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Girl Scouts representative speaks about benefits of program

The Inter-Mountain photo by Haley Gordon Candace Nelson, director of marketing for the Girl Scouts of Black Diamond, presents a slideshow to Elkins Rotarians on Monday about the benefits of scouting for young women.

ELKINS — Candace Nelson, director of marketing for the Girl Scouts of Black Diamond, presented to the Elkins Rotary Club on Monday at the group’s first weekly meeting of 2020.

Nelson, who has worked with the Black Diamond region for about a month now, spoke about the importance of Girl Scouts for girls and young women.

“When I was growing up, I was a Daisy, a Brownie and I was a Junior,” said Nelson. “(Girl Scouts) became the first all-girl leadership program and is now the largest all-girl leadership program in the world.”

The program was founded in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low as a way to get women out of the house and into the community to do some good. The four pillars of Girl Scouts include STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Outdoors, Life Skills and Entrepreneurship.

“We know that girls aren’t necessarily reaching their full potential,” said Nelson. “We know that, of STEM jobs, only about a quarter are filled by women. We know that only about 4% of Fortune 500 CEO’s are women and we know about 15% of corporate boards are women.”

The Girl Scout mission statement reads, “Girl scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.”

“Our focus is to give those girls those tools to make the world a better place for all of us,” said Nelson. “We call what we do the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and we have a century-old formula for serving girls in a girl-only environment.”

“Girls discover who they are, what they believe in, and what their boundaries are,” she continued. “They connect with others in a global environment, they take action in their community and everything they do is girl-led, hands-on and collaborative.”

Girl Scouts allow girls to explore many different opportunities, such as running their own business with cookie sales, participating in STEM activities, camping and experiencing the outdoors, and crafty, do-it-yourself projects.

“The cookie program is actually the largest financial entrepreneurship program in the world,” said Nelson. “Girls really learn how to get finances, they learn how to have their own little business and they learn the skills necessary for entrepreneurship.”

“We encourage girls to get outside, explore the environment and kind of learn the creativity that comes along with that,” said Nelson. “Research shows that girls do best in all-girl, girl-led and girl-friendly environments. She’s able to explore, she’s able to fail and dust herself off and try again.”

Cookie sales for the Scouts begins on Friday, with a new cookie flavor set to be announced at 9 a.m. today. Nelson urges communities to support the Scouts through cookie sales, or even by sponsoring one of the 300 girls in this region who wouldn’t be able to participate without financial assistance.

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