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Learn to Lead Girl Scout Legislative Day inspires girls to make the world a better place through leadership

Girl Scouts
Girl Scouts try out the seating for legislators at the Vermont State House on their visit to the capitol building during Learn to Lead Girl Scout Legislative Day. (Richardson Photography)

Local legislators and volunteers host Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains

MONTPELIER, VT | She may be only 12 years old, but Liliane Gordon of Hinesburg is already setting her sights for the governorship of Vermont. Oh – and being an airline pilot, too.

She was one of 16 Girl Scouts from the state who took part in the Learn to Lead Girl Scout Legislative Day at the Vermont State House on Sept. 22, organized by Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains. Girl Scouts can help Liliane and girls like her achieve her goals, as the proven, one-of-a-kind leadership development program and the largest in the world for girls.

The Learn to Lead event allowed girls to explore the Vermont State House and learn about its history and unique art, architecture and furnishings with volunteer tour guide Mary Leahy, who was once a Brownie Girl Scout herself. Following the tour, the girls spent their afternoon participating in a mock election and other activities, and talked with state legislators Anne Donahue, Jeanette White and Maxine Grad, who gave their insight into being a female leader in state government.

Harley Miller, a high school student participating for her third year in a Girl Scout program called Girls Rock the Capitol, shared stories of her experiences with the girls. She is being mentored by a local legislator for six months during this internship, attending committee meetings and House sessions, and even writing her own bills. Amy Shollenberger, a lobbyist from Action Circles, also joined the girls, as did GRTC volunteer Pelin Kohn.

Donahue is a Republican in Washington District 1, serving since 2003, and is a health care advocate.  White is a Democrat in the Windham District, also serving since 2003, and is chair of the Senate Committee on Government Operations, and is a member of other committees and panels. Grad is a Democrat in Washington District 7, serving since 2001, and is chair of the House Committee on Judiciary and on the Joint Legislative Justice Oversight Committee. 

White told the girls she was inspired by the passion of Girls Rock the Capitol several years ago to propose legislation to allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries if they will be 18 by the general election. It became law in 2010.

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. For example, Gold Award Girl Scout Cassandra Levesque of Barrington, N.H., worked to end child marriage in her state, getting bills passed this year.

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