In a move designed to focus national attention on girls and issues they face, the Girl Scouts of the USA has declared 2012 as the Year of the Girl.

It is a celebration of girls, recognition of their leadership potential, and a commitment to creating a coalition of like-minded organizations and individuals in support of balanced leadership in the workplace and in communities across the country.

The announcement comes as GSUSA assumes new leadership under CEO Anna Maria Chavez and prepares to celebrate its centennial in 2012, using this important moment in its history to launch a major initiative to change the landscape for girls and young women.

The initiative, which also includes the largest fundraising and advocacy campaign dedicated to girls’ issues in the nation’s history, will be formally announced in January and will extend well beyond the Year of the Girl in 2012. “The Year of the Girl is only a beginning.” – Anna Maria Chavez GSUSA Chief Executive Officer

We can’t transform American leadership in a year, but we can transform expectations in a year. We can transform awareness in a year. We can set in motion a generational change, and make certain that a baby girl born in 2012 will experience her life in a new and vastly different world. Only Girl Scouts, with its scale and time-honored place in society, can launch this initiative.

If not us, who? If not now, when?

When girls succeed, so does society. We know that together, we can get her there,” she stated. This declaration serves as the foundation for Girl Scouts’ broader, multiyear, multipronged effort to break down societal barriers that hinder girls from leading and achieving success in everything from technology and science to business and industry.

During the Year of the Girl, local Girl Scout offices nationwide will mix celebrations of the organization’s 100 years as the premier leadership experience for girls with efforts to create a sense of urgency around girls’ issues. “Girl Scouts is at the forefront of building girl leaders.” Connie L. Lindsey GSUSA National President

We embrace the opportunity we have to develop the next generation and future generations of leaders that understand the interconnectedness of the global community. Our girls will understand that they matter. And when they dream their future, they see a world of shared leadership: where the values of courage, confidence, and character really do make the world a better place,” Lindsey said.