Building up young women for success
“Man Enough to be a Girl Scout.” That is the call to action, which I proudly support, for the Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma’s annual campaign encouraging men of our community to uplift young women in all areas that make Girl Scouts great, including STEM, life skills, outdoors experiences and entrepreneurship.
The Girl Scouts is a female-led organization that empowers young women for a lifetime of success. The first Girl Scouts group was founded in 1912, and the organization came to Oklahoma and the Cherokee Nation soon after, with troops beginning in Bartlesville in 1914. Today, Girls Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma covers 30 counties, including all of Cherokee Nation. Within our reservation, the organization serves more than 400 girls, and 20% of the members are tribal citizens.
In our Cherokee culture, we have always been a matrilineal society. We raise our young women to be strong, and we look to our women leaders for wisdom and guidance. These are shared values with our partners at the Girls Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma. Just last year, Cherokee Nation citizen Laurel Martich won one of the Girl Scouts’ highest honors, the Gold Award, for painting a mural illustrating the Cherokee seven clan system in the Rogers County Cherokee Association community building.
As the father of a teenager who values her role models, I personally appreciate the work of the Girl Scouts. Girls need all types of mentors in their lives, including father figures who step up to support their interests and their dreams. The “Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout” campaign recognizes the need for men to support the Girl Scouts’ mission as community leaders, dads and volunteers. It is a competitive and fun way to raise funds for programs. It also spotlights how we can all play a pivotal role in a young person’s life, helping them build courage, confidence and character.
Another way that Girl Scouts advances Cherokee values is by encouraging girls to pursue STEM education and other skill for a wide range of careers. The Cherokee people have always believed in the value of education. Girls in grades K-12 need space to explore their potential and be mentored by caring adults who instill them with hope.
Girls across the Cherokee Nation Reservation are active in numerous local Girl Scouts Council-sponsored activities, including Summer Resident Camp and Girl Scouts Beyond Bars for girls with mothers who are incarcerated. These programs help boost confidence, social skills and understanding of how to build healthy relationships.
The Girl Scouts’ mission perfectly aligns with the Cherokee value of improving the quality of life for the next seven generations. I hope you will join me in backing these future leaders of our tribe and community through a donation to this year’s “Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout” campaign. Support the campaign by visiting gseok.org/manenough.