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Girl Scouts help girls feel Fit & Fab

It's the year of the Girl Scout and the Georgia-based organization has more to celebrate than the impressive milestone of it's 100th birthday.

A study released in March of this year indicates that "women who were Girl Scouts as children display significantly more positive life outcomes than non-Girl Scout alumnae."

The study was conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute, but that fact was not identified to the participants.

The results of the study, which were supported by additional research from Vanderbilt University and the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, fall in line with the goal of Girl Scouts, which is to "build girls of courage, confidence and character," said Adrienne Bentley, membership manager for Columbus' Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia. "We want girls to feel confident in themselves and to be able to go out in the world and be leaders."

The Girl Scouts accomplish this goal by following a curriculum that includes teaching girls how to set and achieve goals, how to be involved in their community and instilling leadership skills.

Girls learn these skills through participation in events throughout the school year, as well as in the summer when different camps are offered.

"I love camp. Every time there's a camp brought up I want to be a part of it because it's great," said Jazmyn Bernard, 15. "And the self-esteem part about the Girl Scouts is really a big thing. I love to have high self-esteem and camp just boosts me up all the way."

Bernard participated in Girl Scouts when she was younger, then took a break before joining again about four years ago.

"Coming back as a senior Girl Scout, I've been doing a lot more with leadership," she said. "I went to leadership camp at Camp Concharty. They were building our self-esteem, we're learning how to be independent and a lot of exercising."

She enjoys the fitness aspect of camp and also participated in Go Girl Go in 2010, an event that introduced girls to various physical activities, including Zumba and tennis.

"Girl Scouts likes for us to be fit and have high self-esteem," Bernard said.

While the Girl Scout curriculum doesn't have a specific health component, Bentley said it is part of the overall goal of Girl Scouts to help girls learn healthy behaviors and habits. They focus a lot on self-esteem.

"We want the girls to know how wonderful they are and self-esteem nowadays is such a key factor in a girl's upbringing," she said, which is why they're hosting Fit & Fab on Saturday.

Fit & Fab will be held at Fort Benning from noon until 4 p.m. and is part of a series of summer events intended to introduce the Girl Scouts to non-members. Bernard said it's a great chance for girls to find out more about the organization and that there's more to it than "just selling cookies." It's open to all girls in kindergarten through 12th grade who are not currently enrolled in the Girl Scouts.

The event will feature an introduction to martial arts, Zumba and yoga led by Matt Larsen's Combat Fitness Center.

The fitness portion will be followed by sessions on self-esteem and nutrition, where girls will learn about portion control and what makes a healthy snack.

At the end of the program, each participant will receive a certificate and will be able to participate in the rest of the summer's Girl Scout activities.

The one-time $12 fee for the event (the fee is waived if the girl attended the open house earlier this summer) is the registration fee to be a member of Girl Scouts USA. The membership is good through September when girls who want to participate in the organization can be placed into troops.

If girls or parents are worried about trying to fit Girl Scouts in to a busy schedule, Bentley said there are plenty of options.

"The program has so many different options that we can find something for anybody," she said.

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