INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Approximately one in every two adult women in the U.S. has been a member of Girl Scouts, at some point in their lives. The statistic proves true among some of the highest ranking women in Indiana and its state capitol, Indianapolis.
“I can still recite the pledge,” exclaims Indiana Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann. “On my honor I will try to do my duty to God and my country, help other people at all times and obey the Girl Scout laws."
Ellspermann spent as many as five years as a Girl Scout from elementary school until eighth grade. As an adult, she served as a Girl Scout Troop leader for her two daughters.
"Of course we all remember selling Girl Scout cookies and how it got you over the hump of knocking on that first door,” says Ellspermann. “What a difference you knew you were making by selling those cookies."
Allison Melangton, past CEO of the Indianapolis Super Bowl 46 Host committee and current president of the Indiana Sports Corp, is also a former Girl Scout.
“This is my girl scout sash,” Melangton says as she lifts the sash. “Every once in a while I take it out and look at it to remind myself I can accomplish certain things."
Melangton spent eight years in Girl Scouts, starting with Brownies. As an adult, she is credited with running the most engaging and successfully organized Super Bowl in history.
"When I run the Super Bowl or run major sporting events, we really focus on trying to do things in the community,” says Melangton. “Certainly, I got that from Girl Scouts."
Girl Scouts are more likely to earn college degrees, vote, volunteer and have higher household incomes, according to a large-scale research study conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute in 2012.
Of Girl Scout alumnae, 38 percent have attained college degrees, compared to 28 percent of non-alumnae. These differences are especially pronounced for women who were Girl Scouts for three years or more. Of longer-term alumnae, 48 percent have attained at least a college degree, compared to 31 percent of shorter-term alumnae. Longer-term alumnae have a higher household income ($53,200) than shorter-term alumnae ($42,200).
The Girl Scouts organization has placed special focus on science, technology, engineering and math, the so-called "STEM" careers. Girls are given the opportunity to earn badges that build technology skills, like web design, and financial literacy.
Community service has remained a hallmark of the Girl Scouts. Whitley Wynns, 24, spent ten years in Girl Scouts and graduated from the program. Her final community service project –replanting the peace garden in downtown Indianapolis – earned her a prestigious Gold Award, the highest achievement in girl scouting.
“I have noticed that when I do say 'yeah, I did Girl Scouts and I graduated,' I always get a reaction of 'oh wow,'" says Wynns. Wynns, a graduate of IU’s School of Arts and Sciences, is now working on her masters at IUPUI.
"They all share a passion to serve, a passion to make a difference in the world around them,” says Deborah Hearn Smith, CEO of Girl Scouts of Central Indiana. “In different arenas they chose that passion and followed their dream."
Coming up November 12th, the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana will host the Indiana Lt. Governor's Leadership Luncheon on Tuesday, November 12, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Indiana Roof Ballroom. The event will honor Elaine Bedel, CFP, president and owner, Bedel Financial Consulting, Inc.; Judy O'Bannon, chairman of The O'Bannon Publishing Company and former first lady of the State of Indiana; Shanel Poole, executive director / founder, GLAM Inc.; and Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, spiritual leader, Congregation Beth-El Zedeck.
Last year's Indiana Lt. Governor's Leadership Luncheon raised more than $244,000.
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