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Redefining What It Means to be a Girl Scout

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April 8, 2010

PHOENIX - As the Girl Scouts of the USA approaches its 100th year, the organization is increasingly concentrating on helping girls develop leadership skills. The Girl Scouts have been emphasizing the newer concept over the past five years to help girls find and nurture their own strengths.

Tamara Woodbury, executive director of Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, says it's an approach that is greatly needed.

"A lot of the potential that girls and women can bring into the economy, and into the workplace, has been squandered because we have not focused as a society on the qualities they often bring in leadership."

Woodbury says girls often have a different view of leadership than boys, who typically interpret leadership in the context of winning and losing.

"Girls don't like anyone to lose. Girls have much more interest in collaboration, in building communities of cooperation, and they are not attracted to authoritative kinds of leadership as much as boys are."

The new Girl Scout emphasis comes as the result of extensive research, says Woodbury, demonstrating girls value those leadership qualities that inspire others to make changes and take actions as a community to make people's lives better.

The Arizona Cactus-Pine Council currently includes 26,000 Girl Scouts and more than 9,000 adult volunteers, both men and women, many of whom play a key role in the leadership initiative.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ