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Youth Program Quality

Youth Program Quality

As a Girl Scout volunteer, we know you're committed to having the biggest possible positive impact on girls! Whether you want to hone your leadership skills or get more experience with conflict resolution, we're here to help you grow.

One area we're especially focused on is helping you create an awesome Girl Scout experience for your girls. In other words, we can help support you with Youth Program Quality (YPQ).

What is Youth Program Quality?
Research has shown that taking certain actions—like creating safe spaces and encouraging girl leadership—boosts girls' engagement and helps girls get more about of Girl Scouting. These actions can be grouped into nine major YPQ topics, including:

The more you know about each of the YQP topics, the better mentor you can be for your girls. 


We’ve all been anxious coming into a group of people we didn’t know. Or have felt left out because others formed a clique. We didn’t speak up because our voice wasn’t welcome. At those times, did you participate enthusiastically, or want to come back for more? Not likely!

Girl Scouts talk about sisterhood a lot and you know it’s important, but how can you create those feelings of comfort and fitting in? 

What is Belonging?
Create opportunities for girls to get to know each other.

Why does it matter?
Research shows a need for youth to be able to participate in activities where they feel safe and welcome.

How can I foster a sense of Belonging?


During your troop meetings and outings, allow time for group work! This can be small groups, pairs, or groups of three.


At the beginning of each session, make time for fun activities where girls get to know each other.


Ice breakers are an easy way to create belonging in your group! See below for a list of awesome and fun icebreakers.

Belonging Resources

  • Belonging Activity Ideas - coming soon!
Girl Led

You’ve seen that young girl who has given a speech in front of a large crowd, or the one who is brave enough to voice her own opinion in a small discussion. Girl Led includes these big opportunities, but even little day-to-day choices—like having girls choose pick a place for a field trip or leading the Flag Ceremony and Promise and Law. 

Girl Led is one of three processes to the Girl Scout Leadership Experiences, but how can you create those experiences for girls to lead and make choices about what they do? 

What is Girl Led?
Girl Led activities give girls choices what they do and how they do it.

Why does it matter?
Research shows that youth benefit with opportunities for autonomy, leading to increases in a number of factors, including academic competence, motivation, persistence, and a sense of agency. Typically, some opportunities might exist for girls who are “natural leaders.” Girl led is about giving all girls the opportunity to lead in some form, where they might not otherwise have these opportunities.

How can I encourage Girl Led opportunities?


Remember that Girl Led can take many forms, including significant, formal opportunities or smaller, informal ones. 


Allow opportunities for girls to mentor one another!

Girl Led Resources

  • Girl Led Activity Ideas - coming soon!
Learning By Doing

When asked what the girls should do, Juliette Gordon Low responded "What do the girls WANT to do?"

“Every badge you earn is tied up to your motto. This badge is not a reward for something you have done once or for an examination you have passed. Badges are not medals to wear on your sleeve to show what a smart girl you are. A badge is a symbol that you have done the thing it stands for often enough, thoroughly enough, and well enough to BE PREPARED to give service in it. You wear the badge to let people know that you are prepared and willing to be called on because you are a Girl Scout. And Girl Scouting is not just knowing ... but doing ... not just doing, but being.”

What is Learning by Doing?
Learning by Doing activities are hands-on and allow girls to create, experience, and learn things for themselves.

Why does it matter?
Hands-on activities are shown to improve girls social and emotional outcomes, in addition to academic achievement.

How can I encourage Learning by Doing?


Ensure activities lead to a product or performance that reflects the ideas or design of girls.


Give girls a chance to talk about what they are doing or thinking with others.


Give girls a chance to use their hands and bodies, as well as their minds, to engage with ideas.

Learning By Doing Resources

  • Learning by Doing Activity Ideas - coming soon!
Cooperative Learning

Cooperative Learning helps girls work together toward shared goals in an atmosphere of respect and collaboration. We’ve all seen examples of girls working in pairs in real life, but curious about how to foster more of these opportunities? 

What is Cooperative Learning?
All girls have multiple opportunities to work cooperatively as a group or team.

Why does it matter?
Collaboration allows girls to learn and interact with others! This interaction allows girls chances to appreciate other opinions and perspectives, which helps them learn from one another

How can I encourage Cooperative Learning?


Cooperative Learning can happen in any activities where girls are in pairs, groups, or teams! The key is for girls to interact with each other.


Chances are, you already see Cooperative Learning all the time! Things like volleyball partners, or a group of five practicing wilderness skills together, all count as Cooperative Learning. 

Cooperative Learning Resources

  • Cooperative Learning Activity Ideas - coming soon!
Safety and Wellness

Have you ever walked into a group that got along so well that it felt like walking into a giant hug? How did they create that environment—and make sure everyone is safe at all times?

Safety and Wellness is about creating an environment that is emotionally and physically secure so everyone can be their very best! 

What is it?
Safety and Wellness means girls are physically safe and emotionally supported at all times.

Why does it matter?
Youth can thrive in a space where they are safe, supported, respected and involved.

How can I create Safety and Wellness?


Make sure your space is clear of any health or safety hazards, and always have a complete first-aid kit accessible.


Girls and adults are inclusive, making sure all are welcomed and involved. Ensure there is mutual respect and inclusion of others of a different religion, ethnicity, class, gender, ability, appearance, or sexual orientation.


If any playful negative behaviors come up (those that are not considered offensive to those involved), girls or adults mediate them to maintain the positive atmosphere.

Safety and Wellness Resources

  • Safety and Wellness Activity Ideas - coming soon!
Building Skills

Think back to someone who has been a strong mentor or role model for you. What made them so special to you in your life? Chances are, your role model was so memorable because of their support and encouragement, even when times were tough.

Building Skills is about providing that same encouragement to girls, by supporting girls to take on challenges in their learning.  

What is Building Skills?
Building Skills is about setting up an environment where girls have opportunities for growth, challenge, and improvement.

Why does it matter?
Studies show that the most learning happens when youth are presented with a challenge that is appropriately difficult to puzzle through! Allow girls to take on challenges, and support them through the trial and error process.

How can I encourage Building Skills?


First, make sure that there is a clear learning focus for the activity. Then, state that learning focus at the beginning of the session, and how the group is learning it. For example, before a rocket building activity, say “Today we are going to build rockets. Try to think about how you can build yours so it will fly as high as possible."


Second, scaffold support (scaffolding means providing assistance that is just enough to help each girl get to the next level of learning or skill). This means understanding what each girl is already comfortable with, then providing activities that are somewhat challenging, but not too hard that the girl cannot complete it.


Third, support Building Skills by breaking down difficult activities. If girls seem confused, explain directions step by step, or even model the directions. Above all, encourage youth if they get discouraged!

Building Skills Resources

  • Building Skills Activity Ideas - coming soon!
Reframing Conflict

Conflict—it’s inevitable! We can all remember witnessing a terrible fight, or that one where the participants walked away as friends. How can conflict so easily work out one way or the other? The resources below in Reframing Conflict are all about how to turn conflict into a learning opportunity for girls—and providing support to you as the adult!

What is Reframing Conflict?
When conflicts come up, you can Reframe Conflict by seeking input from girls to identify both a cause and solution.

Why does it matter?
Conflict is a part of life! If conflict is handled well, it is a great chance for growth and learning.

How can I help my girls with Reframing Conflict?


With serious conflicts, make sure that all girls involved have a voice and that the response provides girls the chance to learn constructive steps for the next time conflict comes up.


Ask  each girl to explain her side of the story, brainstorm solutions that benefit both girls, and choose one together. If girls aren’t able to do this the first time you ask them, it is ok to prompt or make suggestions.


Help girls understand the link between their actions and consequences. “When you speak that way, how do you think it affects the situation?” The key is to help girls think through what happens as a result of conflict.

Reframing Conflict Resources

  • Reframing Conflict Activity Ideas - coming soon!

As Girl Scouts, we’re active! Your girls are involved in all kinds of activities—from overnight trips to World Thinking Day. But these activities take a ton of work, and planning, to pull off! Your girls can help take part in this planning, and learn a lot doing it. With some help, girls can plan many of the things they are interested in doing.

Planning is about creating chances for girls to actually do some of the work planning small activities, or larger events. 

What is Planning?
Just as it sounds! Girls have chances to plan what they do for projects or activities.

Why does it matter?
Planning engages youth in dozens of ways—it helps them articulate ideas, make decisions, set goals, anticipate actions, and consider their own thinking processes, amongst others.

How can I encourage Planning?


Planning activities can vary significantly! Activities can range from highly involved to smaller options. For example, smaller planning includes setting a goal for the day, or planning how to spend their time during the hour-long session. Larger planning includes planning for special events, or planning actual activities.


Set time aside to plan before an activity, or before a more involved project.

Planning Resources

  • Planning Activity Ideas - coming soon!

It’s the end of your session and you can tell that girls have learned a lot today—they look exhausted!  You’ve heard about Reflection from other Girl Scout trainings, but don’t know how to make it work given girls’ current state. 

What is Reflection?
Reflection means all girls have a chance to reflect on their experiences either after the activity or at the end of the session.

Why does it matter?
Intentional reflection is important because it allows girls time to process their experiences, and engages them in ways to try things differently.

How can I encourage Reflection?


At the end of every session, consider setting aside time  to reflect as an easy way to incorporate this practice. Reflection can be as simple as taking five minutes at the end of the day for girls to share their feelings about the day’s activities!


Reflection can come in many forms, including daily journals, drawing, or using props.

Reflection Resources

  • Reflection Activity Ideas - coming soon!