At Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, we strongly believe in the efficacy and importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) education.

We also acknowledge that the prospect of engaging with these ideas can be daunting when it comes to working with your Girl Scouts, especially if you don’t feel like an expert on the topic yourself.

Let’s first address the question, “What is DEI?” Diversity and Inclusion are fairly straightforward: respecting a variety of identities and making sure everyone can have a seat at the table when it comes to ideas and decision making. Equity refers to an equality of outcomes, not just opportunities. In practice, this could mean offering extra assistance to those who face barriers to Girl Scouting, such as providing financial assistance or creating materials in a variety of languages.

To get started on your troop’s journey to make the world a better place, we’ve gathered up a few ways you can dive in.

Educate Yourself and Your Family

Whether you try a new-to-you food that highlights another culture, watch a movie that portrays race in a unique way, or listen to an interview of someone that identifies as a different gender than you, the first step to helping your girls learn and grow is to learn and grow yourself. Learning about DEI is a process, and it’s okay to not know everything right away.

Be Prepared: Here is a DEI reading list for children and parents/families, and here is a list of kid-friendly recipes from around the world.

Be a Sister to Every Girl Scout

A key part of being a sister to every Girl Scout includes reaching outside your social circle. Encourage the girls in your troop to invite a new girl to a troop meeting, sit with anyone at lunch that’s eating alone, and stand up for each other and other girls who might need support. Making new friends with girls from across our community is a perfect way to trade tolerance for inclusivity.

Be Prepared: This article recognizes the fear of (specifically white) parents when encountering conversations with their children about those with differences and offers a few good ideas to start with.

Teach Them How to Fight Injustice

The girls in your life might feel alone or scared at the prospect of standing up to challenge injustice, but chances are there are many people who feel the same way. Challenge them to speak up when they witness an act of injustice or hear people speaking disrespectfully of others.

Be Prepared: It only takes one person to change the dynamic, and help others find their courage to stand up for what’s right alongside you! This article offers some strategies to support their journey.

Be Open and Honest About Political Issues

While it’s tempting to shield girls from political strife, this can be ultimately detrimental to their understanding of the world and current events so they can be prepared to deal with them when they become adults. Find out what worries them, whether it’s feeling like certain students in their class get called on more or issues of police brutality and political strife, and discuss the issue as a group in an age-appropriate way.

Be Prepared: This article gives advice for talking about racism at every stage of a child’s development, and this article gives advice on thinking critically about news sources.

Host Your Own Josephine’s Journey Council Quest

We are so excited about this new program series, which will be an important part of the GSMIDTN world! Josephine’s Journey Council Quests will focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, through the history of Josephine Holloway. What would it have been like to walk in the shoes of this Girl Scout heroine, decades ago? Sign up on CouncilAlignMENT by September 27! The program takes place October 9 for Brownies-Juniors and October 10 for Cadettes-Ambassadors.