Finding Belonging in Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts San Diego 2

Girls are in a vulnerable place right now. They are living in a world with immeasurable pressure, unrealistic expectations and trauma. Many are feeling disconnected and yearning for a sense of belonging.


A recent CDC study found that U.S. teen girls and LGBQ+ youth are experiencing increased sadness and violence. Nearly 3 in 5 girls felt persistently sad or hopeless in 2021, representing the highest level reported over the past decade.

Girl Scouts aims to be a solution to this issue. Through relationships with trusted adults – staff, volunteers, camp counselors – Girl Scouts San Diego creates a sense of belonging for Girl Scouts, where they can make lasting friendships, grow confidence, discover new adventures, find joy, and create hope for their futures.
Girl Scouts San Diego proudly serves more than 15,000 girls in San Diego and Imperial counties, and its mission is more important than ever.

“When I was a troop leader, four out of eleven of my teenage Girl Scouts struggled with eating disorders, depression, or anxiety,” said Michelle Mullen, Chief Mission Delivery Officer of Girl Scouts San Diego. “We see the different ways girls are struggling first-hand. Previously happy kids are experiencing low self-esteem, self-doubt, and crippling anxiety. The range of emotions and perspectives is so broad.”

In response to this crisis, the youth-serving nonprofit organization now offers Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings for staff and volunteers. The trainings teach adults how to recognize signs and symptoms of a mental health challenge, listen without judgment, give reassurance, and refer youth to appropriate professional support and services.

“What helps girls get through challenging times is having strong relationships with a group of nonjudgmental peers and the support of caring adults outside of their parents,” continued Mullen. “Our volunteers understand that there are going to be ups and downs, and they can create a steady and stable environment so every Girl Scout feels supported and knows that she can show up as her genuine self.”

Countless girls in San Diego and Imperial counties are in need of the sense of belonging that Girl Scouts provides. There is hope with Girl Scouts San Diego, where girls have a safety net, feel supported and loved, and know that they matter.
To donate, volunteer, join, or learn more about Girl Scouts San Diego, visit

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Esteban Villanueva