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Girl Scouts provides mental health benefits for girls and communities

5.2021 kindness rocks
Spreading messages of hope and caring were part of several Gold Award Girl Scouts’ efforts to combat mental health issues during the pandemic. Above are painted rocks and messages from Bonnie Anderson of Harrisville. (Courtesy photo)

May is Mental Health Month

BEDFORD, NH – If the COVID-19 pandemic showed us anything, it’s the need for positive mental health activities and interventions. With widespread lockdowns, separation from friends, social unrest, and a long-term pause on many social activities and routines, Girl Scouting has provided a haven for girls in the past year.

Girl Scouts has long worked to help girls become young women of courage, confidence, and character, giving them the life skills to be successful in life. In a study just released by the Girl Scout Research Institute, alums assert that Girl Scouts set them on a path of achievement, connected them to something bigger than themselves, and helped them develop their passions and interests.

Moving programming quickly to online and outdoor experiences, Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains supported girls across New Hampshire and Vermont to keep them involved and engaged with their troops and families. Girl Scouts themselves found ways to boost spirits and provide help to others. The girls earning Girl Scouting’s highest awards have actively contributed to promoting mental health over the past year.

  • Bonnie Anderson of Harrisville knew that people were feeling lonely in the pandemic lockdown, and took action with her Warm the Soul Campaign to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award. She and a team of people she organized did a series of random acts of kindness, such as a farewell parade for neighbors, cards and letters to senior citizens, and rocks painted with positive messages.
  • Mansi Mathur of Hudson wanted to counteract the toll the pandemic was taking on students, teachers, and families at her high school with her Gold Award project, Supporting Teens’ Mental Health. She made inspirational art for her high school and held webinars to help teens and parents get through the pandemic.
  • Amber Wood of Winchendon, Mass., and participant in a New Hampshire Girl Scout troop, took on the issues of bullying at school with her Gold Award project, Bullying Prevention. She created a curriculum, website, and Instagram page addressing the problem.
  • Julia Acker of Salem created a series of 10 videos to interest children in healthy activities and snacks with her Gold Award project, Sweat N Snack.
  • Genevieve Wiechert of Durham worked to create understanding among adults and Girl Scout leaders of LGBTQIA issues with her Gold Award project, Be a Sister to Every Girl Scout. Wiechert produced a series of videos and a Girl Scout patch program she hopes will fight the prejudice that hurts the LGBTQIA community.
  • Evangeline Rockwell of Nashua, New Hampshire worked with her community’s Catholic schools with her COVID-19 Video Campaign, a series of videos to help kids and adults adjust to the realities of school during the pandemic. This Gold Award project helped children, teachers, and parents cope with the significant changes to their routines at school.
  • Rachel Mazur of Amherst knew that getting outdoors is a great way to improve one’s outlook, and earned the Gold Award with her project, Amherst Conservation Trails Video. She worked with the town to create a video to entice people to explore the many trails in Amherst, with the goals of improving people’s physical and mental health, along with understand the importance of conservation.

Younger Girl Scouts have also taken action, creating and sending Valentine’s Day cards and packages to senior citizens, donating Girl Scout Cookies to frontline workers, and more. Just being given the opportunity to do something to help in the fight against the virus helped girls feel in control, so hundreds of Girl Scouts made masks and other personal protective equipment over the past year.

When it comes to giving girls the tools and experiences to develop their confidence, self esteem, and positive mental health, Girl Scouting has been proven to make a lifetime of difference. As we mark Mental Health Month in May, parents and caregivers are encouraged to consider Girl Scouts as a way to provide the foundation for girls’ success and resilience in the face of adversity, whether it’s a pandemic or anything else.

See more about joining Girl Scouts at

The Girl Scout alum difference - A lifetime of courage, confidence, and character

To understand the long-term benefits of Girl Scouting and earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, the Girl Scout Research Institute conducted a national study with 1,000 Girl Scout alums, 800 women who were never Girl Scouts, and 922 Gold Award Girl Scout alums.

This research shows that participating in Girl Scouts is a powerful factor for developing courage, confidence, and character, which in turn build a foundation for success in education and careers, enable a lifetime of leadership, and provide high levels of life satisfaction. Alums assert that Girl Scouts set them on a path for achievement, connected them to something bigger than themselves, and helped them develop their passions and interests.

This study indicates that more than one in every three adult women in the United States were Girl Scouts at some point in their lives. The Girl Scout alum community is over 50 million strong.

Both Girl Scout alums and other women perceive the Gold Award as a prestigious and powerful recognition. Additionally, being a Girl Scout alum is linked to more positive life outcomes compared to other women, and earning the Gold Award has even greater benefits.

When compared to alums and other women, Gold Award Girl Scouts are more likely to:

  • Exhibit courage, confidence, and character
  • Attain a college or graduate degree
  • Volunteer or donate to causes they support
  • Hold three or more leadership roles
  • Be satisfied with life—personally, professionally, and financially

Gold Award Girl Scouts report that the Gold Award process helped them develop essential 21st century employment skills, giving them a boost in their academic and professional lives. They also affirm that the Gold Award helped them get into college or graduate programs, earn scholarships, and secure jobs.

This study confirms what Girl Scouts have known all along: Girl Scouting builds girls and women of courage, confidence, and character who lead in their lives, at work, and in their communities.

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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 Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind leadership development program for girls, with proven results. It is based on time-tested methods and research-backed programming that helps girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. 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 girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Visit