Happy 2017! We’re looking forward to a new year full of possibilities for our 40,000 girls across Greater LA. Through unique leadership and entrepreneurial opportunities*, our Girl Scouts develop traits and tools that propel them to become G.I.R.L.s (Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, Leaders).
Among these traits is greater civic engagement. From a young age, Girl Scouts show they’re community-minded through volunteering and activism. As adults, Girl Scout alumnae are more likely to vote than women who weren’t Girl Scouts. They’re also more likely to be involved in community service. (You can read more about the long-term impacts of Girl Scouting here.)
Improving the environment is one cause that motivates many of our Girl Scouts, and inspires them to take action. Troop Co-Leader Jane Brown tells us how girls from Troops 7925 and 15365 recently fought to make a difference in their own community.
At a packed Culver City Council meeting on Dec. 12, several Girl Scouts from Troops 7925 and 15365 were among the many young people who spoke persuasively for a proposed single-use polystyrene food container ban. A broad-based coalition of community, school, and environmental groups, led by local nonprofit Ballona Creek Renaissance, strove to make Culver City the 100th California municipality to pass a similar ordinance.
Polystyrene (also known as Styrofoam) is a petroleum product used to make hard plastics (like eating utensils), or expanded to create the airy foam used in food containers. The wind easily blows polystyrene into the environment where it breaks apart into small particles, and is mistaken for food by marine birds and fish. Polystyrene also contributes to pollution by clogging waterways.
Those who spoke in opposition to the ban were concerned about the increased financial burden placed on the city’s restaurant owners, who may have to pay more for take-out containers made from alternate materials.
The Girl Scouts and other students were received enthusiastically by the council members and audience. A number of them stood up and spoke about why they thought polystyrene should be banned, while others stood in support, some holding signs.
The council voted unanimously to direct city staff to draft an ordinance to ban polystyrene food containers in Culver City, which supporters hope will be approved in early 2017.
It was a great example for the girls about how local government works. They learned that they can make changes in their community when they step up and get involved.
Sounds like a win for everyone! Thank you, Jane, for sharing your Girl Scouts’ story. You can learn more about the Culver City decision here.
*Also, don’t forget 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts selling cookies! The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the premier business, financial, and economic education experience for girls. Get ready—GSGLA’s cookie season starts Jan. 29.