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Education and Training

About Pathways to Politics

Pathways to Politics brings teen-age Girl Scouts from around the nation to CAWP for two weeks to learn about women's political participation. In July 2008, CAWP hosted the third Pathways to Politics, building on successful programs in 2004 and 2006. Pathways is a collaboration between CAWP and the Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey under the national Girl Scout "Destinations" program.

    2008 Pathways to Politics Program Photos    
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While many programs tell high school girls that they can be leaders and encourage them to consider careers in business or the professions, there are few opportunities for girls to envision themselves as public leaders or to consider why it is so important for them to become active, engaged citizens.  Pathways to Politics instills in young women a sense of themselves as the leaders of tomorrow, especially in the worlds of government, politics, and advocacy.

Over the two weeks, 31 girls ages 15-18 from 20 states as well as Italy and Poland:

  • Met elected and appointed officials and activists who are shaping their communities and practicing leadership through action;   
  • Explored the demands of leadership in a diverse society;
  • Learned about the roles of women in politics, from the past to the present;
  • Participated in lively discussions and leadership exercises;
  • Enjoyed recreational team-building.

Several trips were built into the program, including a day trip to New York City to visit the United Nations and the New York City Council President’s office, a tour of the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, and dinner at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. In two days in Washington, DC, the girls had a White House briefing with Assistant Press Secretary Emily Lawrimore, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Janet Weir Creighton, and Associate Director of the Office of Public Liaison Ivette Fernandez. They visited Capitol Hill and met with Representatives Rush Holt, Shelley Moore Capito, Jan Schakowsky and Allyson Schwartz, as well as with top aides to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican Conference Leader Lamar Alexander. An advocacy exercise, conducted in the New Jersey Senate chambers, featured State Senator Nia Gill as senate president. After the girls completed a service activity, preparing meals for a local soup kitchen, they discussed the connections between service and politics. Candace Kelley of NJN and CN8 helped the girls understand how to communicate effectively, and NJ Board of Public Utilities President Jeanne Fox wrapped up the program with thoughts about taking home the message of the program.

  View a Pathways Summary Agenda here.

  Read what a 2004 Pathways to Politics participant wrote about the program.

  What One Girl Learned at Pathways: Ask a Women to Run for Office