When the COVID pandemic shut down her elementary school and Aria Mosley, an 8-year-old from Macomb County, was looking for some enrichment, she signed up for Digital Daisies, an innovative online program that kept the Girl Scout fun coming for Aria and other young girls who want to connect, learn and achieve.
“Digital Daisies gave us an outlet to interact with other girls and still feel like a Girl Scout,” says Aria’s mom, Tanya Gardner-Mosley. “We were amazed to find out that Girl Scouts offered something that would allow Aria to still be engaged each week and even meet new friends.”
As a separate program to existing troops that meet online due to the pandemic, Digital Daisies allowed girls who are not yet part of a Daisy troop to get involved, says Amanda Thomas, vice president of customer support with Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan. The program began last fall and continued into January.
“We offered Digital Daisies because we were finding that during this difficult year, girls still wanted to start with Girl Scouts in kindergarten and first grade, but there might not be opportunities for them to meet in person with a troop,” Thomas says. “This was a great way for girls to dip their toes into Daisies.”
For 10 weeks, a group of 10 to 12 girls met with their facilitator through Zoom to share a topic, work on a project, earn Daisy petals — the Daisy version of the Girl Scout badge — and most importantly, have fun. Each week covered a theme, such as being friendly and helpful or making the world a better place, and included a follow-up activity to give Daisies an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the theme. In all, about 100 girls participated.
“The activity was based on the petal being earned, and the Daisy Girl Scout might create a poster or a mural,” Thomas says.
Or, girls could create a flower and vase from repurposed items, like Aria did. “She created petals from the bottom of a plastic water bottle, attached them using a pipe cleaner, then used another water bottle for the vase,” says Gardner-Mosley, adding that the bigger lesson focused on individual responsibility for reducing waste and overall carbon footprint.
“This lesson taught Aria how to prioritize and helped her realize that she is not a powerless child,” Gardner-Mosley explains. “We all know we should recycle and reuse but we don’t all know how. Digital Daisies showed Aria that even little steps like recycling or reusing plastic bottles can reduce the amount of waste here in our community, but also for the entire world. It really unlocked her mind and it was cool to see it happen.”
Learning in a fun atmosphere
Aria was so motivated to attend Digital Daisies that she set an alert on her iPad and kept track of the starting time herself. “It was the countdown to Digital Daisies. All I heard was ‘It’s Digital Daisies time, Mommy,’” Gardner-Mosley says.
Each session included a video and a group discussion, and Gardner-Mosley was impressed by how well the facilitators engaged the girls in the core principles.
“They are all the core principles we give to our kids as parents: how to sustain the planet, how to treat others as friends, what to look for in a friend, how to be a good friend and how to speak to people,” Gardner-Mosley says. “The characters and children in the videos were able to explain what the content meant for them.”
Garner-Mosley, who studied animal science and works in a STEM-related field, says even she learned about how the ecosystem works. “It was a really good experience,” she says. “I was very happily shocked.”
Because there was a Facebook group for families, the girls and parents were able to stay connected between sessions to post pictures of activities and their projects and get to know each other, Thomas says.
As Aria moves away from Daisy Girl Scouts and on to Brownies, she has built a solid foundation and plans to do online Girl Scouts content this summer, especially STEM and outdoor activities.
“She loves being surrounded by girls and that’s great because girls don’t always have their own space where they can feel comfortable speaking out. She’s empowered and has built self-esteem in knowing that there are women to support her and encourage her to be who she is. Girl Scouts promotes individuality and the ‘get up and go do what you want to do’ mindset. It really teaches girls to be multidimensional,” Gardner-Mosley says.
During a challenging fall and winter, Digital Daisies served its purpose, and now girls can reengage and join troops through outdoor summer meetings that will continue into the fall back-to-school season.
And, parents have a money-saving reason to register for Girl Scouts. Typically, the Girl Scout membership year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, with dues at $25. Sign up now and your daughter’s membership will be good until September 2022 — for just $35. This gives girls access to fun summer activities and an in-person troop in the fall.
“We will have outdoor events this summer and quite a few information tables at outdoor community fairs, and the best way to stay informed about these is to check out our calendar on our website, which is updated continuously,” Thomas says.
“As we are coming out of isolation, Girl Scouts offers great opportunities for girls to meet friends their own age who will even go to their own school and be in their classes,” she says. “They will have those connections and have built-in friendships going forward.”
Learn more about Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan at gssem.org.