Our membership is enriched by the diversity of our region. Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital is an inclusive organization and welcomes all girls in Kindergarten through twelfth grade.
Attracting and Retaining Diverse Leadership
Creating Culturally-Responsive Opportunities for Girls
Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital is working to create fun, flexible program opportunities that reflect the needs and voices of girls across diverse communities. We have unique council patch programs like African Americans in Congress, CHICAS: Discovering Hispanic Heritage, and Including All Girls. For fifteen years, we’ve hosted Encuentro leadership conferences for Latina girls in grades 6-12.
Building Relationships in Our Communities
Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital strives to be a reliable and trusted partner for community and religious organizations across our region. We value our longstanding partnerships with churches of all denominations, mosques, synagogues, and local organizations and civic groups that share the values of the Girl Scout Promise and Law. We also encourage these organizations to increase opportunities for girls by hosting events. We urge our volunteers and staff to schedule events respectfully, with attention to the religious and cultural holidays celebrated by families in our diverse council.
Bringing Girl Scouting to Underserved Areas
For many years Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital has offered staff-led community-based camps throughout the region during school spring and summer breaks. These camps provide non-member girls with safe, fun places to learn about our Girl Scout traditions and programs while playing games, making crafts, and singing songs. Our council works intentionally to create more accessible opportunities for our diverse communities of girls.
Including Girls of All Abilities
Girl Scouts is for ALL girls, of ALL abilities. Inclusion is a top priority at Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital. We are proud that Christine Hoehl, in 2003, was the first Girl Scout Nation's Capital member with accommodations to earn the Gold Award. We strive to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for every girl and her family.
Our staff is committed to serving as resources and guides to ensure the participation of girls with disabilities. This is done by providing adaptive resources for girls and volunteers with disabilities, including American Sign Language interpreters and Braille translation; training and education on inclusion and disability awareness; and inclusion resources.
- To request a disability-related accommodation, such as an ASL interpreter, Braille document, or adaptive camping equipment, click here.
Girl Scout Inclusion Resources:
- Inclusion Short & Snappy
- Cultivate Respectful Disability Awareness
- Top Tips for an Inclusive Girl Scout Troop
External Websites/Resources for Engaging Girls with Disabilities:
- Kids Included Together
- Partners for Youth with Disabilities
- Corporation for National & Community Service – Disability Inclusion
For additional inclusion-related inquiries, please contact Customer Care at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reducing Economic Barriers
Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital is committed to bringing our leadership program to girls, from every zip code--regardless of their economic status. Girl Scout troops are funded by a combination of money earned through Council-sponsored entrepreneurial programs, group money-earning activities, and dues. Financial assistance is available so that all girls can participate in Girl Scout activities whenever financial considerations might otherwise hinder their participation. Our amazing girl entrepreneurship programs as well as direct donations help make it possible for all girls to participate fully in Girl Scouts! Your contribution can help ensure that we can continue our mission.
Our History of Diversity
Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts in 1912, during a time when racial segregation prevailed in many parts of the United States. Yet, African American troops formed as early as 1913. Our council, volunteers, and supporters were and remain determined to provide opportunities for all girls. For example, in the early 1940s, renowned civil rights activist and educator Mary McLeod Bethune helped start a Girl Scout troop at Logan Elementary School in Washington, DC. Bethune later brought that troop of African American girls to the White House to have tea with Eleanor Roosevelt! Troop leaders navigated a complicated system of segregation but found ways for their girls to camp and participate in outdoor activities.*
Overnight camping became a central focal point for volunteers who fought for equal opportunities for girls, and in 1955 Girl Scouts of the District of Columbia finally ended the policy of segregation at council-owned camps.
In 1956, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called the Girl Scouts "a force for desegregation" as volunteers continued to press for adopting policies that would ensure equal treatment for all girls. For example, in 1960, African American troop leaders Eurselene J. Martin and Lenora Smith pushed Nation's Capital to only work with businesses that did not discriminate against troops like theirs.
Virginia McGuire, the original organizer of District VII in 1934, later became the first African American member of the board of directors at Nation's Capital. In 1972, the council celebrated Ethel Harvey, the first African American president of any Girl Scout council. Progress continued in 1978 as Nation's Capital became the first council to adopt an affirmative action plan to increase non-white participation in leadership roles (volunteer, staff, and board). In 1979, the council started a "Self-Evaluation Committee" required to examine council policies every six years to identify places where change was still needed to address racial inequality.
We are proud of how far our organization has come. As we reflect on our past and look toward the future, we continue to find innovative ways to serve all girls.
Resources for Troop Leaders and Volunteers
Scouts of the USA Civic Engagment
- Girl Scouts of the USA Advocacy
- Earn the Racial injustice patch from GSCM [PDF]
- Kids Included Together Inclusion Resources
- Latino Center
- American Latino Museum
- Chinese American Museum in Washington, DC
- National Museum of American History
- Talking About Race from the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture
- Center for Racial Justice and Education