Thursday, April 13, 2017

5 Ways to Build Confidence in Girls

Girl Scouts is on a mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. The world has changed a lot since our founding in 1912, but so have we. Today's Girl Scout is bolder, stronger and more capable than ever! Girl Scouts still stands as the largest girl-ran organization in the world, and is the organization best positioned to help girls develop important leadership skills they need to become successful.

Over the years, we've discovered five key outcomes to build confidence and raise girls to be leaders. Here are the five most important things girls must develop to find their inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader)™:

1. Strong Sense of Self

When girls have confidence in themselves and their abilities they'll form positive identities. Girls who develop traits like strong self-esteem have lower rates of obesity, depression, aggression and show greater life satisfaction and well-being than those who do not develop a strong sense of self (OECD, 2015. Skills for Social Progress: The Power of Social and Emotional Skills).

2. Positive Values

Girls who act ethically, honestly, and responsibly and show concern for others tend to fair better as adults. Kindergartners who learn how to share, cooperate with others and be helpful are more likely to have college degree and a job 20 years later than youth who lack these social skills (Jones, Greenberg & Crowley, 2015. Early Social-Emotional Functioning and Public Health).

3. Challenge Seeking

Girls who take appropriate risks and try new things will never really fail. They may make mistakes and fall down, but the lessons they'll learn far outweigh any momentary setback. Girls who are not challenge seekers—who tend to “avoid doing things that are hard for me”—are less likely to feel scholastically competent and academically engaged (Girl Scout Research Institute, 2012. Linking Leadership to Academic Success: The Girl Scout Difference).

4. Healthy Relationships

When girls have healthy peer relationships they not only learn to communicate their feelings directly and resolve conflict constructively, but they learn who they are in the context of different problems. By training girls to be leaders in programs such as the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, Leadership Journeys, girls developed healthy relationships, cooperation and resourceful problem solving (The Girl Scout Leadership Experience: Delivering Fun with Purpose, 2014).

5. Community Problem Solving

The desire to contribute to the world in purposeful and meaningful ways is a key area of focus for all Girl Scout programming. When a girl desires to learn about, and knows how to identify and work towards solving problems in their communities, they're doing more than learning that it feels good to give back, they're learning to "action plan", which will help them with future employers.

Why do these five outcomes matter?

When girls exhibit these attitudes and skills, they become responsible, productive, caring and engaged citizens. But don't take our word for it! Studies show that the development of attitudes, behaviors and skills like confidence, conflict resolution and problem solving are critical to well-being and rival academic and technical skills in their capacity to predict long-term positive outcomes (Child Trends, 2015. Key "Soft Skills" that Foster Youth Workforce Success).

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