Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jessica Stanley: Why Girl Scout Product Programs Matter to Me

Jessica Stanley, Product Program Manager

I just turned 30 years old as the Fall Product Program was ending and it made me take a step back and remember all of my experiences in life thus far.   I graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a Bachelors of Science in Marketing.  I remember being a freshman in college and being so overwhelmed at all of the options for degrees.  You are 18 and you have to make this major life decision that will affect you for the rest of your life, but how are you supposed to choose the right one for you?  I actually attended three different colleges and changed my major four different times before I found my love and passion for marketing and business. 
That’s why I strongly believe the Girl Scout Product Programs are so beneficial for girls.  Through these programs, girls are learning so many skills that they will be able to use for the rest of their lives.  They get to try new things. They learn business and financial skills that, no matter what career field they go into, they are able to adapt to help them succeed.   Even something as simple as learning how to set a goal and then figuring out how to achieve it makes such a big impact.  I remember a few years ago, taking girls to pick out the rewards that they earned during a Product Program.  One of the girls said to me “I wanted an ipod for a long time.  I saw we could earn one selling cookies, so I said to myself, ‘I am going to get that.”   She was kind of a quiet, humble girl, but you could tell by the look on her face that she was incredibly proud for setting and reaching her goal.  
I am so proud of all of our girls.  I think back to the Annual Meeting last March, when we recognized the girls that sold over 1,000 packages of cookies through the Girl Scout Cookie Program.   Everyone in the room stood up, clapped, and celebrated with them. Realizing that their hard work was admired was a special moment that those girls will remember for the rest of their lives and something that I will also never forget.  It meant so much to them and it puts into perspective how much these girls are gaining from being in Girl Scouting. 
The skills and experiences that girls are learning by participating in Girl Scout Product Programs will help provide them with a variety of experiences to help them understand what they want to do in life.  They will have confidence to know that if they set their mind towards achieving a goal, they will succeed. 
Gabrielle, last year's Top Cookie Seller, grins as she receives a standing ovation
from the crowd at GSSI's 2012 Annual Meeting.