Girl Scouts help young girls thrive during COVID-19 pandemic event


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) Parents, are you looking for a way to help your daughter thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic? How about a free virtual panel discussion put on by the Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan (GSHOM). This online expert-led panel discussion will be held this Thursday, Jan. 21 at 6:30 p.m. titled “Helping Your Girl Thrive During COVID-19.”

According to current research, girls have reported increased levels of anxiety and depression, and decreased levels of engagement and confidence. This panel will explore the ways in which girls have been impacted throughout the pandemic, and share ideas for support girls need. The confirmed panelists will be Patti Criswell, PhD, faculty in Health and Human Services at Western Michigan University and an expert in tween girls, and Jan Barker, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan.

Panelists will have the opportunity to respond from their perspective/area of expertise. There will be discussion across the panel following the response to questions. Attendees can register for free at

Jan Barker is an accomplished leader in the field of youth development with more than 30 years of experience serving children and teens across the United States, and internationally in Jamaica, Belize and the Dominican Republic. She began her career working for the Michigan State University Extension with youth and volunteers to build both an urban and classic 4-H program. In 1995, she started her career with Girl Scouts as the CEO of the Glowing Embers Council in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where she was the driving force for an $8 million capital campaign to build a nationally recognized Program and Training Center. In 2008, Barker was selected as the CEO of Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan, where she successfully merged five Girl Scout councils into a unified culture which has generated record increases in membership, fundraising, and product programs.

Criswell has been working with girls and their families for over 25 years to help girls gain the skills they need to grow into strong and powerful women. Her areas of specialty include anxiety, relational aggression and developing a healthy body image. She is a recognized expert in the area of tween girls.  Her work includes individual, family and group therapy with girls and their parents as well as working with young women in transition. Her ideas have been featured on TV, Radio and Print media. She is married and has two pretty amazing grown children.

Girl Scouts is more than just an after-school activity. It is a research-backed and time-tested program that encourages girls to discover, connect, and take action. Girl Scouts are more likely to develop a strong sense of self, display positive values, seek challenges, form healthy relationships, and become community problem solvers. In today’s uncertain times, girls need Girls Scouts now more than ever.

To renew a membership or register as a new Girl Scout or volunteer, visit

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