Understand Today’s Challenges

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to: 

  • Discover challenges that youth and adults face today.
  • Explore how modern challenges and responses are unique.
  • See how overcoming challenges can build confidence and leadership skills.

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Meeting Today’s Challenges

Every generation faces its own set of challenges. But however unique such challenges are, they can still be met by employing similar responses as those employed by their parents or grandparents. 

Today’s young people face many issues: the increased dangers of social media, peer pressure, bullying, social inequity, civic advocacy, gender issues, school violence, and a host of other new and trending topics. 

But while the challenges have evolved over time, the ways in which we can successfully meet challenges are the same. How? Part of it involves looking back, figuring out what works (and what doesn’t), and applying what we learn to our future actions. 

Girl Scouts and Design Thinking

Girl Scouts employs a concept called design thinking. It’s the way scientists often approach a problem, but it’s also one of the best ways for anyone to learn. Hands-on experimentation or learning by doing can be far more effective than abstract thinking and memorization of concepts. The key is giving ourselves permission to fail. When we attempt to overcome a challenge and fail, think of the experience as another opportunity to succeed. There’s no shame in trying, failing, picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off, and trying again (and again and again, if necessary). 

Consider how empowering it is to test your own ideas and come up with your own solutions to real problems. Not to mention the confidence you gain once you’ve successfully met a challenge, inspiring you to achieve even greater heights.

How Are Today’s Challenges Different?

It’s been said that the more things change, the more they remain the same. True? Let’s hear and learn from a range of leading executives and entrepreneurs sharing their insight on the challenges they faced, how the challenges facing today’s youth have changed, and what we can learn by comparing the two. 

Exercise: Self-Reflection

One important element of any Girl Scout project is self-reflection, when we think about the issues we’re exploring, the challenges we’re facing, the successes we’ve achieved, and ways to apply what we learned to other areas of our lives. 

By taking the time to thoughtfully reflect on where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we’re going, we get a better sense of how to be a more successful leader. 

So, ask yourself: 

  • What challenges did my generation face in our youth?
  • How did we overcome those challenges?
  • How can I use this information to tackle a challenge head-on that today’s youth faces?