Column: Girl Scouts reflect mission of serving community

Megan Armstrong San Antonio News Leave a Comment

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Nearly 108 years ago, Juliette Gordon Low founded the very first troop of Girl Scouts in Savannah, Georgia. I wonder if she was able to envision the impact her dream would have on countless individuals and communities.

On March 12, scouts across the world will celebrate the birthday of one of the most influential organizations that champion and teach empowerment and self-reliance for girls. In the United States, more than 1.6 million girls participate in Girl Scout programs and activities.

Texas A&M University-San Antonio champions the mantra that all girls should aspire to college, so becoming a Patch Partner with the Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas (GSSWT) was a very natural development. The university worked closely with GSSWT to create the “Embracing Patriotism” patch, which Girl Scouts can earn by completing activities focusing on commitment, respect, honor, courage, and excellence. Together we hope to inspire girls to complete school, pursue higher education, and pursue their best lives.

The Embracing Patriotism patch is in keeping with the A&M-San Antonio’s Military EmbracingTM philosophy, and our mission to serve those who have served. In addition to the strong ongoing support, our university community provides to those who have served in our nation’s armed forces. We are also holistically committed to cultural competency and comprehensive support for military students by assisting their integration into the larger university community. By completing the curriculum and earning this patch, young girls develop a deeper appreciation of our city’s rich military history as well as how to support those who serve our nation and protect our freedoms.

Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas’ Chief Executive Officer Angela Salinas (Major General, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret) said when the partner patch program launched, “As a veteran, I can appreciate how this newest initiative with A&M-San Antonio teaches our girls the core values of education and patriotism. The Embracing Patriotism patch initiative makes it possible for Girl Scouts to emphasize our traditions of honoring the American flag and respect the selfless service and sacrifices of all veterans and women and men on active duty. Today’s girls are our next generation of leaders and Texas A&M-San Antonio is leading the way by investing in programs to help them reach their full potential as educated and patriotic citizens.”

Research suggests that participation in Girl Scouts provides a foundation of essential skills for girls that lasts a lifetime. According to Girls Scouts data, in 2017 more than half (53 percent) of female entrepreneurs and business owners are Girl Scout alums. Girl Scout alums are also more likely than other women to have a business degree are — and women in business are more likely to have been Girl Scouts; 61 percent of business women age 65 and older are Girl Scout alums, as are 56 percent between the ages of 45 and 64.

At A&M-San Antonio, we understand that supporting youth through collaborations is an investment in the future, and this awareness strengthens our commitment to the community of San Antonio’s South Side. The partnership provides opportunities for college students to interact with young girl scouts. Whether the Girls Scouts of Southwest Texas or another organization, I encourage you to explore how you can support opportunities for girls.

Visit girlscouts-swtx.org, and for more information about A&M-San Antonio — visit tamusa.edu or call 210-784-1000.

Cynthia Teniente-Matson, Ed.D., is president of Texas A&M University San Antonio.

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