Supporting Our Girls Through Building Courage, Confidence, and Character

Last Updated by Cathy Ritchie, Deborah Hearn Smith on

Girl Scouting has for more than 100 years been dedicated to expanding the horizons for girls. Allowing girls to meet their full potential has been our organization’s mission since we were founded. It concerns us that in recent State of Girls in Indiana research, we see that our work is needed now more than ever.

The study was conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute and says that girls in Indiana rank 36th out of 50 states on an overall index of well-being that includes measures of girls’ physical health and safety, economic well-being, education, emotional health, and extracurricular activities.

In Indiana, about one-third of school-age girls are overweight, and roughly one in seven has experienced neighborhood violence. Girl Scouts of Central Indiana takes the health, safety and well-being of girls very seriously. Girls need their basic needs covered before they can excel in academics.

Girl Scouts is a leader in advocating for healthier lifestyles for girls. We partner with organizations such as Indiana State University, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Indiana Fever to teach girls about healthy eating and fitness activities, offer countless opportunities for girls to learn and have fun outdoors at our camp properties, and continue to offer self-defense classes for girls of all ages.

We believe that if you teach a girl to have fun while being physically active, she’ll continue that behavior throughout her life.

Girls living in the state of Indiana are also struggling in academics. Only 37 percent of fourth grade Hoosier girls are proficient in reading and only one-third of our 8th-grade girls are proficient in math.

Girl Scouts helps girls with their reading skills when they become members in kindergarten. Our materials are written age-appropriately and are engaging for even our youngest members.

Research-based activities help girls develop an interest in STEM in a safe, girl-centered environment. Girl Scouts of Central Indiana was awarded three grants from Motorola and Girl Scouts of the USA to support three robotics teams for local Girl Scouts this season. We’ve found that girls love robotics because they can work in teams.

Girl Scouts partners on aviation program activities at regional airports like the Greenwood Airport and the Purdue Airport. As a matter of fact, we have terrific partnerships with STEM departments in universities across the state.

Indiana University hosts an informatics camp for girls to explore various areas of computer technology, along with science day at their Kokomo campus for girls to explore engineering and chemistry. Girls explore wind turbines and geothermal heating and cooling systems at Taylor University. Purdue University offers a weeklong technology summer camp just for Girl Scouts. Indiana State University’s school of technology annually hosts workshops for girls. IU East’s school of nursing hosts a day camp, and the list goes on and on.

Girl Scouts also attend space camp and a robotics spring break program. In many cases, girls have fun and don’t even realize they’re learning science, like the Science of Bowling where girls learn the mechanics of the lanes and ball return terminals and the physics behind the sport.

And besides these partnerships, Girl Scouts of Central Indiana operates the Math and Science Center at our own Camp Dellwood in Indianapolis and two STEM vans that travel across our 45 counties to provide activities to girls.

While the numbers in the state of Indiana are grim, data is not destiny! As you can see, Girl Scouts has several initiatives to help build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place – including STEM and healthy living. And women who were Girl Scouts as girls are more likely to graduate from high school and college and pursue a post-secondary degree and will have a higher annual household income than non-alumnae.

You can help Girl Scouts of Central Indiana shape generations of women to become leaders in tech companies, healthcare, industry, government, and so much more. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or enroll your daughter, visit or call 855.GSCIN.4U.

Girls need your support! We need to help them excel, not just survive.


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Deborah Hearn Smith leads the largest girl-serving non-profit organization in the state. Girl Scouts of Central Indiana annually serves nearly 36,000 girls and 18,000 adult volunteers in 45 counties. Smith holds a bachelor’s degree from Kentucky State University, Master of Business Administration degree from Indiana Wesleyan University, and Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Martin University.


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Cathy Ritchie has more than 20 years of experience leading Girl Scout council operations. She ensures that Girl Scout opportunities are available to all girls in the 45 county jurisdiction of Girl Scouts of Central Indiana. Ritchie earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Trinity University and has done graduate work in Parks and Recreation Administration at Texas A&M.


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