CircleAround is the publishing arm of Girl Scouts of the USA. Launched in June 2020, this digital destination serves as a community, resource, and source of inspiration for women while upholding the values of the Girls Scouts. This year, as Girl Scouts of the USA celebrates its 110th anniversary, CircleAround has been the leading platform to highlight this monumental occasion and spotlight the many groundbreaking achievements of the organization since its inception 110 years ago.
Ahead, Jenny Alonzo, former Girl Scouts Board Member and current Board Chair of CircleAround, speaks on the importance of this 110th anniversary and the important role Circle Around plays.
What is the mission and what are the guiding principles of the Girl Scouts?
The Girl Scouts is the world’s preeminent leadership development program for girls that provides a proven workforce pipeline to corporations and delivers values-driven managers and leaders to the world. The most colloquial way to explain the Girl Scouts mission is to say that girl scouting exists to create a safe place for girls to learn without judgment, without limits, and with a commitment to service of self and others. It is a learning environment that promotes individuality and creativity. It encourages them to approach life with confidence, courage, and character so they can be the leaders we’ll need in the future.
What role does CircleAround play in fulfilling the mission of the Girl Scouts?
CircleAround is also extending the legacy of the women who created Girl Scouts. We empower women by giving them stories about other bold and innovative women. If you can see it, you can be it. We aim to elevate conversations that offer important and unique perspectives to women in America. We provide inspiring examples of Girl Scouts and alums who are doing great things and who see that their passionate work has roots in the Girl Scout experiences they’ve had. We find value in ensuring that women with service-driven values are entering the workforce of tomorrow. I want everyone to know that Girl Scouts and CircleAround share the same values. We can inspire and support each other. When women visit CircleAround, their engagement allows us to support Girl Scouts through our ad revenue. And women should know that we see them, we understand them, and we are here to support them. We want to be their trusted resource – their friend.
How does CircleAround use its mission and guiding principles in its content?
Every story we tell must fit within the Girl Scouts core values of honesty, courage, service, and respect. Girl Scouts, current and alums, across the globe are changing lives, supporting communities, and inventing products that better society. We’re here to bring those stories forward so women can see that service and a commitment to others — a founding pillar of the Girl Scouts since 1912 — is what makes our society better and stronger. As individuals, we are part of a bigger community of purpose and through Girl Scouting, girls learn the importance of civic engagement while enjoying the rewards of helping others, which also enriches their lives.
What does the Girl Scouts envision for the next 110 years and what role will CircleAround continue to play to fulfill this mission?
The Girl Scouts organization has been ahead of the major social issues that the world is wrestling with today, particularly diversity and inclusion. Before other membership organizations, corporate America, and politicians took a stand for diverse representation, the Girl Scouts had a well-established leadership position on equity, inclusion, and belonging. Think about it. Girl Scouts marched for the right to vote and fought for girls of color to have troops in the hostile social environment of the early 1900s. They established the first African American troop in 1917, troops for girls with disabilities in NYC in 1917, and organized Girl Scout troops in Japanese Internment Camps in 1942. We see CircleAround continuing to tell these fascinating, thoughtful, and thought-provoking stories. Women have been on an amazing trajectory and are coming into their own power. We’re excited to see how they flourish for the next 110 years.
The phrase “I owe it to the women who came before me” in your video is a powerful one and very descriptive of the legacy of the Girl Scouts community. It’s also a good reminder to reflect on what’s to come. Therefore, what legacy do you want CircleAround women of today to leave for the next generation?
I would like the CircleAround women of today to continue to create a better social environment for today’s girls. We support that common goal in CircleAround by delivering a robust and thriving online media site that is unapologetically ALL women first. Women are multi-faceted. They take care of each other, their families, their careers, and their communities. We want them to be seen, heard, and learn from each other. We hope that women, 110 years from now, will learn more about how others have creatively supported all girls and that they will continue to have this place to call their own.
You continue to work with many impressive women in the Girl Scouts Community. As a former Girl Scouts Board Member and now as Chair of CircleAround, what is one fond memory from these experiences you would like to share?
I grew up in one of the boroughs of NYC and I traveled a lot throughout my career and met people from all walks of life. But serving on the Girl Scouts National Board allowed me to meet amazing women I would have never met, women from all parts of the country who share my values. I’m about family first and I love traditions. I’m about quality friendships. I’m about leading a life with integrity. I’m about supporting other women 100%. The women I’ve met while serving on these boards are also just like that. We’re not perfect… but we’re good people who want a better world for our kids and our kid’s kids. So, my fondest memories are about when we get together and, after exhausting long days prior to and during the board meetings, we get to sit back and talk, just get to know each other. That time is priceless. It opens me up to other views and I see right in front of my eyes that although we may have different life experiences and backgrounds, we have way more in common than others may think. This experience is at the heart of Girl Scouts and CircleAround.
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