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Beyond the Girl Scouts: 3 Groups that Foster Self Esteem in Girls

25 Jul 2014 – 10:48 PM EDT

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I have two daughters. My oldest daughter was in the Girl Scouts and was a cheerleader. She just graduated from Columbia University, the first in our family to attend an Ivy League school. My youngest daughter, Anika, is 11 years old. She was just accelerated from fifth grade to seventh grade. She is writing a book and has launched her own website, She hopes someday to make it into an organization to help benefit others.

In my 40s, I don’t believe I’ve accomplished nearly as much as my daughters already have. I certainly was not as poised and confident as they both are. But our daughters – yours and mine – are growing up in a different world, one that is focused more intently on empowering girls and teaching them that they can be and do anything. And they are taking the message to heart.

Girl Scouts is one of the oldest organizations in the country for girls, evolving from a small group of 18 girls in Savannah, Georgia focused on physical, mental and spiritual development to a 59-million-woman strong organization that supports diversity, inclusion, and empowerment. But girls today have a number of organizations they can turn to for inspiration. These three are worth discovering with your daughter:

  1. Girls Inc. This organization has been around since the industrial revolution, encouraging girls to be “strong, smart, and bold” and encouraging higher education.
  2. Girl Up. GirlUp is a United Nations organization promoting health, safety and education for every girl in the world. With 387,000 members and a huge number of resources for you and your daughter, this is a great organization for girl power.
  3. Girl Talk. This organization matches older high school teen women with younger, middle-school age teen girls to give younger girls someone to help them with positive mentoring.

In addition to these organizations, my daughter devours every issue of BYOU Magazine – a magazine dedicated to helping young girls grow up with healthy self-esteem.
Our daughters are living in a time where the story of what it means to be a woman can truly begin to change. All of our daughters are amazing; we just need to raise them to believe that and act on it.