Beth Casey
Beth Casey

Portraits in Leadership

US Rep. Shelly Moore Capito is interviewed by Girl Scout Carolyn as part of the Portraits in Leadership project.
Beth Casey
Girl Scouts: Unleashing the 'inner girl'

October 17, 2017

The Black Diamond Council of the Girl Scouts has grown in major indicators of overall well-being in the past seven years CEO Beth Casey announced today to Putnam Rotarians.

The council serves some 8,100 girls with 3,000 adult volunteers in four states. That includes 48 counties in West Virginia (excluding the eastern panhandle), part of Garrett County, Maryland, nine counties in Ohio, and three counties in Virginia.

Key indicator measurements show that Black Diamond, among the states, has moved from 44th out of fifty states to 38th this year, she said.

Yet, the "State of Girls" report shows that more girls are living in poverty than ten years ago, and face greater challenges to health, happiness and achievement.

There is more obesity, and emotional health problems have increased since 2007. The number of high school girls who have seriously considered suicide has grown.

But there have been improvements as well: fewer high school dropouts, better reading (4th grade) and math (8th grade) proficiency, and a dramatic increase in girls who regularly participate in community affairs or volunteer work.

In fact, the young girls in the program tend to grow in leadership skills, achievement and feelings of well-being increasingly over the general population in the same age groups.

In its programs, the Black Diamond Council has adopted the G.I.R.L. acronym for "Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, and Leader." Says Chief Scout Casey, "We believe in the power of every GIRL to change the world."

The program helps girls to explore career paths and learn about new opportunities. Girl Scouts develop confidence and a stronger sense about the future

Black Diamond girls participate in high-adventure activities -- rock climbing, zip lining, paddle boarding and other challenges. Said Casey, "It's amazing to see their faces when they are able to overcome a fear and accomplish something."

The girls of Black Diamond contribute community service -- over 15,000 documented hours, Casey said. "And I know their actual time is three or four times that."

Among girls who won the Gold Award this year, requiring a project of lasting impact and at least eighty hours, a scout transformed a pond near her school into a site for science projects and environmental education.

Fourteen girls (4th graders) spent a weekend in Washington where they viewed stars with astronauts and pent the night camping at the White House

Last month, Casey presented the coveted National Lifesaving Medal of Honor to a scout from Wetzel County. Six-year-old Emilyn Richards had saved the lives of her family. Her younger brother said, "Sissy woke me and got me out of the bed and grabbed the cat. She woke mommy and daddy up and there was a big fire.

Emilyn had followed her safety training learned in the Girl Scouts.

"Our girls will be the leaders of tomorrow," said Casey. "We want them to be the best that they can be."

Beth Casey is President-Elect of Vandalia Rotary.

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