Girl Scouts of Connecticut

Girl Scouts Seek Facilitators for Summer Program With Sensitivity to Kids' Mental Health

Around 2,100 Girl Scouts participate in the “Summer in the City” program geared toward kids in urban areas or underserved communities.

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If you are looking for a summer job, the Girl Scouts are looking for you!

Right now, the Girl Scouts of Connecticut are hiring facilitators to run the “Summer in the City” program. They say it is a perfect opportunity for teachers or college students on break, or anyone looking to make a difference for girls across Connecticut.

The Girls Scouts aims to give kids across Connecticut sweet experiences and lasting memories.

“We made this beautiful flower today,” Samantha Altius, a program facilitator, said.

It is why Altius works with the organization.

“Being a program facilitator is like the best job you can ever have,” she said.

The certified nursing assistant runs Girl Scout programs in Hartford and Manchester.

“I learn from them, they learn from me,” Altius said about her experience with the kids.

Now the Girl Scouts of Connecticut is looking for more program facilitators like her for the “Summer in the City" program, which aims to reach kids in urban areas and underserved communities.

“It’s all about accessibility. It's all about making sure that Girl Scouts is something that they see constantly in their lives,” Ana Valentin, director of community outreach & inclusion, said.

Demand for the program is huge across the state. Valentin said last year, approximately 2,100 girls set out to get their badges, joining the summer program.

Of course, there is a big dose of fun sprinkled in, with facilitators meeting weekly with kids at schools to do STEM activities, crafts, and develop new skills.

However, this summer there will be a major emphasis on mental health, due to the stressors of the pandemic.

A 2020 Girl Scout study found 84% of the scouts are stressed about the future, saying they feel the pandemic will affect their prospects for attending college, finding internships, or landing a job.

“We have been able to change our programming to serve those needs, especially around mental health, and this whole social-emotional aspect of being a girl,” Valentin said.

“Part of it is training our own staff to understand the needs of the girls as they're facing this whole change in transition, understanding how to identify those signs where the girls might be displaying a little bit of sadness or depression. Just opening up and talking about what's going on,” she said.

There is no cost for the girls to participate in the summer program, allowing them to connect with their community, bolster confidence, and build their futures.

"I did a mirror program with my girls, and they were allowed to look into the mirror. And there I asked them, ‘Who do you see? What do you want to see that person in the mirror to do five years from now?’ Altius said. “You’re more than just a girl. You’re the next president, you’re the next CEO of a company, you’re the next whatever you want to be.”

Facilitators are paid $25 an hour and the summer program is eight weeks.

Anyone who is interested can apply on the Girl Scouts of Connecticut website.

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