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 The Girl Scout Leadership Experience

What is A Leader?

A leader isn't someone who bosses people around. She doesn't stand in front of a crowd, only giving answers for the way things are. A leader values the opinions and assistance of others so that she can do the best job possible.

It doesn't matter if that job entails organizing two of her peers on a highway clean-up project, or several hundred in an effort to save a beached whale - a leader is compassionate, engaged and courageous. Most importantly, a leader has the confidence she needs to make a mark in the world -- a mark others surely notice, and maybe even carry forward in their own lives.

Girl Scouts has been a positive force in girl leadership development for almost 100 years, and we certainly hope to continue on our journey of helping girls find their voice and act as agents of change in their communities.

Part of our commitment to leadership has led us to ask thousands of girls, parents, volunteers, and youth development experts across the country what girls want and need and how our volunteers can facilitate the many processes girls need to work through in order to succeed in their goals. The reassuring outcome of these conversations was that Girl Scouts has been doing a lot of the right things all along. Only a few tweaks  were needed:

  • A better way to describe everything Girl Scouts provides for girls.
  • A framework to make sure all girls are consistently offered a high-quality Girl Scout experience.
  • Methods to ensure that all girls gain the skills to become the type of leader they dream of becoming.

Embracing the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE)

This is where the GSLE comes in. The Girl Scout Leadership Experience was created to encompass everything we know and love about Girl Scouts -- like troops, camp, patches, cookies, and events -- as well as the additions above. In the model of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, the activities we do in Girl Scouts and the way that we do them (processes) result in outcomes that empower girls to become leaders.

What Are the GSLE Outcomes?

Girls who participate in Girl Scouts benefit in a multitude of ways. Girl Scouts has identified 15 specific outcomes that girls achieve through Girl Scouting. These outcomes are organized around three themes:
  • Discover. Girls understand themselves, their values, and their world.
  • Connect. Girls care about, inspire, and team with others.
  • Take Action. Girls act to make the world a better place.
The Girl Scout Leadership Experience is designed to ensure that every Girl Scout achieves the same outcomes, regardless of how they participate.

What Are the GSLE Processes?

If the outcomes are what girls gain from the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, the processes are how they gain them. These processes are the heart of Girl Scouting. The processes are:

  • Girl-led. Girls play an active part in figuring out the what, where, when, how, and why of their activities.
  • Learning by doing. Rather than listening to someone tell them about it, girls get in there and do it! They explore their own questions, gain new skills, share ideas, and take time to reflect.
  • Cooperative learning. Girls work together toward shared goals in an atmosphere of respect and collaboration.

Learn more about Using the Girl Scout Processes.