Girl Scouts building Leadership and Learning Center to prepare mentors to lead girls to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Construction has begun on a 30,000 square foot, two-story Leadership and Learning Center at Girl Scouts of Central Indiana’s Camp Dellwood on the west side of Indianapolis. The $7 million facility will equip adult mentors with skills to help girls overcome the challenges they face today.
According to the Girl Scout Research Institute’s study called “The State of Girls in Indiana,” Hoosier girls rank 36th out of 50 states on an overall index of well-being that includes measures of girls’ physical health and safety, economic well-being, education, emotional health, and extracurricular activities. Furthermore, 1 in 7 girls in Indiana experiences neighborhood violence.
“It’s time for our community to rally in support of girls,” said Deborah Hearn Smith, CEO of Girl Scouts of Central Indiana. “Our world has changed, and we need a place for adult mentors to learn and share ideas to help girls succeed in life. When girls succeed, so does society.”
Denny Sponsel, president of RJE Business Interiors, is the volunteer chair for the capital campaign to build the Leadership and Learning Center. “I’m convinced that we can do better for our girls and for our community,” said Sponsel. “Frankly, when so many individuals, families and communities are struggling to overcome economic and social challenges, there is no wiser long-term investment than in the powerful and emerging human asset – our girls. Girls represent our greatest under-utilized talent pool and the one with the greatest potential for the future. Investing in them will produce the highest return in economic development and social progress.”
The center will feature space for education opportunities, volunteer services, and retail sales. It will also serve as the administrative hub for Girl Scouts of Central Indiana. Said Hearn Smith, “the Leadership and Learning Center is critical to ensuring the future success of volunteers who make a positive impact on girls’ lives.”
The Girl Scout movement has been committed to including all girls since it was founded in 1912. “Our community may not realize how much work we do with girls and women in economically challenged areas,” said Hearn Smith. For the past several years, Girl Scout staff has served as role models for girls in disadvantaged areas while teaching them leadership skills. Staff members also recruit and equip volunteers to provide the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to girls in these communities.
According to Hearn Smith, “Thirty percent of girls in our community come from single-income and / or financially unstable families who need our support. When the mothers from these families volunteer for our organization, not only do they impact the lives of girls’, but these women also learn valuable skills that translate to the workforce.”
The local Girl Scout organization leased space in downtown Indianapolis for decades and moved to another leased space in the Waterfront Office Park in 2010. “It is time to invest in the future of Girl Scouts by providing a permanent home to support the girls we serve,” said Hearn Smith. “Our community needs women to grow and prosper. And Girl Scouts, with 103 years of proven success, is the preeminent organization to equip girls and women to conquer the challenges of the 21st century.”
We’re Girl Scouts
We’re 2.8 million strong—2 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe girls can change the world. It began over 100 years ago with one woman, Girl Scouts’ founder Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low, who believed in the power of every girl. She organized the first Girl Scout troop on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, and every year since, we’ve made her vision a reality, helping girls discover their strengths, passions, and talents. Today we continue the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. We’re the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. And with programs for girls from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to do something amazing. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit girlscoutsindiana.org or call 855.GSCIN.4U.
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