Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan
Description of Organization & Mission
The mission of Girl Scouts is to “build girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place.” As the largest youth development organization for girls in southeastern Michigan, we help girls mature into healthy productive citizens by developing and promoting leadership and behavioral skills. Girl Scouting helps girls recognize their uniqueness as individuals by showing them new ways to perceive their world.
In 1912, our founder Juliette Gordon Low recognized that developing girls’ leadership abilities was critical to ensuring they could take their rightful place in society. She expected that women would be the change-makers of the future. In 2012, Girl Scouting celebrated 100 years of building girl leaders.
In 2009, four former councils (Girl Scouts of Metro Detroit, Girl Scouts of Macomb Otsikita, Girl Scouts of Fairwinds, Girl Scouts of Michigan Waterway, and a portion of Huron Valley Girl Scout Council) merged to form GSSEM. Today, nearly 28,000 girls and 11,000 adult volunteers are active participants in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, St. Clair, Sanilac, Lapeer, Livingston and Genesee counties. GSSEM serves girls across all income and demographic groups.
The Girl Scout leadership development programs provide comprehensive experiential learning and mentoring services, developed in collaboration with experts in the field of child development. Our programs help girls learn the type of leadership skills that they tell us they wish to be proficient at. Girls learn how to lead in a way that is:
- Purpose driven
- Oriented to social change
- Inclusive and brings people together
Through the Girl Scout leadership model of Discover, Connect and Take Action, girls grow in many ways through experiences and activities which are focused around the three keys of leadership: Discover, Connect and Take Action. As girls discover, they understand themselves, their values, and use their knowledge and skills to explore the world. They connect, build relationships, inspire, and work together to take action to make the world a better place through the leadership they gain during their Girl Scout experience.
Current Programming offered at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center
GSSEM launched the Be a Friend First (BFF) anti-bullying program in summer 2013 at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center in Southwest Detroit for fifth to eighth grade girls from Phoenix Multicultural Academy, Clippert Academy, Bennett Academy, Cesar Chavez, Summitt Academy, Academy of the Americas and All Saints Youth Center. BFF is based on GSUSA’s aMAZE! leadership curriculum and helps girls to recognize and intervene in bullying situations at school and in their neighborhoods. The program helps girls to lead positive change in their communities.
The eight-week BFF series includes subject matter like standing up for yourself and others, defusing a situation with the right words, making a decision to avoid forming cliques, and more. Girls develop skills for building healthy relationships and preventing bullying in their own relationships. They participate in group discussions, role playing, creative writing, and games led by a trained adult facilitator.
Since the launch of BFF, the program has run in schools and community centers in Detroit, Highland Park, Hamtramck, and Bloomfield Hills. We have also expanded the program to schools in Mt Clemens, Flint, Port Huron, and Monroe.