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Research and Publications

“At Girl Scouts, leadership is not just modeled in words, but in actions. As an example of leadership and in keeping with Girl Scouts’ commitment to environmental stewardship and conservation, we have elected to reduce our carbon footprint by publishing our full 2013 Annual Report in “green” fashion, online at”

– Sally Leep, CEO – Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming 

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To view or print the full 2013 Annual Report (PDF), please click on link: Full 2013 Annual Report

This is a large file and may take a few minutes to download. 

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Linking Leadership to Academic Success: The Girl Scout Difference


By Kallen Tsikalas, PhD, Senior Researcher & Sabrica Barnett, MA, Project Research Analyst (New York, N.Y.: Girl Scouts of the USA, 2012). (Research report and Research to Action Tip Sheets.)

Linking Leadership to Academic Success: The Girl Scout Difference presents findings from a 2011 national study of nearly 3,000 fourth through eighth grade Girl Scouts (Juniors and Cadettes). The findings show how Girl Scouting supports academic engagement and achievement, with an emphasis on the role of Girl Scout processes and leadership outcomes in helping girls succeed in school. The findings also reveal that, in some cases, Girl Scout programming has greater benefits for lower-SES girls, those whose mothers have less than a college education. A set of Research to Action Tip Sheets accompanies the report, highlighting how results may be used to enhance program delivery, volunteer development, membership growth and fund raising.


The Girl Scout Cookie Program: Teaching Essential Skills for a Lifetime

Linking Leadership to Academic Success

By Milagros Benítez, MEd, Senior Researcher & Sabrica Barnett, MA, Project Research Analyst (New York, N.Y.: Girl Scouts of the USA, 2012). (Summary of key findings.)

The Girl Scout Cookie Program: Teaching Essential Skills for a Lifetime presents findings from a 2012 pilot study of 1,417 Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts (second to fifth graders). The study examined the benefits of the Cookie Program, the largest girl-run business in the world, specifically around the 5 essential skills the program help girls develop: goal setting, money management, people skills, decision-making, and business ethics. The findings show how the Cookie Program activities and processes empower girls to become successful cookie entrepreneurs while gaining valuable and transferable skills that can last them a lifetime.



Transforming Leadership


As Girl Scouting moves into the new millennium it brings with it a renewed focus on leadership with its New Leadership Experience for girls. This new model ofleadership is one which reflects the leadership definitions and aspirations of girls today. It is also one which requires on-going, comprehensive efforts to measure the impact of the New Leadership Experience, determine modifications as needed, and communicate to all of our audiences how girls are benefiting from Girl Scouting.

This seminal body of work surrounding the new model stands on a strong tradition of outcomes evaluation in Girl Scouting. While reflective of some of the outcomes measured across the previous decade, it incorporates many more—15 in all—through its Discover-Connect-Take Action framework and brings to the fore how Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character in this new age.


 Mapping the Girl Scout Leadership Experience Outcomes to the Search Institute’s Youth Developmental Assets.

Mapping the Girl Scout Leadership Experience


The Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) sets forth a bold and aspirational model of leadership that encourages girls to Discover, Connect, and Take Action to make their world a better place. The GSLE framework specifies 15 outcomes – behaviors, attitudes, skills and values – that develop girls of courage, confidence and character.

This toolkit, Mapping the Girl Scout Leadership Experience Outcomes to the Search Institute’s Youth Developmental Assets, summarizes and explains the links between the 15 GSLE outcomes and the Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets. The Search Institute’s framework, which provides a comprehensive guide to the overall supports required for positive and healthy youth development, is widely used in community, youth development, and philanthropic organizations.

By establishing the links between Girl Scout outcomes and Developmental Assets, this toolkit allows users to speak in a more common language and to identify broader connections between Girl Scout programming and the goals of funders and other community partners that use the Search Institute’s Assets framework.


Girl Scouting Works: The Alumnae Impact Study

New Research Affirms Lifetime Benefits of Girls’ Participation in Girl Scouting 



New York, N.Y. — According to a new Girl Scout Research Institute report, Girl Scouting Works: The Alumnae Impact Studywomen who were Girl Scouts as children display significantly more positive life outcomes than non-Girl Scout alumnae.

Approximately one in every two adult women (49%) in the U.S. has at some point been a member of Girl Scouts; the average length of time a girl spends in Girl Scouting is four years. There are currently an estimated 59 million Girl Scout alumnae living in the U.S.

The study, which was not identified to participants as a Girl Scout project, surveyed a sample of 3,550 women aged 18 and older, roughly half of whom were Girl Scout alumnae and half drawn from the general population. The sample was chosen to be representative of the US population in terms of race/ethnicity, household income, education, marital status, and type of residence.

Compared to non-alumnae, Girl Scout alumnae display significantly more positive life outcomes on several indicators of success. These success indicators include:

  • Perceptions of self. Of Girl Scout alumnae, 63% consider themselves competent and capable, compared to 55% of non-alumnae.
  • Volunteerism and community work. Of Girl Scout alumnae who are mothers, 66% have been a mentor/volunteer in their child’s youth organization, compared to 48% of non-alumnae mothers.
  • Civic engagement. Of Girl Scout alumnae, 77% vote regularly, compared to 63% of non-alumnae.
  • Education. Of Girl Scout alumnae, 38% have attained college degrees, compared to 28% of non-alumnae.
  • Income/socioeconomic status. Girl Scout alumnae report a significantly higher household income ($51,700) than non-alumnae ($42,200).

In addition to collecting quantitative data, the researchers conducted a series of live interviews with Girl Scout alumnae. Overall, alumnae say Girl Scouting was positive and rewarding for them. Former Girl Scouts:

  • Rate their Girl Scouting experiences very highly. The average rating among all alumnae on a 1–10 scale is 8.04.
  • Fondly recall their experiences in Girl Scouting. Fun, friendships, and crafts are the most frequently cited positive aspects of Girl Scouting.
  • Say they’ve received concrete benefits from Girl Scouts, such as being exposed to nature and having a safe place to try new things.
  • Actively recognize the influence of Girl Scouting on their lives. Three quarters of alumnae report that the Girl Scout experience has had a positive impact on their lives in general.

The positive effects of Girl Scouting seem particularly pronounced for women who were Girl Scouts longer, as well as for African American and Hispanic women.

“Girl Scouts turns 100 this year, and we couldn’t ask for a better birthday present than this kind of validation,” saysAnna Maria Chávez, chief executive officer, Girl Scouts of the USA. “We declared 2012 as the Year of the Girl to help bring attention to girls and the value of encouraging and supporting them. To strengthen that support beyond the boundaries of Girl Scouting, we’ve launched ToGetHerThere, with the goal of reaching gender-balanced leadership in one generation.

“One kind of support we know girls need is role models—successful older women they can learn from and emulate. There is no group of women better suited to do that than our Girl Scout alumnae. We’re asking them to join ouralumnae association and let us know if they’d be willing to visit schools and talk to girls who want to be leaders and may not be sure how to go about it. So Girl Scout, phone home. We need you.”

Learn more about Girl Scouting Works: The Alumnae Impact study, or to obtain a copy, visit To join the Girl Scout Alumnae Association (where you may also obtain a copy ofGirl Scouting Works), visit To learn more about ToGetHerThere—and to take the pledge to support girls and girls’ leadership—visit


About Girl Scouts of the USA

Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls, with 3.2 million girl and adult members worldwide. Girl Scouts is the leading authority on girls’ healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. The organization serves girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girl Scouts of the USA also serves American girls and their classmates attending American or international schools overseas in 90 countries. For more information on how to join, volunteer or reconnect with, or donate to Girl Scouts, call 800-GSUSA-4-U (212-852-8000) or



Collage of Outcomes Measurement Studies coversOur outcomes measurement studies of the past have assessed the impact of the Girl Scout program nationally, locally, and with specific initiatives. The below publications and tool kits have provided local Girl Scout councils with instruments for measuring the outcomes of the Girl Scout experience—sports, group, and resident camping—over the last decade. They have helped answer the question, Is Girl Scouting really making a difference?

These publications continue to be valuable tools for organizations in the youth sports, youth development, and resident camping fields.



Facts about Girl Scouting

See the Girl Scouts of the USA Fact Sheet (PDF) English | Spanish

Girl Scout Mission
Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.


100 Years

Founder Juliette Gordon Low organized the first Girl Scout Troop on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia.

An American Institution

Girl Scouts of the USA was chartered by the U.S. Congress on March 16, 1950.

Still Growing Strong

Today, there are 3.2 million Girl Scouts—2.3 million girl members and 890,000 adult members working primarily as volunteers.

Empowering Girls

In Girl Scouts, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Through a myriad of enriching experiences, such as extraordinary field trips, sports skill-building clinics, community service projects, cultural exchanges, and environmental stewardships, girls grow courageous and strong. Girl Scouting helps girls develop their full individual potential; relate to others with increasing understanding, skill, and respect; develop values to guide their actions and provide the foundation for sound decision-making; and contribute to the improvement of society through their abilities, leadership skills, and cooperation with others.

At Home and Abroad

Girls at home and abroad participate in troops and groups in more than 92 countries through USA Girl Scouts Overseas, and over 100 local Girl Scout councils offer girls the opportunity for membership across the United States.

An International Family

Through its membership in the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), Girl Scouts of the USA is part of a worldwide family of 10 million girls and adults in 145 countries.

A Pivotal Part of Women’s History

More than 59 million American women enjoyed Girl Scouting during their childhood—and that number continues to grow as Girl Scouts of the USA continues to inspire, challenge, and empower girls everywhere.