What is the purpose of GFS?
GFS provides a Christian-based support system that focuses on the emotional, physical and spiritual growth of its members in order that girls better understand themselves and their relationship with God, family, each other, the community and the world.
How long has GFS been around?
135 + years! GFS was founded in the USA in 1877 by Elizabeth Mason Edson.
My church has a youth group why do I need a GFS Branch?
Many churches have coed youth groups and they offer wonderful opportunities for socialization and activities. Girls Friendly branches offer a noncompetitive atmosphere that allows girls to express themselves without male domination and to gain important traits such as self-confidence. In addition, the presence of female adult role models, the lack of male favoritism, and the absence of the expectations for girls to be nice, quiet, non-athletic, and passive leads to more successful adults and better students. When girls are grouped in a non-threatening environment that supports them they achieve more, become more confident and participate more often.
My church has outreach programs, why GFS?
Girls Friendly chapters foster a bond of sisterhood through the outward expression of their motto: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” The girls learn to care and nurture each other through activities and sharing and then learn to care for the greater community by giving if their time and talents to care for those who are less fortunate. Many outreach programs are served by the adults in the parish and GFS gives the younger members a sense of purpose and belonging.
We don’t have any children so why do we need GFS?
Too often churches with only a few children believe that they don’t need to have a Girls Friendly because there are not enough girls. This is a mistake! Many branches begin with one or two girls and grow through word of mouth. Girls Friendly will actually attract new children and with them will come their parents. Children go where they are valued and appreciated. A program like GFS shows them just that. They are engaged and active and they will want to come to church to attend meetings. Where children lead, adults will follow.
We already have a Girls Scout Troop, why GFS?
Unlike the Girl Scouts, Girls Friendly Society and their branches are affiliated with the Episcopal Church. The branches have advisors and leaders from within the church that they are chartered to. The rector is involved with the branches and has a voice in their activities. The rector admits new members and may even suggest service projects for the girls.
There is no room in the budget, how can we afford a Girls Friendly Branch?
Girls Friendly is totally self-sustaining. Through an annual stipend from the National Office and various fund raising activities throughout the year, GFS put no burden on the parish budget. Many of our activities are of minimal cost and often the parents are willing to sponsor an activity or supplies.
In how many countries does GFS exist?
Girls participate in Girls Friendly Society in 20 different countries. GFS-USA is a member of the World Council of GFS. To learn more, visit the GFS-World website.
What is a GFS branch?
A GFS branch is the parish group, the basic unit of GFS..
What is a charter?
A certificate given by GFS-USA when a new branch is organized. The certificate should be framed and displayed at the church.
What is a GFS diocese?
GFS branches group together for administrative purposes within a geographic area of the Episcopal Church.
Who can become a GFS member?
Any girl, age 5 through 21, may be a member of GFS. Read more….
What is a GFS leader?
A GFS leader works with at least one other leader/advisor in leading branch meetings. She is not required to be a communicant of the Episcopal Church, so long as the primary advisor is a communicant. Read more…
What is a GFS Advisor?
A GFS advisor is the primary leader of the branch. She is a communicant of the Episcopal Church. She is approved by the parish priest to lead the branch. She may lead meetings or simply be available in a planning and advisory role.
Are there other ways to support GFS?
Women can become GFS Sponsors and lend support to GFS activities.
Is there a GFS uniform?
The GFS uniform is a navy blue skirt and a white blouse. Accessories such as GFS scarves and vests are available. The uniform does not have to be worn to meetings, but it is required at certain special events.
What symbols of achievement are available?
Pins are available for Junior members, Senior members and Leaders.
Can badges be earned?
GFS-Diocese of Los Angeles offers a study program through which girls can earn badges. It is available at www.GFSCalifornia.org.
What is GFS-USA?
The national organization of GFS which serves as a link between the local branches and the world organization. GFS-USA is a member of the Episcopal Church’s delegation to the UN and a member of the World Council of GFS. The board of GFS-USA meets twice a year to conduct business.
What is GFS National Assembly?
National Assembly is a conference open to GFS members, age 12 and up. It is 5-7 days in length. Activities include extraordinary field trips, service projects, enriching workshops, recreational activities, business meetings and national elections. National Assembly is held every three years, rotating among GFS Dioceses. Read more…
Who can become a Youth Delegate to GFS-USA?
Girls, between the ages of 15 and 17, may apply for the position of Youth Delegate. The application process includes a written application, an interview and an oral presentation with visual aid and requires attendance at GFS National Assembly.
What is the GFS World Day of Prayer?
This is a day when GFS branches around the world are linked in prayer and spirit. Traditionally, the World Day of Prayer Worship is held on September 29, or on an alternate date during September, October or November. Offerings collected this day are sent to the World Project Fund.
What is the GFS World Project?
At World Council, a GFS country may request funding for a special GFS mission project. A vote is taken and one or more projects are selected as a three year mission project of GFS World. Read more…
Who can become a Junior Delegate to GFS World Council?
One girl, between the ages of 17 and 25, is selected to represent GFS-USA at GFS World Council. The application process includes a written application, an oral presentation and an interview and requires attendance at GFS National Assembly.