Youth Organizations and Positive Development: Lessons Learned from a Century of Girl Scouting

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Girl Scouts is the largest organization in the world dedicated to girl leadership development, with 3.2 million active members and more than 59 million alumnae. Since 1912, women have explored new fields of knowledge, learned valuable skills, and developed strong core values through Girl Scouting. The Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) was founded in 2000 as a vital extension of Girl Scouts of the USA. GSRI conducts original research, evaluation, and outcomes measurement studies; releases critical facts and findings; and provides resources essential for the advancement of the well-being and safety of girls living in today’s world. Since its inception in 2000, the GSRI has employed a research-to-action approach so that insights from our work with girls and young women can directly inform Girl Scouts of the USA’s program and policy development, as well as impact the larger youth development field. In the last decade, GSRI’s research and evaluation work has touched numerous organizations in the public and private spheres, making a practical impact on the lives of youth and providing other organizations with evidence needed to make a case for their own work.


Judy Schoenberg, Kallen Tsikalas, Kamla Modi

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