Girl Scouts learn financial literacy in hands-on program

Weekends are about having fun, but more than 200 Girl Scouts from Girl Scouts of the Missouri
Heartland made last weekend about gaining practical life skills at the same time. In the fun,
interactive Making Cents in the City programs held on Saturday, Girl Scouts in kindergarten
through eighth learned about budgeting, goal-setting, and saving money.

Girls at the program discussed the difference between needs and wants, practiced budgeting for
those items, and made savings banks to take home and work towards a specific savings goal.
They also learned about the realities of adult budgeting with a game that taught them how to
manage their “paychecks” to pay for home expenses, living necessities, and other bills. Girl
Scout Cadettes had the added challenge of trying to budget for “want” items like cell phones
and cable service after paying for necessities – and sometimes receiving late fees and overdue
notices. “Wow,” said one participant, “I didn’t know everything that my parents had to do for me.”

Girls even had to use their critical-thinking skills during the program’s snack time; they selected
and purchased items from a “Girl Scout Snack Shack” with $2 that they were given at the start
of the program. “One of the best things about this program is that it is so hands-on,” said Girl
Scouts of the Missouri Heartland CEO Jennifer M. Orban, “By actually being given the money to
practice spending, and seeing the numbers written in front of them, the girls get to engage in the
kind of experiential learning that Girl Scouts is all about.”

The harsh reality of today’s economy makes it especially important that youth understand
budgeting and spending wisely. The money used in the games and activities may have been
cartoon-printed play money, but the skills that girls learned were very real. Said one Girl Scout
Junior in attendance, “I used to spend all my money and regret it later, but now I know to spend
my money without spending all my money.”

About the Girl Scout Leadership Experience
Girl Scouting is about building strong leaders. Founded in 1912, Girl Scouting is the premier
leadership development organization for girls ages 5-17 in America. With 3.7 million members
worldwide, Girl Scouts has a strong history of encouraging girls to become strong, confident
young women. The Girl Scout Leadership Development Experience encourages girls to engage
not just in traditional activities and service projects, but also in the process of leadership.
Through hands-on opportunities, girls learn-by-doing in cooperative group settings and
empowering individual explorations. Girl Scouting helps girls discover a strong sense of self,
connect with others in a changing world, and take action to help make the world a better place.

About Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland
Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland serves 20,000 girls in 68 counties, who are developing
crucial life skills that help them grow courageous and strong so they can make wise choices in
today’s world and beyond. To volunteer your time, make a donation, or join Girl Scouts, call
877-312-4764 or visit us on the web at www.girlscoutsmoheartland.org.

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One thought on “Girl Scouts learn financial literacy in hands-on program

  1. This looks like a great program. It’s awesome to see that the Girl Scouts are reaching kindergartners. We need a stronger focus on teaching our younger kids the basics of financial literacy (needs vs. wants, making choices, sharing & saving & spending smart). I went into my daughter’s classroom (K-1) in early November with our Money Mammals teaching guide and helped them make “Share” jars in which they saved money for two weeks. The money, along with cans of food and clothes went to local families in need of assistance. Kids love saving for a goal – it’s so much more effective than telling them to “save for a rainy day,” which is too abstract a concept for them. I’ll be doing a similar program with the girl scouts in the Los Angeles area in January so it was exciting to read about other Girl Scout financial literacy incentives here. This is a very exciting time for all of us involved in financial literacy because people have finally woken up to the importance of it to our society. Keep up the great work!

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