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Formerly the Girl Scout Volunteer Connection Podcast 

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Oct 6, 2020

Since last week we talked about the State of Girls from the 2017 study, I think this is a great follow up because it's absolutely related to the State of Girls and what we need to be mindful of regarding our role in girls' lives and how we can make sure we are positive leaders affecting real change! 

It's been 4 months since I first addressed the Black Lives Matter movement on this podcast but even though these hashtags might not be trending like they were when the episode was brand new, we CANNOT STOP talking or thinking about this. 

It is so important to me that we keep revisiting this topic and I VERY MUCH want to revisit this conversation with new content when I'm ready to return from my hiatus on this show. If YOU are a woman of color and want to lead the way (as it is really not my place to do so), then I want to highlight YOUR voice. Reach out to me at girlscoutpodcast@gmail.com.

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Buckle up because I've got another potentially unpopular episode for ya today! 

We're taking a break from COVID-19/Social Distancing/Virtual Girl Scouting discussions to talk about the current events, protests, and anti-racism movement happening both in the streets and all over social media right now.

Yes, the host of this podcast supports #BlackLivesMatter, but this is not a podcast about that. If you are looking for some good episodes about the current anti-racism movement and the ways you can personally acknowledge and challenge your own privilege and inherent biases, here are some recommended links to episodes with Black hosts and producers:

https://shuntagrant.com/what-you-can-do-about-racism/

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/importance-nationwide-protests-over-george-floyds-death/id1515152489?i=1000476365582

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/nikole-hannah-jones-on-george-floyd-history-systemic/id1234429850?i=1000477790377

If you're sick of this topic all over the news and social media, and you just don't want to talk about it or hear about it anymore, I urge you to hang in there with me for this episode. This is not about anything political - it's just about where Girl Scouts as an organization stands regarding all of this and how Girl Scout programming is built to engage with this subject matter, and your role and responsibility as a volunteer when it comes to handling these issues.

We're going to cover all the basic reasons why volunteers are inclined to leave this subject matter and this work out of Girl Scout meetings and events:

  1. "I am against rioting and looting, and therefore I can't show support for this movement." (It's not about peaceful vs violent protests, and it's not even about current events. It's about all the time, every day ways we are either actively creating an anti-Racist environment within Girl Scouts or are contributing to the perpetual institutionalized and systemic racism of our society.)
  2. "These protests are unfounded, the murder of George Floyd and others can be rationalized or even understandable, and in general I believe that Blacks are responsible for the way they are treated and the inequality they think they experience." (Girl Scouts is for ALL girls, and if you aren't willing to do the work to open your mind about how to be welcoming and inclusive to ALL girls and their families, then I'm sorry to say this is not the organization for you.)

  3. "These conversations belong at home and it should be up to girls' parents and families to decide how they want to address these issues." (We can't just do what's safe or easy, because it's in our comfort zones. We are Go Getters, Innovators, Risk Takers, and Leaders and we are building girls of COURAGE and CONFIDENCE and CHARACTER. It is written into our brand to address these issues. Furthermore, girls are following YOUR cues and learning from you. What are they learning if you are avoiding or silencing these issues?

  4. "I know some families in my troop will not approve and may even pull their girl from my troop if I broach these subjects." (The idea of alienating families and losing girls is scary! But this isn't about telling girls what to think, it's about creating a welcoming and inclusive environment that helps girls take the lead in establishing their own ideas and world views.) 

  5. "My girls don't see color. Won't talking about it have the opposite effect and actually teach them to be racist?" (In short, no. We depend on our brain's ability to recognize, categorize, and process patterns to live. It's important that we tap into that to address these issues head on so that our girls are establishing healthy, positive associations with conversations around race and diversity.)

  6. "My girls are too young for this." (It's never too early to be inclusive and welcoming for ALL girls, with a specific emphasis on racial diversity and equity. But yes, there's always a need for progression!)

Here are some strategies you can start considering regarding your troop and Girl Scouts in your area immediately:

  • Make it a priority to diversify guest speakers, field trip options, and subject matter experts - especially Black women
  • Diversify your troop leadership - and where to find potential troop leaders if you have a pretty homogenous (read: white) friend group
  • Consider the diversity in your troop - and if there isn't any, why is that? Does your troop reflect the neighborhood you're serving? If not, why? If so, why isn't your neighborhood diverse? Where are people of other races living near you, and do they have robust Girl Scouting opportunities?
  • What areas of your state/council/community are underserved by Girl Scouts, and does that correspond to any patterns in racial demographics? How can you help recruiting efforts?
  • What media are you consuming with your troop? Do you read together, watch movies, and so on? How can you diversify this media, AND how can you help girls notice patterns in the media they're already consuming, even outside of Girl Scouts?
  • Have you done this year's World Thinking Day and Global Action badge activities around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Gender Equality? If not, how can you ensure that you are specifically addressing racism and race identities when implementing the program?

 

Having questions or concerns? Contact me at girlscoutpodcast@gmail.com

Have resources to share, or best practices? Contact me at girlscoutpodcast@gmail.com

Are you a woman of color - especially a Black woman - who wants to join me for a podcast episode about what we can (and need to!) do as Girl Scout volunteers to combat racism? Contact me at girlscoutpodcast@gmail.com 

 

Don't forget to visit my website at BuildingGirlsofCourage.com - and check out our brand new SHOP link! 

 

Related episodes:

Is the traditional World Thinking Day fair event Cultural Appropriation?

The State of Girl Scouts and Why Girl Scouts is Critical

GSLE Outcomes and Progression: Put the Outcomes into Practice