By: Cristy Clavijo-Kish
When Katherine and I heard that the new Girl Scouts of the USA CEO was a Latina- we can honestly report our excitement. We have been active Girl Scout Troop Leaders in South Florida for 4 years now since our girls started Kindergarten as Daisies. Convincing some of our Latina school moms to have their daughters (and themselves) join our troop was quite the initial challenge. There was mucho misperceptions and assumptions regarding the organization that we had to address and there is mucho sensitivity around the issue of camping that remains today among our troop moms. That said, we have forged forward and today we lead our Juniors (how did that happen??) troop through earning ‘journeys’ and badges that enable them to grow as confident girls trying to help others along the way.
The opportunity presented itself to meet Anna Maria in person during her recent fundraising and community visit to our South Florida council. Katherine and I heard first hand the plans for 2012- most noteworthy the Girl Scout Centennial- and the launch of The Year of the Girl” with a fully translated website dedicated to the initiative “El Año de la Niña.” Diversity, inclusion, serving girls globally and embracing change and social media are all at the core of this program.
The new fully translated website, hones in on demystifying the organization among Latina mothers and volunteers that may not fully understand the opportunities being an active Girl Scout and troop leader can present for mothers, daughters and women interested in supporting the organization.
We’re motivated by the news and are eager to do our part to bring Girl Scout programs to any girl who desires to participate. Do you know that it costs only $12 to sponsor a girl for a year of scouting? But we need more volunteers! Ùnete y Ayuda a las Girl Scouts! Check out how you can help.
Below is a short video from our interview specifically addressing how the organization is working to reach its core audiences- the girls themselves (mostly tweens!) and current and potential adult volunteers.
Here are a few questions that we posed to Anna Maria. Additionally, scroll down to see a special message she sends all of our girls and potential voluteers out there. Please do your part to help a girl achieve her dreams with confidence!
Q: How does the new program “ToGetHerThere” via The Year of the Girl theme reach girls of all cultures and racial backgrounds?
The ability to have confidence in oneself to achieve a goal—to lead—is essential for all girls. Girls are capable of accomplishing great things—of changing the world—far earlier than most people can imagine. Yet too many girls opt out of such things as careers in math and science because they lack the supportive environments and the role models. We in Girl Scouts know girls can change the world if you give them the opportunities to take the lead. So we have to support all girls and give them a platform to lead.
Q: How can new volunteers help our young women, especially Latinas and other ethnic groups support our young girls so they become our strong future leaders?
Three in five girls think that women can rise in a company or organization, but will only rarely get promoted to the top post. If we look at the facts, they are right. Women run just 3% of Fortune 500 companies and account for 16% of all board directors. We have to ask ourselves, why is it that leadership is not balanced now? The most important thing older women, especially Latinas and other ethnic groups, can do is be positive role models and mentors for girls. We have to get rid of the negative influences that surround our girls, from peer pressure to unhealthy images of women in the media in order for them to feel comfortable taking on leadership roles.
As a mother of twin tweens in 2011 and an active Girl Scout Troop leader, Cristy realized there was a need to develop bilingual digital content and foster a community facing the challenges of raising kids after first grade. That year she founded and remains co-Publisher of Los Tweens & Teens, to support multicultural parents and mentors with content related to raising Gen Z- tweens & teens ages 7-18. Through the Los Tweens & Teens LIVE events such as Teens & Me – the growing team aims to provide our community with essential resources from chats with therapists to battle anxiety and bullying, to understanding social media and technology.
A New Jersey native of Cuban decent, Cristy is a board member of Amigos For Kids – a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing child abuse in the South Florida community. She is a teenage cancer survivor and speaks nationally at conferences and volunteers with cancer-awareness organizations such as St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of South Florida.