How can it be almost November already?  The leaves are falling, cooler air is moving in, and it will be the holidays before we know it.  As usual, I find myself wondering where the time has gone.  Thank goodness, I've at least purchased Halloween costumes for our kids (we have a fireman and a fairy this year), and our Thanksgiving plans have been made. The rest will fall into place!

Before October slips away, I want to remind you that the deadline for Fall Product Sales is coming soon (see your Troop Fall Product Manager for the exact date). The sale is going well so far, but we need your help to make a strong finish.  Participating in the Fall Product Sale is a quick and easy way to provide start-up funds for the year and get your troop off to a great start. It's also a great way to purchase some holiday goodies and gifts ahead of time. 

Fall program events are off to a great start, but make sure you register for upcoming events soon, as they are filling up.  Events with deadlines soon include: Outdoor Badge Day at Lanark (featuring the new Outdoor Art badges), Night Moves, Hyundai Tour, GS Day at Auburn Football, and Cookie University. Wing It! registration has already closed, due to reaching our maximum.)

We are delighted to have a new Program Planning Manager, Jenny Kurtz, who will work out of the Montgomery office. She and our new CFO, Bob Buss, started work on Monday, and we are so glad to have them on board! 


Leadership - That's my Girl Scout hashtag!  As Girl Scouts, you work together as a troop to make things happen.  Here at the GSSA office, it's much the same. Recently, our staff members ordered T-shirts as a fun way to build team spirit and to share what each of us loves about Girl Scouting. 

Each person chose and purchased their own color of T-shirt and text (glitter vs. no glitter was a very hot topic!) and picked a one-word hashtag that describes Girl Scouting for them. The hashtags chosen range from #believe, #inspire, and #courage, to #character, #memories, and #creative, among many others.   There was excitement in the air the day our shirts arrived. We couldn't wait to see what our colleagues had ordered.  In nearly 14 years working with Girl Scouts, I don't think I've ever seen a project that so energized our staff as a team. 

Now, we want to encourage you to tell us what your hashtag is.  Share it with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and show the world what Girl Scouting means to you!




A beautiful fall afternoon at Kamp Kiwanis is about as good as it gets. As a child, one of my favorite memories of Girl Scouting was our annual troop trip to KK.  And if you don't believe me, I have a picture of second-grader Karlyn with my troop in front of one of the Pioneer Unit tents sitting in my office!

I spent last Sunday at this special place watching girls sail, zip line, canoe, and generally have a fabulous time.  The weather was fine and the blue water of Lake Martin simply sparkled.  It reminded me of the precious times to be had at our four camp properties, each of which has its own charm and character.

I want to encourage you to seek out the beauty of Camp Scoutshire Woods in Citronelle, with its wild magnolias, pitcher plant bog, and spillway, which is the perfect place to play.  Camp Sid Edmonds in Bay Minette has a fabulous lake and great facilities, particularly for those who might be a little apprehensive about camping.  Meanwhile, Camp Humming Hills in Elba, our largest property, has miles of hiking trails and you can even climb to the highest point in Coffee County!


We are lucky to have such wonderful outdoor spaces for our girls, and I encourage you to use them - even if it's just for a day trip.  We work hard to keep the prices reasonable for troops and will continue to do so in the future.  However, we must balance this with an effort to make certain that the council is covering the rising costs of maintaining these properties.

Starting this week, we will have new pricing for day use and troop camping for our camp properties.   (Troops that made reservations before October 1 will use the previous rates.) These increases are quite modest, but will help us ensure that we are able to keep our properties in good condition and that they are safe for use by our girls and volunteers.   It has been many years since GSSA increased its camp usage fees, so we hope you will understand the need for us to make this change.

I hope you have a wonderful time in the outdoors this fall!


"... And be a sister to every Girl Scout." I am forever reminding our 10-year-old that it's not enough just to recite the Girl Scout Law from memory, but we should strive to live by it each day. I appreciate the values these simple statements remind our girls, but more than that, I love seeing them put these principles for living into action, which is exactly what our girls, volunteers, and staff recently did.

During August and early September, GSSA engaged both our girls and our communities in a special campaign to collect donations for our sister Girl Scouts from Louisiana who were victims of the recent floods.  The Sister-to-Sister campaign received more donations than we could have possibly imagined and garnered an incredible amount of press and community support across the council.  It was an amazing act of sisterhood!  Our Director of Marketing and Communications Meghan Cochrane and Kamp Kiwanis Camp Ranger Mike Breshears delivered an enormous trailer load of supplies to Lafayette in late September, much to the delight of our sister Girl Scout council, Girl Scouts of Louisiana - Pines to Gulf.  I want to thank each of you for participating in this important effort and demonstrating the importance of being a sister to every Girl Scout to our girls.

Community service has been a foundation of Girl Scouting since its earliest days. Its value is one of the most important things we instill in the girls with whom we work.  It teaches girls that, even at the youngest ages, they can make a difference in the world around them and right the wrongs that they see.  This, in itself, is a powerful message that will stay with them throughout their lives.

Thank you for being our partner in making the world a better place through Girl Scouting.


Fall means Fall Product around here!  As a parent, I know the thought of selling one more thing (cookie dough, anyone?) on behalf of your child might make you cringe.  However, our daughter has sold Fall Product for the last five years, and it is the easiest of all the sales in which she participates.  I promise!

Not only is Fall Product super easy, it can be handled completely online.  You simply have your daughter type up an email (or you can have her dictate it to you if she's too little), pop a cute Girl Scout picture of her onto the page, and email this out to your friends and family.  They have the choice of buying either nuts/candy or magazines.

At our house, we buy the candy to use for teacher gifts, or holiday tokens.  My husband's relatives eagerly await the Deluxe Pecan Clusters and Fruit Slices each year. We also love magazines, as do our friends and relatives who live out of state, so our daughter always sells plenty of those. It literally takes less than an hour of her time or mine and she does it all ONLINE.

If your daughter or troop hasn't sold Fall Product in the past, please consider doing so.  It's quick and easy, and the products and girl prizes are great.  It's the perfect way for the troop to make some start-up money for the year. Be sure to try the new Honey Roasted Mixed Nuts (my family's new favorite!) and the Black Forest Trail Mix.  Both are delicious.  The Dark Chocolate Caramel Caps with Sea Salt are tasty, too.

Happy selling, everyone!



This week, our daughter started the year in her new troop.  She was excited and nervous, just as most fifth graders, like her, would be.  It was particularly bittersweet, as she had been in the same troop for five years until it disbanded this spring.  I'm happy to report that it was a great night, and our sweet girl left excited and happy.  Meanwhile, I heaved a huge sigh of relief (sound familiar?!).

I know many of you are having these same experiences with your girls at this time of year.  It's always exciting to be a part of those first meetings, where the girls are getting to know each other and starting to make new friends.  It is so full of promise and fun!

The beginning of the Girl Scout year also means that it's time to register your girl and yourself as a volunteer or parent.  This is critically important! Being registered allows your Girl Scout to attend council program events and camp offerings, along with participating in the Fall Product and Cookie Sales.  No girl may participate in these activities if she is not registered.  Unregistered girls and adults are not covered by our Girl Scouts of the USA insurance, which would be very problematic should an accident occur.  Beyond that, Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama and GSUSA require that all girl participants be registered - period.

Again, please remember to register by Oct. 1. We hope your Girl Scout has a great start to this new GS year!  


Fall is almost here (thank goodness!).  I hope you are as ready as I am for cool breezes, pumpkin spice everything, SEC football - and the best thing of all, Girl Scout programs! We have so many fun things planned for our girls in the next few months. 

Whether your girls like to do cool science activities, explore the outdoors, or celebrate their craftiness, we have just the event for them.  Our many offerings this fall include a day trip to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, ChemScouts and Kappa Delta Badge Day at the University of South Alabama, a family-friendly event at the Dream Field Farms Pumpkin Patch (my children are so looking forward to this one!), a badge day at the Alabama Wildlife Federation's NaturePlex featuring the new Outdoor Art Badges (11/5; details coming), and our annual Girl Scout Day at Auburn Football.  There is so much to choose from that there is something for every taste!

As you know, it's also membership recruitment time, and what better way to spread the fun and leadership opportunities of Girl Scouting than by bringing a friend to these events?  Just have your child's friend register as a Girl Scout, and they can attend any of these events as an individual member, or (even better) they can join a troop.

I can't wait to see you out and about across the council this fall!



Our girls are in crisis.  Girl Scouts is here to help.  

Have you taken time to study the most recent statistics about girls in our state?  I hadn't, either, until recently, and I was appalled.  I share the following with you not to be depressing or inflammatory, but to remind us all of the importance of Girl Scouting in the lives of those to serve.  We have the power to change these stats and make the world a better place for our girls. It's simply what we do.

The Girl Scout Research Institute's "State of the Girl" report details the harsh realities of life for many girls in Alabama. Girls in Alabama ranked 30th in terms of overall well-being. Girls ranked 21st in terms of emotional health, 33rd in physical health and safety, 34th in economic well-being, and 42nd in education. The report also notes that roughly 26 percent of school age girls in the state are currently living in poverty and around 8 percent of girls, ages 6 to 17, have experienced some form of neighborhood violence. Clearly, these numbers leave much room for improvement.

This report is the first of its kind to focus exclusively on girls, which allows Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama to direct its efforts toward bettering their lives. With programs focusing in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), financial literacy, healthy eating and exercise, and reading readiness, GSSA has a positive impact on every girl we come into contact with. However, with decreases in funding and a lack of volunteers, our ability to serve girls is in serious jeopardy.

Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama has the tools it takes to instill leadership skills into the girls of our future, but volunteers are desperately needed to put these tools to use. They are vital for the survival of our organization.

I want to thank the many volunteers who have joined us in this effort. Please spread the word to others about how rewarding this work is and how greatly it is needed in our communities. Together, we will change the outlook for southern Alabama's girls.  


The Girl Scout Leadership Experience changes lives.  Period. As volunteers and Girl Scout parents, you know this and so do I. 

I've watched my daughter and countless others become strong, capable, successful young women through their experiences in Girl Scouting.  Whether it's exploring careers, doing science experiments, or helping feed the homeless in their communities, Girl Scouts are developing skills that will serve them throughout their lives.

Through the Girl Scout Leadership Program these girls will develop a strong Sense of Self and Positive Values.  They will be Challenge Seeking.  They will develop and maintain Healthy Relationships. They will use these skills to participate in Community Problem Solving, contributing to their world in positive and meaningful ways.  In short, they will grow up to become women who make the world a better place.

I want you to meet a Montgomery Girl Scout alumna, who credits her experiences in Girl Scouts for who she is today. Deja Chappell, who will be attending YALE says, "Girl Scouts certainly played an early role in who I am today. The curriculum, badge work, and ventures demand engagement with the world around you. The last four years of Girl Scouts consisted of me working on an urban organic farm, going backpacking for a month in the Rocky Mountains, and studying Arabic intensively in Morocco."  What an amazing young woman and what a powerful story!

It's recruitment season, and our staff is busy working our communities to recruit new girls.  We need you to join us in spreading the word that Girl Scouts is something every girl needs.  Please, tell your friends, your neighbors, your fellow parents that:

Girl Scouting is relevant.  Girl Scouting is an important key for girls' success. Most importantly, Girl Scouting is something every girl needs.


It's my first week on the job as your CEO, and it's been a whirlwind of excitement.  School is starting across the council, and our staff is getting ready to head out into our communities to recruit new Girl Scouts.  This is my favorite time in the Girl Scout year, as it's full of such promise for new things! 

While it may be my first week as CEO, I've actually been on the job at GSSA for nearly 14 years. During this time, I've had the pleasure of getting to know many of you. I plan to spend some time this fall visiting service unit meetings and council programs, and I look forward to meeting those of you I don't know yet and learning more what is going on in your community.

To start, though, I want to tell you a little about myself.  Most importantly, I'm the mother to two precious children.  Our 10-year-old daughter is a Junior Girl Scout, who just earned her Bronze Award, and our two-year-old son is a running, giggling bundle of little boy fun. A native Alabamian, I grew up in Wetumpka, and met my husband of almost 16 years while we were working at The Auburn Plainsman during our college days at Auburn. We love to spend time together as a family, particularly if it involves traveling or our family movie nights.

As I mentioned, I've worked for Girl Scouts for many years. I'm a GS parent and also was a girl member.  I had such fun during my time as a Brownie Girl Scout at Saint James School in Montgomery, and my favorite GS memory remains my very first trip to Kamp Kiwanis. I began my work as a staff member as Development Director for the legacy council, South Central Alabama, and later served as Chief Operations Officer for that council. For the last nine years, I've worked as GSSA's Chief Operating Officer, directing the council's day-to-day operations and supervising several operational units.

I look forward to working with you and our hardworking staff in the coming years. We have great potential to make a difference in the lives of even more girls - and with your help, we will provide them with the skills they need to change the world.

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