Dozens of girls tour building, hold mock elections
CONCORD, NH | Ending school violence, stopping pollution, and creating peace in the world were just a few of the issues 41 Girl Scouts “campaigned” on as part of their experience at the Girl Scout Learn to Lead Legislative Day at the New Hampshire State House on Oct. 5.
The event, organized by Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, gave Junior and Cadette Girl Scouts from around New Hampshire the chance to tour the historic building, which will celebrate its 200th anniversary next year; participate in workshops on voting and elections; and talk with some local female legislators. Junior Girl Scouts are girls in fourth and fifth grade, and Cadettes are girls in grades 6-8. Eight troops were represented with girls from Concord, Freedom, Nashua, Keene, Grantham and Hanover.
Tour guide Virginia Drew engaged the girls with stories of what was kept in the vault in the Treasury room (paintings and a Civil War uniform), who Harriet Dame was (a Civil War-era nurse and active in caring for veterans), and the history of the building, which is the oldest state house in continuous use by its legislature.
State Rep. Lucy Weber (D-Walpole), the Assistant Democratic Leader and Democratic Parliamentarian, spent the day with the girls, sharing stories of her experiences in government during the tour and in workshops. Weber serves on the committee for Health Human Services and Elderly Affairs Rules, among other committees. She spoke to the group about how laws are created, how votes are taken, and more. In one workshop with Cadettes, they debated how legislators might help children and families with healthier eating habits.
State Rep. Kimberly Rice (R-Hudson) who serves on the Division for Children, Youth and Families Advisory Board, among other committees, helped the Junior and Cadette girls think through what their campaigns would be like if they were running for office. Each girl created her own campaign poster and mock elections took place among the group for the best poster.
Along with Rice, Gold Award Girl Scout Cassandra Levesque, 19, of Barrington, helped the Girl Scouts understand how our government works by sharing her experience with getting New Hampshire to raise the minimum age for marriage to 16. Levesque is now running for state representative in her hometown and was able to give the girls a real-life perspective on how being a Girl Scout can change the world for the better.
Cora Nicoll, an Ambassador Girl Scout and Girls Rock the Capitol intern, participated in the workshops as well. The homeschooled 12th grader from Freedom said the greatest part of her internship was being able to sit in and hear the stories of local legislators, and especially talking to the women in government.
Girls also worked on Citizen badges. The Inside Government badge, available to Junior Girl Scouts, requires finding out more about the basics of government, looking into laws and issues, and becoming involved in government. The Finding Common Ground badge is available to Cadette Girl Scouts, and asks girls to find out how people in democratic governments make trade-offs, giving up some things they favor to gain support for others. To earn the badge, a girl must get to know someone different from her, make decisions in a group, explore civil debate, understand compromise, and find common ground through mediation.
The Learn to Lead and Girls Rock the Capitol programs are part of the G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader)™ Agenda, a nonpartisan initiative by Girl Scouts to inspire, prepare, and mobilize girls and those who care about them to lead positive change through civic action. Girls Rock the Capitol is a unique six-month program run by Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains that pairs high school girls with a female legislator to work side-by-side on issues both care about, now accepting applications
Last year in Vermont and New Hampshire, 11 Girl Scouts earned the Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouts. Open only to girls in high school, the Girl Scout Gold Award is the most prestigious award in the world for girls, which calls for leadership at the highest level. Gold Award Girl Scouts earn college scholarships, enter the military one rank higher, and leave a lasting mark on their communities.
Girl Scouts fuels the female leadership pipeline. With over 100 years of expertise, Girl Scouts encourages girls to embrace new challenges, learn important life skills, and take the lead in unique ways. Girl Scouts has provided girls of all ages and backgrounds with unique, girl-led experiences. Girl Scouts are twice as likely to participate in activities that shape their character and open up new worlds to them. All three female U.S. Secretaries of State were once Girl Scouts, and 76 percent of female state senators are Girl Scout alums.
About Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains: Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is recognized throughout New Hampshire and Vermont as a leading expert on girls. Our innovative leadership programs help girls discover, connect, and take action as they develop strong values, a social conscience, and a deep sense of self and their potential. Through our exciting and challenging programs, Girl Scouts not only participate but also take the lead in a range of activities—from kayaking, archery, and camping, to coding, robotics, financial literacy training, and beyond! Serving more than 10,000 girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org.