By Faye Rivkin

More than two million girls are Girl Scouts, and more than 59 million American women were Girl Scouts as kids. Plus:

• 10 of 17 women (59%) in the US Senate are former Girl Scouts.
• 45 of 75 women (60%) in the House of Representatives are former Girl Scouts.
• 54% of all women business owners are former Girl Scouts.
• 76% of Girl Scout alumnae say Girl Scouts had a positive impact on their lives.

I found my Brownie pin last week, and the timing was perfect, as I’m now one of the co-troop leaders of Brownie Troop #10281 in Reservoir Hill, a neighborhood in Baltimore City.

If I did the math right, I received my pin in 1978, during meetings in the lunchroom at Church Lane Elementary in Randallstown, Maryland. I doubt I thought much about its significance then; I was just happy to be with my friends and do fun things to earn badges, oh and to sell cookies.

Today, my eight new best friends, precocious 7- and 8-year olds, come together from a wide range of experiences and socioeconomic backgrounds, to have fun and develop the skills they need to contribute to their schools, their neighborhood and the larger community, now and well into the future.

I’m excited (and a tiny bit scared) to be doing for them what my troop leaders did for me. Girl Scouting taught me to speak up for myself, developing my courage, confidence and character, i.e. the skills all girls need to be leaders. Without my years in Girl Scouts, I’m not sure I would have taken the path I did, getting a degree in chemistry and having the courage to change careers several times till I found the one I loved, one that focuses on the sciences and technology.

Statistics show reduced numbers of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) fields. But my lovely ladies have ignored that statistic, and have chosen to start their Girl Scout year off on a scientific journey that will teach them to be responsible stewards for the earth. We, the leaders of Troop #10281, are going to do our part to get them interested and keep them there.

Were you part of something that helped form the adult you are today? Were you a Girl Scout, Boy Scout or member of another organization, and if so, are your kids involved today? Feel free to share your experiences below.

About Faye:

Faye Rivkin is a technical copywriter who has been writing about the complexities of technology and science since 2001. Her BS in Chemistry from the University of Delaware and MA in non-fiction writing from Johns Hopkins give her the right mix of technical know-how and storytelling flair to tell a story that grabs and keeps her readers’ attention. She makes her home in Baltimore with her husband and their dog George.