Girl Scouts today is nothing like how I remembered. Granted, I was a Scout from 1986 to 1994, and my mind is a bit fuzzy on the specifics. What I do remember was having lots of fun with my troop, going camping, learning wilderness skills, giving back to my community, and selling Girl Scout Cookies. Every year like clockwork, troops would stake out the entrance of the supermarket, selling sugary goodness. They were the dealer to your sugar high, waiting to sell you your next fix. Camping and cookies were always synonymous with Girls Scouts, also represented in the Wilderness Scouts of Troop Beverly Hills.

Although my memory is a little fuzzy on the specifics, one thing I do know is that Girl Scouting today is not like Girl Scouting during my youth. Girl Scouts have always empowered girls with courage, confidence, and character to make the world a better place. I remember a lot of domesticated badges, ones that focused on child care, home life, and hobbies. Today, however, Girl Scouts have empowered girls further with specialty badges and programs to propel their interests in areas of science, technology, digital art, mathematics, and so much more.

Girl Scouts was founded on March 12, 1912, by Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low during an era when women did not have many rights. Low’s vision of a confident, courageous girl blossoming into a leader and pillar to her community was born. Girl Scouts was chartered by Congress on March 16, 1950.

Today, there are 2.6 million Girl Scouts: 1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults.

Girl Scouts are as strong as ever, leading communities around the world. The organization encourages every girl to form her own idea, opinion, beliefs, and political ideology. The modern girl is an autonomous being, that can think for herself, that’s powerful, and a leader. Girls are taught to lead positive change through civic action. To advocate issues and ideas that are important to them. To stand up against everyday injustices, like racism, antisemitism, and xenophobia.

Each stage of Girl Scouts, from Daisy to Ambassador, focuses on nature, digital art, science and technology, innovation, and financial literacy. This is an essential skill set for any emerging leader in the modern world. Studies have shown that girls who participate in Girl Scouts have better leadership skills, improve academically, are more likely to give back to their community, and pursue their goals.

Support your local Girl Scouts with a donation or your time. They’re always looking for volunteers. You’ll make new friends and build your confidence and leadership skills.