As students return to school, Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland is inviting all Kindergarten through 12th grade girls to join the fun and register for Girl Scouts, which gives girls a supportive space to take chances, try new things, and learn to succeed through failure, improving all aspects of their lives.

New Girl Scout troops are forming now across the state, and when girls sign up for Girl Scouts on www.kansasgirlscouts.org, they can browse the new online troop catalog that shows Girl Scout troops in their area and the troops’ meeting times.

Girl Scouts provides girls with a safe environment for trying new things and overcoming fears, making them greater challenge-seekers, more academically proficient students, and eventually, more successful adults. When girls are given a safe and supportive environment to take chances, despite the potential for failure, they’re able to experience the emotional impact of risk without damaging consequences.

Feeling empowered to take action can be difficult for girls, but experiencing the benefits of girl-led programming like Girl Scouts leads to significant growth in girls’ leadership skills. According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, Girl Scouts have more leadership experiences than other girls and boys. Of girls, 84 percent say they learned or did new things in Girl Scouts, and 80 percent reported that in Girl Scouts they were able to do things they could not have done elsewhere. Through experiences like these, girls become more active and engaged learners, develop a positive sense of self, and learn resourceful problem-solving.

“Girls thrive in Girl Scouts, not only through a boost in confidence and leadership skills, but through a strengthened sense of self, positive values, and a desire to make a difference in their community,” said Liz Workman, CEO of Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland. “Girl Scouts teaches girls to see challenges as opportunities. Girls develop the tenacity to overcome obstacles now and later in life, because Girl Scouts gives them the opportunity to take appropriate risks, to try things even if they fail, and to learn from their mistakes.”

Research shows that embracing failure as a learning opportunity, rather than viewing it as a detractor from success, improves all aspects of a child’s life, particularly academics. The Girl Scout Research Institute found the variety of activities offered through Girl Scouts — from planning and leading projects to participating in community service and outdoor expeditions — allows girls to gain skills and confidence that also help them do well in school.

According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, kids perform better if they understand that failure — or trying again when it doesn’t go as planned the first time — is part of the learning process. The research shows “helping children to interpret difficulty, not as a sign of intellectual limitation but as the normal learning outcome,” enhances how they tackle tough tasks and lowers their negative emotional response to those activities.

Adult volunteers also benefit from the opportunities in Girl Scouts. About 88 percent of Girl Scout volunteers say volunteering helps them stay active, while 95 percent of volunteers say they make girls’ lives better at Girl Scouts, according to Girl Scout Research Institute data. Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland is seeking volunteers over the age of 18 who want to make a difference in the lives of local girls. Volunteers and girls can join by going to www.kansasgirlscouts.org, emailing info@gskh.org, or calling 888-686-MINT (6468).