They are thinking about the future more than ever and about life goals and planning ahead,” she added.

“They want to keep up with what’s going on in society,” she said.

“The future for Girl Scouts is very bright,” said Tyus. “The sun is shining. The national Girl Scout organization has worked hard to keep up with the changes in the world and girls’ lives. The core values, of course, remain, such as community service, traditional values, responsibility to the community and to the environment, respect, but the face of the Girl Scout program has changed significantly,” she said.

“Our newer programs are designed to go where the girls are,” said Lashley. “For example, we have an in-school program in three Selma and Dallas County schools – Keith High School, Five Points Elementary and Payne Elementary – with a total of 80 girls enrolled. They meet 45 minutes twice each month and the focus is on character education and personal development skills,” she said.

Another newer program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, targets rural girls in six West Alabama counties, including Dallas, Tyus said.

In fact, the growth in the total number girls participating in Girl Scouts in Dallas County this past year resulted from the creation of a new group under this program with 40 girls. It is headed by a program specialist and a class is held weekly during the school year. It, too, focuses on character education and involves traditional Girl Scout programs such as camping trips.

While the traditional Girl Scout groups are age specific, the rural outreach program is for mixed ages.

Girl Scouts is the world’s pre-eminent organization dedicated solely to girls, according to official Girl Scout materials. Its aims are to help girls build character and skills for success in the real world in the context of a nurturing environment. Key elements of all Girl Scout programs include values building, character development, social responsibility and the development of decision-making skills.

Selma and Dallas County Girl Scouts are part of the Girl Scouts of South Central Alabama Council, with more than 1,500 adult leaders and 11,000 girls in Daisy Girl Scouts (Pre-K-Grade 1), Brownie Girl Scouts (Grades 1-3), Junior Girl Scouts (Grades 3-6), and Studio 2B Girl Scouts (Grades 6-12).

Nationally, Girl Scouts was founded in 1912 in Savannah, Ga. Today more than 300 councils across the nation serve more than 2.7 million girls from pre-K through Grade 12.

In Dallas County in 2003, there were 473 girls in 32 troops/groups, an 8 percent or 34-girl increase over the previous year, according to figures provided by the council office in Montgomery.

In the year 2004 numbers are expected to increase an additional 3 percent or more with the addition of the group for rural girls.

“We are extremely grateful for the United Way contribution to the Girl Scout program in Dallas County,” said Tyus. “Without it many of our programs would not be possible and it also assists girls who would not otherwise have the necessary funds to participate fully in the program,” she said.