We have had
another successful annual meeting. The
timing of this meeting is always a challenge because of varying spring breaks
around the council footprint. We
managed to hit several school districts' spring breaks in this year's venue,
but happily we still had a nice audience.
We held the annual meeting at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Wiregrass
in Dothan. Thanks to them for hosting
One of the
things that makes the annual meeting a challenge (besides the spring break
schedules) is that the meeting reviews the previous year while we are at the
half way point of the current year.
This happens because our annual audit is not complete until then, so we
make time to review the financial results.
We will be posting the annual report and the council financial results
from our audit on the website this week.
Last year was not a good one financially, a direct result of the lack of
funding from the United Way of Southwest Alabama. Because of this our organization experienced
an $83,000 funding reduction with virtually no warning. It wasn't a fair and measured funding cut
and affected Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.
Both organizations are still reeling, working to continue to provide the
quality of service we had with such a dramatic budget reduction.
givers tend to give on a monthly basis through payroll deduction. We have been unable to locate those
individuals in the Mobile, Clarke, and Washington counties to give to us
directly to continue to provide quality service to those locations. We do want to acknowledge we continue to
receive support from Wiregrass United Way, River Region United Way, Baldwin
County United Way, Lake Martin United Way, Troy United Way, Selma-Dallas County
United Way and a host of United Funds.
We appreciate their vision and investment in the future of their
communities through shaping young leaders.
has a direct result in recruitment of fewer adult leaders and therefore serving
fewer girls. The girl numbers last year
were frightful, and it is heart breaking that girls who would like to be Girl
Scouts cannot do so because of funding.
Fewer girls resulted in a much smaller cookie program, which is the
primary source of our revenue, at 75 percent.
Thus, as we worked to reduce expenses through staff lay-offs, our
revenue spiraled in a negative direction.
to offer more than 50 council-hosted programs during the year, working hard to
serve the girls who were committed to Girl Scouts. Those programs included some great STEM
(Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs. We also partnered with the local universities
to have events on their campuses, often using current students to assist in
providing some great fun activities for girls. Summer resident camp was a great one. We had many girls who were willing to
experience the great outdoors and move out of their comfort zones by trying
things they haven't before. That ran
the gamut from mounting a horse, to putting their face underwater in a murky
lake to riding the zip line.
We had five girls
earn their Gold Awards last year with some outstanding projects. This is a significant accomplishment for
these girls. It includes not only their
project, which has to be significant and sustainable, but they have to complete
hours of other Journeys and requirements as a part of that significant
milestone. The girls who earned their
gold award last year are Morgan Alford, Amerie Gramelspacher, Katie Kirk,
Bailey Sawyer and Rebecca Pober Citrin.
More information about each girl and her project can be found in the
annual report. We are very proud of
these girls as well as the 27 that earned their Silver Award, and the 112 that
earned their Bronze Award. These girls
are changing their world now.
last year's challenges was the number of significant water leaks at Camp
Scoutshire Woods and Kamp Kiwanis. With
a harsh winter the water lines, buried not far below ground level broke with a
spill at Oka Misha at Camp Scoutshire Woods dumping 1,000,000 gallons of water
into the lake. The rangers worked most
of the winter months addressing the water leaks at both camp properties. As we replaced water lines we also put in
additional valves so we can isolate one unit from another to turn the water
Since we were
precariously close to ending the year spending more money than we brought in,
we had our forester evaluate the pine plantation at Camp Sid Edmonds. That pine forest was mature and needed
attention, so we clear cut 69 acres of the pine plantation there to address the
revenue shortfall. It was a good time
to cut timber and the funds produced from the pine plantation closed the
revenue gap from fewer girls and a tough cookie program. The pine forest will be replanted in January
The best part
of the annual meeting is always awarding the Volunteer of the Year to one of our wonderful volunteers. This year's recipient was Barbara Mitchell. Barbara has delivered Girl Scout programs
and served as a role model to girls in the Dothan Public Housing community for
more than twenty years. Please read this blog entry about her many accomplishments..
entire annual report and financial report, please click here.