Spotlight on Impact: Girls Scouts of Maine
Last year, with funding from MWF, Girl Scouts of Maine initiated an innovative curriculum, Sharing the Wealth: Leading Girls to Financial Literacy. The aim of the proposal was to train volunteer troop leaders in Androscoggin and Kennebec Counties to deliver the program to Girl Scouts in their areas. Girls Scouts of Maine chose this target area due to high rates of both unemployment and children living in poverty and declines in median income.
Sharing the Wealth gives girls and volunteers the skills and knowledge to have greater confidence in themselves and their ability to make sound financial choices. The training complements the hands-on training provided by the Girl Scout Cookie Program, the largest girl-led business in the world.
The Girl Scout mission is to create girls of courage, confidence and character. They work to reduce bullying, and increase self-esteem, body image, self-awareness and leadership experience.
Statistics cited in their grant application show that girls see a future where they are financially independent.
- 96% of girls expect that they will be able to provide for their families
- 95% of girls expect they will own a home someday
- 87% expect they will give back to their communities
Yet only 12% of girls feel “very confident” making financial decisions.
Implementation of Sharing the Wealth encountered some barriers that included overcoming longstanding notions that financial literacy is for others, that it requires significant ability in mathematics, and is beyond the reach of the average person. Many troop leaders initially felt unsure of their ability to learn new and valuable financial literacy skills, and to pass them on to girls within their troops.
A survey of volunteers showed that 75% of volunteers were Girl Scouts themselves. Those who had spent more than three years as a Girl Scout were more likely to vote, have a higher level of education, and make more money. Despite these positive life outcomes, volunteers do not have a high level of confidence in their financial skills and knowledge.
Over the course of the project, 40 adult Girl Scout volunteers received training in the Sharing the Wealth: Leading Girls to Financial Literacy curriculum helping reach upwards of 400 girls in the first year.
Participants reported an overwhelmingly positive response to Sharing the Wealth, reporting increased confidence both in their own financial skills and understanding and in their ability to train girls in these skills. Girl Scouts has a 73% retention rate of their volunteers, many of whom are mothers of girls in their troops. Changing the financial literacy and skills of troop leaders and other volunteers will continue to have impact years and generations to come.
Posted 10.12.2016 under News and Resources