Girl Scouts has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, and we welcome and embrace girls of all abilities and backgrounds into our wonderful sisterhood. Inclusion is at the core of who we are; it’s about being a sister to every Girl Scout and celebrating our unique strengths.
Part of the important work that volunteers do includes modeling friendship and kindness for girls and showing them what it means to practice empathy. Through equal treatment, you can nurture an inclusive troop environment. When scheduling, planning, and carrying out activities, carefully consider the needs of all girls involved, including school schedules, family needs, financial constraints, religious holidays, and the accessibility of appropriate transportation and meeting places.
Explore these inclusion-focused pages of the Volunteer Collective, and the Safety Activity Checkpoints on Overall Health, Well-being, and Inclusivity, the Volunteer Essentials section on Troop Management, and the “IDEA for Volunteers” course within gsLearn.
IDEA = Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access
Girl Scouts is for all girls, and we use inclusion, diversity, equity, and access as the tools to ensure every girl feels welcomed and affirmed.
Inclusion is the sense that everyone belongs. In any environment, inclusivity means people from different backgrounds, identities, and abilities are not only are present, but also have a voice. An inclusive setting honors everyone’s unique histories, cultures, and identities and is free from bias and discrimination. Everyone feels as though their opinions are valued and they have fair access to opportunities.
Diversity: Simply put, diversity means difference. These differences may be visible or not, and include gender, ability, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, education, socioeconomic status, and more. In Girl Scouts, our membership is made up of a highly diverse group of girls, and we strive for our leadership to look this way, too, and have an awareness of why diversity is impactful!
Equity requires acknowledging that we don’t all start off in the same place. While equality means giving everyone the same things, equity means giving everyone what they need to be successful. This often means removing barriers and biases that disproportionately impact specific identities.
Access refers to the services, settings, and resources needed for a person to join and fully engage with Girl Scouts. To ensure equity and inclusion, we must first ensure that our physical and virtual space, information, programming, and leadership roles can be accessed by all.
IDEA + Three Keys of Leadership
Discover: When we give girls the opportunity to Discover their own histories, cultures, and identities, and those of their fellow sisters, we bring vibrancy to their own experience through appreciating diversity.
Connect: When we give girls the opportunity to Connect to diverse people and places in their communities, they can see role models who look like them and are able to learn about the experiences of others.
Take Action: After we give girls the opportunity to discover diverse histories, cultures, and identities and connect to the impact those have on a person’s experience in a community, girls begin to identify injustices and want to Take Action to make the world a better place.
For examples of how to bring the IDEA concepts into practice, review the examples provided in the gsLearn course, 499 IDEA for Volunteers.