Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida is wholly committed to being a place where all girls and volunteers feel welcome, encouraged, and empowered. Our work on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is deeply rooted in our more than 100-year commitment to making the world a better place. The Girl Scout Promise and Law are built around respecting others, helping people at all times, and being a sister to every Girl Scout. These words inspire us as we denounce racism, violence, injustice, and inequity.
Our vision for Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida is to be just, fair, and inclusive; acting as a catalyst to drive equitable decision-making, resource allocation, and development of policies and practices across the council.
GSSEF formed an Equity Team in 2020 to introduce and implement ideas, information, and experiences that uphold our council’s unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We have brought volunteers and girls into the conversation to help ensure that we are appropriately fulfilling our guiding principles, which include:
Whether you're a parent/caregiver or Girl Scout troop leader, offering a safe space for your girl to talk about important issues is vital. Review these resources as you navigate discussions.
Volunteer Essentials: Engaging Girls & Families
Includes topics like creating a safe place for girls, communicating effectively with girls of any age, how to act when sensitive topics come up, volunteer policies and procedures (including non-discrimination policy, whistleblower procedures, and more).
Safety Activity Checkpoints
Pages 17-19 include helpful information about emotional safety, mental health, and equity.
Girl Scouting is a partnership between girls, volunteers, and families. To be responsive to girls’ needs and interests in challenging times where personal values and experiences may be part of a "safe space" conversation, we request that troop leaders seek permission from families first.
DEI Program Series
Focused on educating Girl Scouts on history and topics surrounding communities and identity groups they may or may not belong to. This will lead them to a greater understanding of these communities and their cultures, how our differences should be celebrated, their own identify, and how they can educate others.
Raising Awesome Girls webpage
Includes great resources on raising our girls to become leaders, helping her succeed in school, and helping her be healthy and happy.
Civil Rights History Trek
Presented by Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama
The following resources serve as a starting point for conversation and education.
Just a few months ago, I shared my thoughts about what was happening in our society and our commitment at Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida to be a positive force for change and progress when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion. I also shared the optimism and hope that I feel watching our young people work tirelessly to build a society that is truly equal for all people.
Over these months, much has happened. Nationally, Girl Scouts of the USA pledged to take a stand against racism. You can read and sign the pledge here. They have assembled leaders from across our Movement to work at the national level to help shape Girl Scouts’ commitment to DEI at all operational levels. I have raised my hand to be part of this work and look forward to being able to contribute in a meaningful way. They have formed a DEI/racial justice board advisory committee made up of members of the national board, council board chairs, GSUSA staff, and National Gold Award Girl Scouts to establish the vision, strategy, and accountability for the Girl Scout Movement. And they are partnering with external consultants to guide these efforts.
Locally, I am very proud of the work that has been done to date. In August, members of our GSSEF staff formed an Equity Team. This team spent the first several weeks talking about why this work was important and why each of us wanted to be part of it. We each committed to our own personal journey of learning. And we created a vision for DEI at GSSEF and developed a purpose statement and guiding principles for our work. I wanted to share those with you today.
Our vision for Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida is to be just, fair, and inclusive; acting as a catalyst to drive equitable decision-making, resource allocation, and development of policies and practices across the Council.
The purpose of the Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida Equity Team is to introduce and implement ideas, information, and experiences that uphold our Council’s unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Our Guiding Principles
Our work has only just begun. We have done a preliminary audit at GSSEF to identify some gaps and develop strategies to address those gaps. We have begun conversations with our colleagues about how we will collaboratively work toward our purpose.
Our Girl Experience Team has also been hard at work introducing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion experiences for girls. In August, we partnered with the Racial Equity Institute on a series of conversations with girls on this important topic. And in October, we launched a patch program that provided age-appropriate live experiences as well as activity packs for girls to do throughout the month. Both of these programs were very well received, and we look forward to providing more experiences for girls moving forward.
So what’s next? Well, we would love to invite our members into this important conversation. We want to hear from girls and their families, and from our volunteers, about their own experiences in Girl Scouts and what you would like to see from GSSEF as we work to ensure that all girls and volunteers feel welcome, encouraged, and empowered.
Joining us is easy! Simply register for one of the following sessions. You will receive an email link to participate once you have registered. Here are the details:
Monday, January 4, 6-7:30 p.m.
Registered Girl Scouts and Caregivers (Girls of all grade levels are welcome).
Tuesday, January 5, 6-7:30 p.m.
Registered Girl Scouts ONLY – Open to Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors.
Wednesday, January 6-7:30 p.m.
Registered Girl Scout ADULT Volunteers ONLY.
Can’t make it, but want to share your thoughts and ideas? Please feel free to email me at email@example.com. If you prefer to schedule time to talk with me personally, you can email Anna Laoretti at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will coordinate scheduling.
We look forward to sharing more with you in 2021!
Lisa Y. Johnson
Chief Executive Officer
Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida
Listening. Learning. Standing in Solidarity. These are the words that have resonated with me over the last couple of weeks as I have struggled with the realities of racism and injustice across our country. I am deeply saddened and troubled by recent events and, like many of you, I want to influence positive change in our community and be part of the solution. To the Black members of our Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida Community, I want you to know that I see you. And I care.
The other word that keeps coming to me is Hope. I am filled with hope as I see people of all ages and races come together and be united against racism and injustice. I am filled with hope when I see children and teenagers finding their voices and becoming advocates for themselves and for others. And I am filled with hope knowing that this generation of changemakers won’t stop until they live in a society that is equal for all people.
At Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida, we are committed to an anti-racist environment where all girls feel welcome, encouraged, and empowered. We recognize that there is work to be done and we will do that work. This is a time for honesty and for action. Whether it is raising our own awareness, showing compassion and empathy, condemning racial inequality and violence, or advocating for change, it will take all of us working together to make a true and lasting impact.
The works starts with us. With the full support of our Board of Directors, my team and I are committed to the work ahead. We will need your help as we work to figure out exactly what that looks like and how we will work together and hold one another accountable. We are ready to listen and learn. And we are ready to use our collective values and voices to make this world a better place.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and ideas as we navigate this together. We are exploring options for our Girl Scout community to come together to start the conversation and will be sharing that on our Social Media platforms. You can always reach me via email, at the office (561-815-1805) or on my cell (561-722-8000).
Lisa Y. Johnson
Chief Executive Officer
Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida