A new uniform patch teaches Girl Scouts about the importance of supply chains and encourages...

A new uniform patch teaches Girl Scouts about the importance of supply chains and encourages young women to consider a career in logistics. 

Photo: Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida

The Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida (GSTF) and Ryder System have created a new supply chain uniform patch program for girls K-12 across the country.

The “Girl Scout Cookies and the Supply Chain" program teaches Girl Scouts how supply chain management impacts how and when products arrive in stores, while inspiring girls to see themselves working in the industry in the future. Girls from South Florida and around the country earned the patch on Dec. 12 as part of a virtual event showing how supply chains work, including the supply chains for Girl Scout Cookies.

The concept and the curriculum used to teach the girls were developed through a partnership between GSTF, Ryder, and the University of Tennessee’s Global Supply Chain Institute.

“Development of a new Girl Scout patch, particularly one as timely as supply chain management, is a real achievement,” said Lori Ross, director of Girl Experience for the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida. “This was an incredible opportunity for us to partner with Ryder and the University of Tennessee to teach girls about this exciting field, especially because we can connect it to our own supply chain, cookie sales, and distribution, which the Girl Scouts pioneered.”

In order to earn the patch, girls were actively engaged in learning the journey of a Girl Scout cookie, as well as other well-known products that rely on a nationwide supply chain, including Domino’s Pizza. They also heard from women in the supply chain and logistics fields on how supply chains affects the lives of people everywhere.

Every year, Girl Scouts sell and distribute more than 200 million boxes of cookies nationwide, and one billion worldwide. In South Florida, GSTF sells and distributes more than 400,000 boxes of cookies each year.

Through its charitable foundation, Ryder sponsors the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida, the University of Tennessee’s Global Supply Chain Institute, and the university’s NeXxus Initiative, which focuses on creating a more diverse student body, including young women. Ryder provides annual scholarships to top NeXxus participants in supply chain fields, including 11 female students in 2020.

“Ryder is proud to partner with the Girl Scouts, who are truly pioneers in the workings of the supply chain” said Amy Federman, executive director of the Ryder Charitable Foundation. “Working with two of our great partners to create this patch, we’re committed to attracting more women to the industry. Including girls in that effort ensures that the introduction to logistics and supply chain concepts starts early.”

Mary Long, managing director of the Global Supply Chain Institute’s Supply Chain Forum at UT, who has also held leadership roles with major brands including Domino’s Pizza, Pillsbury, and General Mills, worked with GSTF and Ryder to develop the curriculum. “Part of the curriculum strategy included young women who are top college supply chain students at UT to talk about why they chose the field,” she said. “Videos and live interaction with these students, alumni, and veterans like myself, made the program fun and relevant for the girls.”

GSTF said it intends to work with the national Girl Scouts organization to roll out the “Girl Scout Cookies and the Supply Chain” curriculum to other local chapters in 2021.

The patch is not Girl Scouts' first foray into the transportation sector. The Women in Trucking advocacy group has had a Transportation Patch program with the Greater Chicago/Northern Indiana Girl Scouts since 2014.

Girl Scout patch programs are different from badges. Although programs such as these do have certain requirements to be earned, they don’t have the same level of requirements as badges. Worn on the back of the uniform rather than the front, patches are often unique to individual councils or organizations – however, most councils also offer them to Girl Scouts across the country.

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