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Girl Advocacy: A Step-by-Step Guide from Badgerland

The Time is Now. Help a girl find her voice.

Using this easy-to-follow guide, leaders and girls will dive deep into the process of becoming an advocate. You’ll learn how to build a movement and follow in the footsteps of incredible leaders like Juliette Gordon Low, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Marley Dias. You’ll also learn how to incorporate your advocacy into your Girl Scout Leadership Experience, complete journeys, earn badges, and work on your highest awards. 

How the Guide Works

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GET STARTED

Our easy-to-use guide is divided into 6 parts - within each section, there are different activities. Do the parts in order!

WATCH the 25-minute webinar that walks you through the Guide!

Download the complete Badgerland Guide to Girl Advocacy

or  View the 6 sections and their related activities below.

Part 1: Exploring Identity
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Think about the first time something you saw happening in your community that made you feel strongly. Perhaps you were delighted the first time you participated in a cookie sale fundraiser and wanted to make sure everyone had just as much fun. Perhaps you were angry the first time you saw someone being excluded because of their race, religion, or gender. Perhaps you were sad the first time you saw someone separated from a loved one. These feelings are closely associated with your personal values and individual identity. Identity maps help us label the things that are most important to who we are.

For this section of the Advocacy Guide, do all three activities in order to begin exploring your Girl Scout’s identity – who she is and how her identity is connected to her personal values. She’ll use her identity and personal values to identify a personal issue for which to advocate. 

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Part 2: Personal Values

Now that girls have identified themselves and the things most important to them, they can focus on the issues happening in their communities that make them feel strongly. These activities can be done as a group, in small groups, or individually. Discovering something you care strongly about can be a very personal experience, so it may be best to take a “pulse check” of your group and assess how best to proceed as they identify a cause of interest.

Identifying an issue can sometimes bring up sensitive issues like race, gender, emotional intelligence, violence, bullying, and more. Girl Scouts produces an excellent resource for leaders, parents, and volunteers to help facilitate these conversations in an age-appropriate, girl-led space. Read Raising Awesome Girls here: https://www.girlscouts.org/en/raising-girls.html.

For this section of the Advocacy Guide, do all three activities in order to assist your Girl Scout(s) as she makes personal connections to issues in her life and the lives of others. 

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Part 3: Learn More

At this point, your Girl Scouts have learned a lot about who they are and what they’re ready and willing to achieve. They have discovered their passion for change and that’s the first step to making something happen. In this next section, she’ll learn and use fact-finding techniques and research to compile as much information as possible about her chosen issue. Advocates need to be well-informed so that they can answer questions, persuade fence-sitters, and attract supporters.

Imagine she’s a journalist, writing a news story for the local paper she just read! She wants to learn all of the facts to make sure her message is accurate and easily understood. Let’s get started.

For this section of the Advocacy Guide, do all three activities in order to assist your Girl Scout(s) as she makes personal connections to issues in her life and the lives of others. 

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Part 4: Build Momentum

You’ve come a long way, baby! Now that you’ve identified yourself, your values, and one issue that you’re passionate about, it’s time to start building momentum and attracting supporters to your cause. How do you do that? That’s up to you! For this section of the guide, let girls choose their own adventure. Let girls select activities that will help her gather supporters, trend on social media, raise awareness, influence decision-makers, and raise funds in support of her Big Goal. What’s the Big Goal? Pop back to the Problem-Map she completed in Part 3. The last part of her Problem-Map asks: “How can I make a difference if I have 10 friends, $10,000 and lawmakers to help me?” This section of the Advocacy Guide will likely take the most time to complete. Don’t rush it. Decide on a goal, even a Big Goal, and work toward it. Change takes time but is completely worth it. Support your girls in their advocacy dreams and watch them shine!

For this section of the Advocacy Guide, you’ll choose the activities that will help your movement gain support. Due to the nature of some of these activities, which may include contributing to social media or discussing sensitive issues, all activities include suggested Girl Scout levels.  

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Part 5: Affect Change

Girl Scout, you are incredible. Look where the road to becoming an advocate has taken you. By now, you’ve seen your issue grow from a piece of your personal identity to a piece of the identity of so many supporters and followers. That’s an amazing achievement and it’s time to celebrate that. Reflect on what you’ve done to come to the last section of the Advocacy Guide and all that you’ve learned along the way. The biggest step is yet to come – making change happen.

For each of these activities, girls will need to identify the policymaker that can turn her advocacy into action. If the issue is at a school, that person may be the superintendent, the school board, or the principal. If the issue is in a city, it may be the city council or the mayor or the chief of police. If the issue is a national one, it may be her senator or U.S. representative. No matter where the issue falls, activists will receive the most help if they reach out to law makers, not law enforcers or law judgers. Anyone who holds legislative office can help in these scenarios.

Before you venture into a new territory like a school board or city council meeting, you may wish to attend one without volunteering to speak. Check out the “Guide to Local Government” section in the back of the Advocacy Guide to gauge the best place for your girls to witness the democratic process.

For this section of the Advocacy guide, you will choose one or more of the activities to make real connections with policymakers. Remember the problem she was trying to solve back in Part 3? How can she make a difference if lawmakers help her? Now is the time to find out. 

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Part 6: Nevertheless, She Persisted

No matter what happens with your legislators, laws, and policies, you’ve made it to the final section of the Badgerland Girl’s Guide to Advocacy. On behalf of the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin – Badgerland Council, we are all incredibly proud of the work you’ve accomplished and the leadership you’ve demonstrated. Making change happen isn’t easy, as you’ve discovered. It takes more than hard work and passion. It also takes fortitude and time, support and money.

In this last section of the Guide, do both activities to reflect on all that you’ve accomplished and plan for what’s next in your movement.

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