Fall is synonymous with leaves changing, pumpkin spice everything, and of course, thin mints. Because it’s Girl Scout Cookie Time!

The Girl Scout Cookie program provides an opportunity to learn by doing as girls immerse themselves and develop their own mini business. The hope? Scouts will have confidence to build a career, negotiate their salaries, launch their own business, or balance a budget because they’ve had experience in the cookie [business] trenches.

But financial literacy through the scouting program goes beyond cookie sales. Girl Scouts aims to give girls “solid money smarts that will last [them] a lifetime.”

A key example? Girl Scout Troop 476 of Central Maryland — who did more than just hone their own finance skills through the program; they aimed to teach others. To earn their Girl Scout Silver Award, the troop developed an Empowerment Symposium for local middle school and high school age girls.

Even (cool)er? The symposium provided a forum to speak with female professionals. Girls had an opportunity to explore various financial careers, understand how to budget, learn about the importance of savings, and hear about why individuals need to make wise financial choices.

After a very successful local event, the next step was to create an annual conference for girls across Central Maryland. Troop 476 worked with staff at Girl Scouts of Central Maryland to apply for a grant made possible by Girl Scouts of the USA and Toyota Financial Services. In accordance with the grant, the project needed to employ strong financial strategies that help educate and benefit underserved communities. Troop 476 decided to apply for funding to host their second Empowerment Symposium in the Meade Middle/High School district. This school zone is home to four Title 1 schools, all of which feed into Meade High School. Title 1 schools have a student population where at least 40% come from low-income families.

Girl Scouts Toyota Financial - Image by Girl Scouts of Central Maryland Girl Scouts Toyota Financial - Image by Girl Scouts of Central Maryland Girl Scouts Toyota Financial - Image by Girl Scouts of Central Maryland

“One of the goals is to provide resources for the young ladies in this underserved community that will empower them to financially be prepared for college,” wrote Troop 476 in their grant application. “In addition, we would provide leaders who can teach the girls how to budget their money, how to save, how to spend their money wisely and possibly even steer them in careers where they can help the community that they live in.”

Not surprisingly, the Troop’s project was funded. The 2nd Annual Empowerment Symposium was held at I5 City Church in Glen Burnie with 81 girls in attendance (with 160 in attendance overall!). The line-up of speakers that the Troop put together was impressive. Speakers included: Kashonna Holland, a corporate trainer, motivational speaker and CEO of Simply Kashonna; Takia Ross, professional make-up artist and mobile make-up studio owner; Adreeahna Bree, CEO, author blogger, fitness instructor and self-esteem coach; and Meredith Smith, Pardon Attorney, Department of Justice. All speakers touched on topics of confidence in being an entrepreneur, the importance of saving and budgeting, and how to make wise financial decisions that will prepare the girls for college and beyond.

Perhaps Girl Scouts should consider changing it’s motto from “learn by doing” to “empower by doing?” Kudos to Troop 476 for sharing their knowledge and empowering other young women!

 

This article is sponsored by Girl Scouts of Central Maryland in partnership with Toyota Financial Services. Located at 4806 Seton Drive, Baltimore, MD, 21215, Girl Scouts of Central Maryland was established in 1962 and serves 24,000 girls in 2,000 troops and groups in Baltimore City, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties with the help of nearly 9,000 dedicated and committed adult volunteers. Girl Scouts of the USA and Girl Scouts of Central Maryland value diversity and inclusiveness and do not discriminate or recruit on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, national origin, or physical or developmental disability.  Their goal is to create a safe place for all girls to explore, learn new skills, challenge themselves, make new friends and have fun!

Images provided by Girl Scouts of Central Maryland.