New Girl Scouts Achieve Program for Girls on the Autism Spectrum

New Girl Scouts Achieve program, funded by Ronald McDonald Charities of the Ohio Valley, offers Girl Scout programming to area girls on the autism spectrum

After receiving a generous grant from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Ohio Valley, Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana (GSSI) is now funded to offer 15 area girls on the autism spectrum the opportunity to join a specialized troop that will meet their specific needs and engage them in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Ohio Valley is able to fulfill its mission through its Grants program, thanks to a restricted gift from local McDonald’s Owner/Operators and matching funds from Ronald McDonald House Charities “Global” office in Chicago. GSSI will begin accepting permission forms for the newly funded Girl Scouts Achieve program, beginning on January 5, 2016.

Girl Scouts Achieve is designed for girls on the autism spectrum currently in grades 3-6 (age range of 8-12 years old) who reside in Dubois, Gibson, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh, and Warrick counties. The program has many of the same leadership development elements as a “traditional” Girl Scout troop, but will have more focus on inclusion and less emphasis on badge achievements during the allotted meeting times. The group will also work towards spreading autism awareness, diversity in social groups, and acceptance in the community by encouraging participants to visit local organizations or schools. During these visits they will discuss better ways to communicate with those on the autism spectrum and educate other students about their steps towards self-advocacy.

Because this is a pilot program, GSSI will only able to accept 15 girls into the program, but hopes to expand the program in the near future. Girl Scouts Achieve troop meetings will take place on Wednesday evenings (times TBD) and will meet twice a month from February to May, and then once a month from June to September. The initial meeting will take place at the University of Southern Indiana and will be facilitated by education majors from the Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education.

Please contact GSSI Program Development Specialist Clay Prindle, cprindle@girlscouts-gssi.org, with any questions or interest. Program permission forms are available upon request via email or may be picked up from the GSSI council office, at 223 NW 2nd Street. Prospective Girl Scouts Achieve members will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis through January 27, 2016.

To learn more about Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Ohio Valley, visit www.rmhcohiovalley.org or call (812)402-7642.