When you think of the Girl Scouts, you might think of cookies, but young women in Girl Scouts today are about much more — they are learning leadership and entrepreneurial skills.
On Saturday, Texas Woman’s University, in partnership with local business sponsors and the TWU Enactus group, presented “Badging for the Future,” a daylong workshop focused on the skill set needed to be a wiser woman in today’s rapidly changing world.
Enactus — formerly Students in Free Enterprise — means tapping into entrepreneurial spirit and using positive business concepts with action as a team to make a difference and strive for a more sustainable world, according to Sandra Gonzales, president of the TWU chapter.
Enactus is a perfect match for the Girl Scouts, and members are happy to be part of such a learning experience, Gonzales said.
Girl Scouts from all over the North Texas area were in attendance Saturday, making connections with one another for the first time.
Vicki Coolidge, an 11-year-old Scout, said she and other Scouts are going to a camp next weekend with some of the same girls.
“It’s our first time meeting today [Saturday], so it will be good to know some already when we see them again,” Vicki said during a break from classes.
The classes — covering budgeting, marketing and finance — are exactly what troop leaders Molly James and Christina Reeves-Shull think the girls need.
“We are planning a long-term high school trip for the girls in a few years, so the classes on how to budget and plan for the future were very informative for them,” James said.
Their troop of Cadets from Lucas is a group of 13 girls who started out in kindergarten.
With yearly cookie sales, marketing is something a lot of the girls know about.
“One of my favorite things today was the concept of having my own business,” said Isabel Zabel, a 12-year-old from Mesquite. “Selling cookies and it being my own business … that was very fun, I thought.”
Several concepts in marketing were taught Saturday, including the philanthropic aspect.
Girls were amazed by the examples of companies such as Toms Shoes and Newman’s Own, which give back to the community when someone purchases their products.
Close to the end of the day, girls were getting tired but troop leaders felt the experience was well worth it.
“I was in Girl Scouts when I grew up and I believe in them,” said Joanne Cohon, a Wylie troop leader who came with three Cadets. “They have a message, and it’s to instill strong leadership [skills] into girls to help them become successful young women.”
The conference drew 112 Girl Scouts and 22 adults, according to registration information.
“Being here today — in a college setting, with older women mentoring younger women — is exactly what the Girl Scouts are all about,” Cohon said.
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885. Her e-mail address is email@example.com.