By Laura Turner Seydel

Some of my fondest childhood memories are from times I spent as a Girl Scout, so when my two daughters were old enough to join, I jumped at the chance to get them involved, too. Through my time spent as a Scout and then later as a Troup Leader for both daughters, I have experienced the organization’s awesome ability to teach important life lessons, including leadership responsibilities, female empowerment, and respect for the world around us.

Protecting the environment as always been a part of the Girl Scout culture and I thank them for the opportunities as a young child to experience nature first hand, meet animals in their natural habitats, and discover how our natural systems support all life. I couldn’t have been more proud to collect badges that told the world I was a hiker, a camper, or had taken the time to learn about flowers and trees. These experiences helped further instill my environmental ethic and helped to shape who I am today.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts, and to celebrate they have launched the Forever Green Take Action program, a global effort to improve the environment and protect natural resources. As an extension of their overall environmental commitment, this year-long program encourages everyone to reduce waste by eliminating single-use plastic from our daily lives, save energy by turning off lights and other electronics when they’re not in use, and to increase green space and wildlife habitats by planting rain gardens. Everyone, not just girls, can participate, and everyone is encouraged to make his or her pledge to help on girlscouts.org/gsforevergreen.

I am so proud of the Girl Scout’s monumental milestone and their ongoing commitment to empower girls to do big things. Did you know that all the female astronauts, 70 percent of female legislators, and 80 percent of female business owners started out as Girl Scouts? Through the Forever Green program, girls are learning that their simple actions, like using a reusable shopping bag or turning off a light when leaving a room, collectively make a huge impact in helping to preserve and protect our planet. Already the successes seen through their efforts are teaching that their daily actions are important and that with hard work, anything is possible. So, the next time you eat a Thin Mint, think: through your support you are helping to empower the next generation of female leaders, one of which might just be the President of the United States one day.

For more eco-living tips, visit lauraseydel.com.