Results tagged “GSUSA” from GSSA Leader Blog: The Virtual Volunteer


Lately there have been some challenging articles written by the mainstream media about our parent organization, Girl Scouts of the USA.  

The focus is GSUSA has hired a consultant to reimagine its configuration now that there are 112 high-capacity councils across the United States, rather than the 330 councils, as it was six years ago.   They have pared the staff at GSUSA from more than 600 full-time employees to what is reported around 400 full-time employees.   Last week, those employees were offered retirement packages to encourage some to retire as Anna Marie Chavez works to "right size" the national organization to fit the needs of the councils.

As you may know, GSSA has had to "right size" a number of times to address tight budgets and a concern that we are too reliant on the cookie program for income.   We recently had to lay-off a number of staff because of the DEFUNDING by the Southwest Alabama United Way (Mobile and Clarke counties).   These budget shortfalls have consequences for those who work for Girl Scouts and for those we serve.

Just to provide some clarity about GSSA's situation in the context of the larger assertions in the media.   Yes, our retirement liability increases annually.   The staff members and I have spoken to Congressional aides about supporting the legislation providing relief from the requirement of having the retirement plan fully funded.

GSSA's membership bounces around and is very reflective of the national scene.   We had three years of modest growth, this year we are down in membership.   A large number of our members are girls in Head Start and other federally funded programs that were cut on sequestration, so the outlook there is a challenge.   There seems to be no logic in what years our membership is strong.  

This past year we encouraged service units who grew membership and cookie sales with a bonus to the service unit.   Of the 43 service units in GSSA, three received the membership bonus and eight received the cookie program bonus.   When we asked one of the service unit managers what she did differently to dramatically increase her girl numbers, she said she didn't know.

Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama were working to sell several of their camp properties.   Some of their long-time adult members were so irate about the plan that they have sued the council and been elected to the board of directors. 

We are very fortunate in regard to property. I had GSUSA property consultants in over two years ago, and we spent a week traveling each property with him making recommendations.   Our properties are adequately spaced apart from one another and in reasonable shape.   We would like a higher utilization of the properties.   I am looking at renting the properties to others on the weekends when they are not being used by Girl Scouts, since replacing lost income with new revenue streams is critical.   We have a long-range facilities master plan that we are working on.   You see some movement at each camp and office that comes directly from that master plan.  

Camp Scoutshire Woods is getting new kitchen equipment as we can find it (we try to buy government surplus items to save money) and a storage building near the recreation hall.   Kamp Kiwanis has a new sailboat loft being built.   Camp Humming Hills saw the addition of canoe racks and some canoes moved to that property.   At Camp Sid Edmonds, we worked replacing boards around the waterfront.

Clearly, as Girl Scouts we are at a crossroads.   We need to find more ways to raise funds from sources other than the cookie program.   The funding by United Way agencies in our community is struggling with more requests than funds.   There are more opportunities for troops to raise funds for their own activities, and we at GSSA are always interested in opportunities you see that we are not capitalizing on to strengthen our fiscal strength.   This is a girl organization focused on what is best for the girls who participate.   

Anna Maria Ch????vez, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of the USA, sent out the following message:

I stand with all Girl Scouts across the country and around the world in offering my thoughts and prayers to all of those who have been affected by the massive and devastating tornado that tore through the Oklahoma City area on Monday. As Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said, it was a tragic day for the people of her state and, indeed, for all of us, as the death toll now stands at 24 and includes a Girl Scout, who was a member of the Girl Scouts-Western Oklahoma Council.
All staff members of the Girl Scouts-Western Oklahoma Council, which is based in Oklahoma City, are accounted for and safe. The council appreciates all of the good wishes, but is unable to handle all of the calls and emails at this time. We ask that you not call or email the council, but instead check its website or Facebook and Twitter feeds for the latest information. The council also cannot accommodate material donations, such as blankets and other goods. Instead, the council has created the Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma Tornado Relief Fund that will help get troops back up and running, provide scholarships for program and camp participation, and offer other support to Girl Scouts in the affected areas. You can text the word GIRLS to 20222 to make a $10 donation. In addition, the council is encouraging girls to send messages or art in the shape of the Girl Scout trefoil that it will present this summer to Girl Scouts affected by the storm. Send your trefoil artwork to:
Girl Scouts-Western Oklahoma
Mary Nichols' Family Leadership Center
6100 N. Robinson Ave.
Oklahoma City, Okla. 73118
I want to thank everyone for their thoughtful messages of caring and concern for our sisters at the Girl Scouts-Western Oklahoma Council. Even as we grieve for our sister Girl Scout and all those who lost their lives, we are sustained by the resilience of the human spirit and the knowledge that the people of Oklahoma will, in time, recover and rebuild. We have endured in the past year a number of terrible and tragic events, and throughout it all, Girl Scouts have shown remarkable courage, commitment, and leadership. I know that our girls and adult volunteers will do so again in the wake of this tragedy.
Anna Maria Ch????vez
Chief Executive Officer
Girl Scouts of the USA
GWF2012.jpgThe Girls World Forum 2012 will take place July 11-17 in Chicago. The focus of the GWF will be three of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals: Ending hunger and poverty; Empowering girls;  and saving the planet.  Delegates will develop skills and networks to bring about change in their community and country. Each council is allowed to send two delegates. Delegates must be between the ages of 14-18, actively involved in the Girl Scout council, interested in the United Nations MDGs, and willing to implement a plan for change in their community. 
We are also seeking applications for a young (18-30) volunteer active in Girl Scouting willing to  chaperone girls and work with them upon returning home to implement plans in their community. Cost of the program is $650 per participant, which includes lodging, meals, programs, and transportation in Chicago. Interested girls and volunteers should contact Mary Anne Brutkiewicz to apply by February 15.

Flowers used in a 2009 Rose Parade float, Pasa...

Image via Wikipedia

We know our way around a parade and we know a good float when we see one -- so we can appreciate a HUGE parade and floats covered in FRESH FLOWERS!

Of course, we talking about the Tournament of Roses Parade on January 2nd, where the Girl Scouts 100th Anniversary Float will make its debut!  The float will feature a girl astronaut, a huge gold award, and other symbols of the goals and aspirations of Girl Scouting and will be ridden by the new CEO of GSUSA, Anna Maria Ch????vez.

There's a fun patch about floats and the Rose Parade your girls can earn; part of the requirement is to watch the parade and choose a favorite float -- what a great way to ring in the new year with your troop!

The Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles are hosting the float -- click here to find out more about them and to support them in this amazing process.
Enhanced by Zemanta
Be a part of the Girl Scouts 100th Anniversary Float in the Tournament of Roses Parade on January 2, 2012! The spectacular float, designed and decorated by Girl Scouts, will celebrate our centennial anniversary and be viewed by an international audience of
more than 50 million!
Girl Scouts hopes that all girls, adults, staff and volunteers will want to join in the excitement and ride "virtually" on the float. For a $5 donation, which will support the float, anyone can make a Float Flower Dedication and specify a name of their choice to be put on the float and "ride" the parade route. People have dedicated flowers for their daughters, troop leaders, volunteers, mothers or in memory of a loved one--the possibilities are endless.
Please consider joining in on this unique opportunity and telling your friends too! Visit this website or to get your name on the float or make a dedication in honor of a Girl Scout, alumna, troop leader, family member or friend today. And don't forget to watch the Girl Scouts' float live on January 2, 2012, in the Tournament of Roses Parade! For questions about dedications, please e-mail

Girl Scouting 101 is a new online training from GSUSA, designed especially for new leaders.  It contains all the latest information about the new Girls Guide to Girl Scouting (GG2GS) handbooks, and the third and final Journey series for every age level, "It's Your Story, Tell It."

GS101 replaces two other online trainings: Online Volunteer Orientation (OVO) and Leadership Essentials (LE).  But don't worry -- GS101 covers the best of these, as well as the new information. Leaders can still train using OVO and LE, but we encourage new leaders to use GS101.

Please email for the password.  Enjoy!

Erin.jpgOur own Erin has been selected as one of GSUSA's National Young Women of Distinction. Erin earned her Gold Award in 2009 with her project "Life's Landing Pad" and is one of only 10 girls nationwide selected for this award. 

Read more about Erin's project on the GSUSA website

Erin is a 2009 graduate of Citronelle High School, and is currently a junior at Judson College.  She will speak at the National Convention in Houston this November, where she will receive her award and a scholarship. 

Congratulations, Erin! We're so proud of you!

liz_brent.jpgAnna Marie Chavez, the recently named incoming CEO of GSUSA, is an accomplished woman!  I was very pleased to hear on the teleconference last week that she was selected by the GSUSA Board of Directors. 

Anna Marie is from the new breed of council CEOs.   An attorney, she has worked in politics and is skilled at advocacy during a time when our attention is turned to giving girls voice.  Someone told me she even has a council patch girls receive when they meet the CEO.  

Anna Marie is another CEO who blogs regularly to work to keep in touch with her constituents.   I was at a meeting with her, somewhat briefly, but she recalled my name and details about our council, and this is while she is the CEO of her own council.  

I believe she will provide the type of leadership for "the Movement" to serve today's girls and have us all working at "girl speed."  For more information about Anna Marie, please see her biography.

Texas_180x600.gifFor Girl Scouts Registering for the National Convention not through Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama
Phase 2 of convention registration is open! If you are interested in attending GSUSA's National Convention without going through the council, visit
Prior to actually registering, you may want to learn more about the convention program.  Details on the content, as well as information about Houston and housing, is available on the Girl Scouts convention website -
During Phase 2, the general public or individuals or groups (e.g., troops, etc.) who do not register through their Girl Scout council may register themselves for any of the following: Official Visitors who are not Alternate Delegates, Day Passes, Hall of Exhibits Only Passes, 100th Anniversary Parties, Girl Scouts University @ Convention Tracks 1 and 2, and the History Conference.  These individuals must meet the Girl Scout membership and minimum age requirements.
These registration categories must continue to register via Council Group Registration: Delegates, Official Visitors who are Alternate Delegates, Girl Scout Leadership Institute (GSLI) registrants, and Girl Scouts University (GSU) @ Convention: Track 3 - Board Governance registrants.  Anyone who registers for any of these packages must do so through their Girl Scout council.
GSUSA National Convention 2011CEO Dr. Liz BrentEvery three years, GSUSA holds a national convention where they transact business for the organization. Each council has a designated number of delegates for the convention. For about two days, the delegations listen to the pros and cons on business before the body.   In between, there are a few speakers and the exhibitors' hall. At the last convention, that was my favorite place because they had a live penguin in there.   The fall product and cookie bakers also had free food. So, that was a good respite from the slow movement of the democratic process.
In November, it is again time for this convention. We have a delegation from our council, voted on at the annual meeting in April.  They will travel to Houston for the convention.  The host council, Houston, assures us that this will be a once in a lifetime experience.

During the convention they will also have a girl leadership institute.  At the last convention this happened ahead of the convention so those girls who were older could actually be convention delegates.  This time the girl leadership institute runs concurrent with the convention.  We have 10 spaces available for girls 13 and older to attend this institute.   The dates are November 9-12.   The cost is around $1,000.  We do have some limited scholarship funds available.   If you know of an older girl who would like to attend, please contact me.

If you are interested in the proposed changes for the convention, we will be posting those on our website and welcome your comments.   As convention delegates, they should reflect the views of the membership of this council.   Comments are forwarded on to our convention delegation.

Coming this Fall! The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting

Where can a girl find exciting new badges, the 100th Anniversary handbook, information on bridging and Bronze/Silver/Gold Awards, and much more all in one place? In The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting, of course! There is a Girl's Guide for each level of Girl Scouts from Daisies to Ambassadors.

The Girl's Guide features robust skill-building badge activities, updated and new awards, information on Girl Scout history and traditions, and -- most of all -- lots of fun!

With this fall release, girls can grow as leaders and build new skills with a complete National Program Portfolio: Journeys + The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting!

Take a peek. Let Brownie Elf tell you more...

See the Anatomy of a Badge, if you'd like something to print and share this exciting news with your troop!

GS_100TH_burst400px.jpgWe know it's too hot to actually cook, but please don't forget to send in your recipes for our 100th anniversary cookbook!  Our goal is to have 200 recipes in this special book, and right now we only have 50, so we need your help.  You may say you don't cook, but almost everyone has a special recipe from their mother, grandmother or a special friend they can share.
To enter your recipes or those of your troop, simply go to:  Our login is girlscout and our password is girls. Please make sure to enter your name and/or your troop number/location, so everyone knows who you are and where you're from.
Once you've entered your recipes, please continue to spread the word to other volunteers and friends in the community about this exciting project.
Clean drinking water...not self-evident for ev...

Image via Wikipedia

In celebration of World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD), Girl Scouts can receive a free water test kit while earning credit toward the Get with the Land or Water Drop patches just by registering for both WWMD and National Public Lands Day! Registration is free for both programs.

To receive a kit, troops must register with WWMD and indicate that they are affiliated with National Public Lands Day (NPLD), or register with NPLD and indicate that they are affiliated with WWMD. Simply checking the respective boxes while registering can do this.  Kits will be shipped between July and September while supplies last.

Questions? Contact Jacqueline Connell with the Water Environment Federation at with questions.

In 2006, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) developed a partnership with World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD). Through the WWMD program, Girl Scouts learn about the quality of their local waters by testing for dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature and turbidity (or clarity). These parameters represent basic elements that help determine water quality. Girl Scouts then submit their data into the worldwide database, where it is included in the annual WWMD report produced at the end of monitoring activities performed each year.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Girl Scouts of the United States of America

Image via Wikipedia

We are thrilled to be approaching the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts of the USA on March 12, 2012, and we're gearing up to celebrate this occasion in style! We have so many exciting plans and so many different ways to celebrate the 100th. 

We've created a page on our website just for 100th Anniversary plans and announcements.

We hope you'll visit this site often to see what cool new things are happening in honor of Girl Scouting's biggest anniversary ever.

If you want to get involved, volunteer, or make a donation, please contact Be a part of history; celebrate the 100th Anniversary of GSUSA!
Enhanced by Zemanta

liz_brent.jpgWhat is GSLE?   So, what is the Girl Scout Leadership Experience?   That is the new acronym for what you do with your girls.   As you may be aware, GSUSA has a new branding effort, working to make the brand more relevant to today's girls.   You might have seen some of the ads, one with a young girl explaining to her father on the beach why the sky is blue; she learned it in Girl Scouts.   There are new program materials, with new colors and badges coming out in the fall.   We are all engaged in a concerted effort to sharpen the perception of what you do to build girls into leaders for our future.  

I was telling a friend the other day, many of the adults I have the opportunity to interact with are incredible individuals.   They are able to juggle their work life, home life, and still have time to invest in a group of girls as a role model and leader.   Most can do things I could never imagine doing.   The Girl Scout Leadership Experience is you; each time you interact with the girls, providing them with the best that you have to offer so they will be happy, contributing adults.   It is an amazing thing to watch.   Thank you for being a leader.

Girl Scouts of the United States of America

Image via Wikipedia

Laurel J. Richie, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Girl Scouts of the USA has been honored as one of The Network Journal's 25 Influential Black Women in Business for 2011. Many of us met Laurel at GSSA's 2010 annual meeting in Daphne.

Richie, recognized for her key role in rolling out the Girl Scouts' brand-repositioning initiatives in 2010, credits her Girl Scout experience of selling cookies for instructing her on the fundamentals of marketing. Under Richie's leadership, the multi-cultural and Hispanic campaign roll-out continues. Print executions recently appeared in Oprah and Time magazines, and the campaigns have expanded into airport, mall, highway and transit out-of-home locations across the country. Media impressions to date have topped 1 billion, with donated media valued at $23 million.

On Thursday, March 24, Richie was celebrated and presented with The Network Journal's 25 Influential Black Women in Business award during the awards luncheon at the Marriott New York Marquis in New York, New York. The Network Journal is a monthly print and online business publication for black professionals and small business owners. In March 1999, The Network Journal launched the 25 Influential Black Women in Business Awards honoring women whose professional achievements have significantly impacted an industry, a profession or community.

Please join us in congratulating Laurel!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Certainly we have all been shaken by the waves of terrible news from Japan over these past few days. 


This is the news - and the advice - that we can give at this time:


  • USA Girl Scouts Overseas:  There is an office and staff in Japan to support the families of military personnel stationed there. Reports are that our office has suffered minor damage and that all the staff and their families are "shaken" but fine.  
  • Money Earning Policy:  It is fine for troops to raise money to aid victims of this horrible disaster. Please follow the GSSA money earning policy. See Page 74 of Volunteer Essentials. Remember that in the early stages of disasters like this, money can be more helpful than "care packages". Please click here for Money Earning Application Form.
  • Helping Girl Scouts of Japan:  We are very concerned about our Girl Scout sisters who are members of Girl Scouts of Japan and we would like to provide some movement-wide sport to them. Details are not available yet, but GSUSA will be setting up an account to collect donations to go to Girl Scouts of Japan so that we can send one large donation on behalf of all Girl Scout sisters in the USA.


As more news becomes available, we will share it with you.

Update 3/16: From Girl Scouts of Japan

Gold Award

Image via Wikipedia

The National Young Women of Distinction (NYWOD) is an honor conferred by GSUSA on ten Girl Scout Gold Award recipients whose final project demonstrated extraordinary leadership, had a measurable and sustainable impact, and addressed s a local challenge that related to a national and/or global issue.


Any Girl Scout who completed her Gold Award between July 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010, is eligible to apply. Each NYWOD will receive a $3,000 scholarship and will be prominently and nationally recognized during the National Council Session/Convention in Houston, Texas in November 2011. Each council is allowed to send three nominees. Girls must submit an application and other required information to Mary Anne Brutkiewicz at the Mobile Service Center April 1, 2011, in order to be considered. A committee will review applications and selected nominees will be notified by May 1, 2011.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Girl Scouts of the United States of America

Image via Wikipedia

Girl Scouts of the USA introduced a revitalized Girl Scout brand this summer.  Now, we have "brand" new nametags to reflect the changes (get it? wink, wink).  I think the nametag without the metal framing is super sleek.  Which one do you like?  Check them out on our online shop.
Enhanced by Zemanta

WhosthatGirl.jpgExcellent news! The Girl Scout Research Institute is celebrating its 10th Anniversary tomorrow, November, 4, with an exciting event "Who's that Girl? Self-Image in the 21st Century". This event will take place in New York City but we can join via Ustream at 5:30 p.m. central standard time when the panel begins. At the event, GSUSA will be releasing new findings from a new study on girls and social media, including this refreshing statistic:

"92 percent of girls would give up all of their social networking friends if it meant keeping their best friend." - Girl Scout Research Institute, 2010


On the Ustream, guests will be hearing from a panel of adult and girl culture experts including Emme, supermodel and founder, Body Image Council, Maya Enista, CEO,, Gabi Gregg, MTV Twitter Jockey, Peggy Orenstein, Contributing Writer, New York Times Magazine; and Janie Victoria Ward, professor of education, Simmons College. We will also hear from a panel of girls from the New York City area.

Share this Ustream link with friends:

Monthly Archives