The Girl Scouts of New Jersey and Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) offered an engaging one-day leadership program on Saturday, May 5, 2018 for over 50 Girl Scouts from across the Garden State interested in learning more about government, politics, campaigns and serving in public office. The program was held at the Rutgers University – New Brunswick campus at the Cook-Douglass Campus’ Wood Lawn Mansion, which houses the Eagleton Institute of Politics and CAWP.
Christabel Cruz, Senior Program Coordinator of CAWP, kicked off the program with an engaging overview of women in politics and public leadership, followed by a panel of distinguished public leaders who shared their experiences serving in public office. Panelists included: Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-11) and Senator Kristin Corrado (R-40), New Jersey Legislature; Amanda DePalma, Former Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of Governor Chris Christie; Freeholder Angela Garretson, Union County; Councilwoman Ayesha Krishnan Hamilton, Township of West Windsor; and Bernice Toledo, Passaic County Surrogate.
After the panel discussion, the girls met with the women leaders in small groups where they discussed how they have power now to make a difference in their schools and communities. The remaining hands-on activities focused on speech writing, public speaking, campaign messaging and other elements of civic engagement.
“Government at all levels needs more women leaders,” said Assemblywoman Joann Downey. “Time and time again, the girl-led, all-girl experience of the Girl Scouts is proven to empower girls to take the lead. This innovative partnership with CAWP that connects Girl Scouts with women mentors in government is a perfect example. I am honored to be a part of the program and cannot wait to see the remarkable things this next generation women leaders will do.”
“I applaud the Girl Scouts for continuing to develop programs like this collaboration with CAWP that provide girls the opportunity to learn skills and gain experiences that help them reach their leadership potential,” said West Windsor Councilwoman Ayesha Krishnan Hamilton. “I’m inspired by the Girl Scouts who participated in the program today and all that they are already doing to serve their communities.”