OKC VeloCity | Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma expanding programming to all OKCPS middle school girls

Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma expanding programming to all OKCPS middle school girls

By Chamber Staff / Member News / August 13, 2019

A Girl Scout leader works with girls on a STEM activity during an after-school program.

Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma (GSWESTOK) and the Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS) are working together to provide Girl Scout programming at every middle school starting this fall.                                                   

Changes to the district structure had some parents concerned about the transition to middle school. Before Pathway to Greatness, fifth graders were in elementary school. Starting this year, fifth graders are now in middle school or their own building. 

Since all parents and guardians want to see their girls make friends and do well in school, Girl Scouts stepped up to help with both. From anti-bullying programs that promote confidence and self-esteem to opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and entrepreneurship, Girl Scouts is posed to help girls succeed.

GSWESTOK will work directly with the administration and girls to determine the needs of each school and develop a plan that creates the most impact. Through anti-bullying and friendship building activities introduced at the beginning of the school year, girls learn about healthy relationships and how to stop bullying.

Later, girls will also have the opportunity to work through the various STEM badges to gain skills in everything from cyber security and coding to robotics and aerospace. All of the activities will be done in a safe, girl-only space that fosters collaboration instead of competition and promotes support among girls.

“Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma is already present in our schools and they represent what we look for in a partner,” said Sean McDaniel, Oklahoma City Public Schools superintendent. “This partnership also aligns with the launch of the EmbraceOKC initiative, which provides a tailored approach to our student and family services that are focused on mental, physical, social, and emotional health.”

Girl Scouts provides girls of every race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion or geographic location an encouraging space to take healthy risks, try new things and learn to succeed through failure — characteristics that are verified to improve all aspects of their lives.

“Currently, Girl Scouts serves 2,500 girls through various programs delivered in a school setting, led by our staff” said Shannon Evers, GSWESTOK Chief Executive Officer. “We are excited to start offering this on a larger scale and help support the OKCPS curriculum. While we will be in each of the middle schools, the programs will be a bit different at each, depending on what topics the girls choose to focus on – bringing in the girl-led aspect of Girl Scouts. So at one time a group could be doing hands-on robotics while another has women in cyber security coming in to talk about their career and what it took to get there.”

In order to offer this on a larger scale, GSWESTOK is looking for site facilitators to assist. The site facilitators will lead each group for one hour each week and have one hour for planning. The total commitment for the school year is 90 hours – including two training days – for $1,170, annually. For more information on how to apply, visit www.gswestok.org/jobs.

According to the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), 84% of girls say they learned or did new things in Girl Scouts and 80 percent reported that in Girl Scouts they were able to do things that they could not have done in other places. Through experiences like these, girls become more active and engaged learners, develop a positive sense of self, and learn resourceful problem solving.

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