Dear Presidential Candidates: It's Time to Start Focusing on Girls and Their Future

Kassie Aupperle and other Girl Scouts wheel in a cart full of candy to children at Primary Children's Medical Center on Tuesd
Kassie Aupperle and other Girl Scouts wheel in a cart full of candy to children at Primary Children's Medical Center on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012 in Salt Lake City. Following complications and multiple hospitalizations from a hearing aid implant earlier this year, Kassie had the idea to deliver candy to hospitalized kids who wouldn't be able to Trick-or-Treat on Halloween. Cassie organized her Girl Scout troop, 2382, and troop 2385 to deliver over 300 candy packs to the hospital. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Lennie Mahler) DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TV OUT; MAGS OUT

During this election year, I've seen stories that young people may not turn out in large numbers for either presidential candidate. That's too bad.

I can't vote because I am too young, but I want to be a leader and Girl Scouts is helping me to do that. I think our country needs more and more leaders, and the next president of the United States should help girls reach their full potential because our country is going to need them.

So I want the candidates for president to know that we want their help. I want the candidates to know that there are some girls who are opting out of leadership, and we HAVE to take action. We have to support these girls by making sure they have adults to look up to when they need help. We have to support girls by encouraging them in preparing for a bright and happy future. We have to support these girls by helping them to succeed in whatever they choose to do in life.

I'm lucky. I found Girl Scouts and it has given me the chance to do things I could never have imagined. I got the opportunity to earn a Gold Award, the highest achievement there is for a Girl Scout, even though I am just 14, and to be part of the Rock the Mall, the big Girl Scout 100th anniversary celebration in Washington, D.C., that involved 250,000 Girl Scouts from around the country. It was awesome. I've gotten to do all of this and I'm not even 15 years old yet.

But not every girl has the opportunity to be a Girl Scout. Not every girl has the incredible leadership opportunities I have had -- but they should. Every girl should have the opportunity to do great things in her life. So I'm speaking up for all girls. I am calling on you now, Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney, when you are listening to what people want, when you are deciding what's important, when you are debating ideas: Make supporting and empowering girls a priority.

Girls are important. We are the future. We want your help and support to make the world a better place. And Mr. President and Mr. Presidential Candidate, we will. But only if you (and all of us) support girls across the nation and make them a priority because when girls succeed, so does society.

Hareem Fatima Abdullah is Girl Scout Senior from Sterling, Virginia, and member of the Girl Scouts of the Nation's Capitol. She was one of dozens of girls who produced public service announcements for the presidential candidates on the issues they should focus on as part of the Girl Scouts Speak Out project.