Girl Scouting Works: The Alumnae Impact Study
In 2011, the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) decided to take a look at the Girl Scouts’ long-term effects on its girl members. What GSRI found is the basis of a report just now being published, called Girl Scouting Works: The Alumnae Impact Study. This is the most comprehensive study ever conducted about Girl Scout Alumnae.
It’s good news for us here at the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, for the girls and adults we work with, and for the estimated 59 million American women who are former Girl Scouts. In a nutshell, compared with non-alumnae, Girl Scout alumnae feel better about themselves, are more active as mentors and community volunteers, vote more regularly, are better educated, and enjoy higher household income. This was particularly true for women who’d been long-term Girl Scouts; those who were members for three or more years scored significantly higher in every area than alumnae who were members for a shorter time.
We see that in our current members while they’re still girls. Those who stay in long enough to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award—generally, seniors in high school—find themselves accomplishing things their ten- or eleven-year-old selves couldn’t even have imagined.
When asked what they got out of their Girl Scout experience, one thing the alumnae frequently mentioned was confidence: the feeling that they could do whatever they set out to do. This is essential for anyone wanting to lead a successful life, women and men alike, but building and maintaining self-confidence is in many ways more difficult for girls and women than it is for boys and men.
Some of the most fascinating statistics released in the study include:
- Nearly 1 in every 2 adult women in the US was a member of Girl Scouts as a girl
- 52% of former Girl Scouts say there were no negative aspects of their Girl Scout experience and 17% say the only negative aspect was not being able to stay involved longer!
- 76% of Alumnae report that the Girl Scout experience had a positive impact on their lives in general.
- Nearly one in five Alumnae (19%) has already reconnected with Girl Scouts as a volunteer or troop leader.
This information was collected through an examination of 3,750 women, of whom roughly 2,000 were Girl Scout Alumnae, through focus groups, in-depth individual interviews, an online community, online chats, a national random digit dial telephone survey, a mobile phone survey, and an online survey.