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Girl Scouts embrace Ban Bossy pledge

East County Troop 41122 scouts, leaders share their thoughts on the national campaign


by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: LISA K. ANDERSON - Launched by LeanIn.org and Girl Scouts of the United States of America, Ban Bossy is a national public service campaign that encourages girls' leadership.

By middle school, girls are 25 percent less likely than boys to say they like taking the lead.

A study reveals that parents of seventh graders place a greater importance on leadership for boys than for girls.

And between elementary school and high school, girls’ self-esteem drops 3.5 times more than that of boys.

Enter Ban Bossy, a national public service campaign seeking to counteract these statistics.

Sheryl Sandberg’s LeanIn.org and Girl Scouts of the United States of America recently kicked off the Ban Bossy pledge to encourage girls’ leadership.

“The girl with the courage to raise her hand in class becomes the woman with the confidence to assert herself at work,” the campaign states.

“As parents, grandparents and caretakers, there are small changes each of us can make that have a big impact on girls’ confidence and ambitions. The time to start building female leaders is now.”

Gathered for their bimonthly meeting on the second floor of a Gresham church building, East County Troop 41122 members shared their thoughts on the campaign.

The five junior Girl Scouts and their leaders, along with a troop mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, said embracing the Ban Bossy campaign was a natural fit.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: LISA K. ANDERSON - Front left to right: Biruktawit Rush, Laurie Noyes, Merisa Taylor and Divine Nijimbere. Back left to right: Haley Peterslie, Linda Noyes, Christie Peterslie, Sammy Peterslie and Ivey Schlegel.

“A boy can talk about what he’s good at and we think of him as a leader” said Ivy Schlegel, a Girl Scout leader for 27 years. “If a girl says, ‘I’m a good reader,’ we say, ‘Oh, look at that girl! She thinks she knows everything.’ But you can be a leader in such a way that isn’t bossy and conceited. It’s about saying, ‘This is who I am and I’m proud of it.’”

Linda Noyes, a leader for six years, agreed.

“Training girls to step up to the plate and become leaders is what we do in Girl Scouts,” she said.

According to the campaign, calling girls bossy can discourage their leadership. Bossy can become a precursor to words such as “aggressive,” “angry” and “too ambitious” that plague strong female leaders.

“It’s no wonder that by middle school, girls are less interested in leadership roles than boys, a trend that continues into adulthood,” the campaign states.

Through Girls Scouts, Troop 41122 has learned how to share leadership roles; develop customer service skills by selling cookies; address conflict in a healthy, positive way; contribute to the community through volunteer opportunities; and organize an event — most recently a Mardi Gras celebration attended by six area troops.

Thanks to their experiences, Troop 41122 members — Divine Nijimbere, Merisa Taylor, Laurie Noyes, Biruktawit Rush and Sammy Peterslie — are proud to call themselves leaders.

Approximately 64 percent of today’s civic, corporate and political women leaders in the United States were once Girl Scouts, including First Lady Michelle Obama, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, astronaut Sally Ride and anchorwoman Barbara Walters.

Ban Bossy inspired Laurie, a fifth-grader at Kelly Creek Elementary and troop member, to create colorful digital artwork on her iPhone to illustrate the campaign.

She donned a bright red button with the campaign’s logo.

“I really like ‘Ban Bossy,’” Laurie said. “If a boy was asserting himself, he’d be called a leader, but if a girl was asserting herself, she could be called bossy. It’s nice (the campaign) is helping girls to become leaders and to learn about leadership.”

Bossy people push you around and push you past your limits, Laurie said, whereas leaders will encourage you and build your self confidence.

“Ban Bossy shows that girls can do anything boys can do, even though it doesn’t always feel like it,” said Merisa, a fifth-grader at Highland Elementary School. “We girls couldn’t do things like vote in the past, but it’s good we have the chance now. It’s really nice to learn the difference between leadership and being bossy.”

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: LAURIE NOYES - Kelly Creek Elementary School fifth-grader Laurie Noyes created this image to illustrate the Ban Bossy campaign.

So what’s the difference?

“Leaders will find your comfort zone and help you to stretch yourself,” said Sammy, a fifth-grader at Ventura Park Elementary. “Most people who sound bossy don’t mean to be — it’s in the tone of their voices. Sometimes they’re actually trying to be leaders.”

Divine, a fifth-grader at Highland Elementary, said a leader helps create a safe, respectful and responsible environment.

Bullies or bossy people will try to find your weaknesses, while leaders try and find ways to lift you up, said Biruktawit, a fifth-grader at Phonics Phactory.

While Troop 41122 already embraces the tenets of Ban Bossy, Schlegel and Noyes said the troop would work through some of the campaign’s leadership activities, such as the GIRL problem-solving protocol.

Later this year, the girls will graduate to the cadet level and take on new leadership roles at the middle school level.

They have Sammy’s older sister, Haley Peterslie, to look up to as an example.

“We are proud to be Girl Scouts,” Schlegel said.

And it’s a sentiment echoed by the entire room.

To learn more about the campaign and to support girls’ leadership, visit banbossy.com, girlsleadership.org, leanin.org or rachelsimmons.com.

To support the pledge on social media channels, use the hashtag #banbossy.

Leadership tips for girls

from Leanin.org and Girls Scouts of the USA

• Speak up in class.

• Stop apologizing before you speak.

• Challenge yourself.

• Ask for help.

• Don’t do everyone else’s work.

• Speak up in friendship.

• Trust your inner voice.

• Change the world.

• Remember: It’s not always easy to speak up, but it’s worth it.

• Practice.




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