April 2012 Archives

gloria_caddell.jpgFor over 50 years Gloria Caddell was an instrumental part of scouting in Mobile. She taught countless girls to swim, canoe, cook over a campfire, and live by the Girl Scout Law. In 2005 she was honored as a "Southern Hero" for her work in the community. Gloria's 90th birthday is May 8th and her family will celebrate this milestone Saturday, May 12th at 5:30 in the cafeteria at Little Flower Catholic school. Mass will be at 4:30. If your life was touched by Gloria please join us. If you are unable to attend, but would like to reach out to her, please contact her daughter, Mary Caddell: mtcaddell@comcast.net for Gloria's address.

Her family is putting together a book of memories - if you have a picture or special memory of Gloria, please contact her daughter Mary Caddell: mtcaddell@comcast.net.  We hope you can join in Gloria's celebration!

Where did the year go?    It is almost May, and you are too busy for words. There's graduation, end of the year picnics, thinking about what to do with the kids for the summer?   Its spring and the lawn is calling, but who has time for that with sports back in action, consuming your Saturday morning.   Then there's the Girl Scout trip with the cookie funds to be planned, coordinated and taken.   Oops, camporee, too; where will it all fit in?   There are too many things to do and not enough hours in the day.

Last week was National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and I want you to know that we value you, our volunteers.   We value who you are, that you take the time from your busy world to work with Girl Scouts.   We value your time, which is precious and insufficient most days.   We value how you teach girls to become contributing citizens in your community and your world.   We value that you share what you have to offer to girls so they too can become leaders.   You shape our future with your gifts.

We want to take just a minute in this really hectic time of year to thank you for who you are and what you do.   Thank you.


This is a great time of year if you work for Girl Scouts, because you have the opportunity to get outdoors and ready for camp.   It is always the highlight of my year, as I get to spend time working on things to enrich the girls' summer camp experience.   Some of the projects are in the early stages, others are not quite underway, but we'll get there. 

At this time of year, I like to check with the rangers to see what wildlife we have on our properties.   So far this year, we have had three rattlesnakes on three of the four camps.   The only camp we haven't seen a rattler on yet is Kamp Kiwanis.  

Last year Kamp Kiwanis had a rattlesnake, which is fairly unusual and likely the result of their habitat being destroyed with the tornado.   A few years ago, when we timbered Camp Humming Hills, the guys working on the timber project said they saw a jaguar with two cubs.   Recently, Wanda Smith, the ranger's wife was on the property and saw two jaguars.   They are incredibly elusive, to see them would be a tremendous gift, as their range is huge.  

In an effort to document our wildlife, we will be putting in some trophy cameras.   They take photos of movement, even at night.   They do that with an infrared flash, so they don't spook the wildlife.   I'm hoping we will have some fun and education about what lives at the camps when we aren't around.

We have one zip line installed at Kamp Kiwanis, and some of the board members took their fiduciary responsibility seriously and tried it the afternoon before the annual meeting.   We are intentionally installing the zip lines at girl level, and if they enjoy them, then we will look at putting more in higher places.   Right now, we have the test line in, and once we figure out how that works, we will install a few at Camp Scoutshire Woods.  For girls waiting to use the zip lines, since there's always a line at such things, we have a slack line, much like a balance beam made of a narrow tape between two trees.   It's the new hot thing on college campuses.

Paul Wright, the ranger at Kamp Kiwanis spent a large chunk of his time this winter clearing out the trees between the Pioneer Unit bathhouse and the lake to build a beautiful new dock for the sailing program.   This will keep the sailboat traffic and canoe traffic separate.   We also have more stand-up paddle boards headed to both Kamp Kiwanis and Camp Scoutshire Woods.


Did you know, girls can do anything?   Well, they can.   I'm always stunned and amazed at what our girls accomplish.  

I was talking to a leader a couple of weeks ago who told me about one of her girls who attending a military academy.   After not liking the school to begin with, she has grown to love it and looks forward to her career in the military.   I believe that many of the abilities she developed as a Girl Scout were put to good use because the skills girls build as Girl Scouts serve them throughout their lives. 

Micha, one of our girls, participated in the "Be It" contest for "Above the Influence," a program designed to discourage the use of drugs.   We were pleased to be informed recently that her slogan was selected as one of the best.   Her entry was "Fly Above All Expectations."   Her slogan went to a New York ad agency to have a design added to it.   It will be used in outdoor advertising in our council.   What a good illustration of  being "girl led."     When you see this billboard, know that it was a Girl Scout -- a girl who can change the world!

It's not too late to register to "Adopt A Distinguished Young Woman" for this year. Formerly known as Adopt an America's Junior Miss, this program allows Girl Scout troops to interact with contestants at 4 events over the time that they are in Mobile for the national finals, June 17-27. 

We've all been focused on 100th Anniversary events, but this annual event, unique to Mobile, is one of the highlights of the GSSA girl scout calendar. It is so rewarding for our girls to meet high-achieving young women whose ambitions and dreams can inspire them to  dream big for their own lives!    See what great role models  your girls can interact with if you participate in this program. 

Check out the Be Your Best Self patch program. If your troop completes the patch program by June 12, your troop will be recognized in a special ceremony at one of the events. 

Be sure when you turn in your Event Registration Form to list which states you would like to adopt.  The young women who are coming are really impressive!


This is the time of year when we start planning for next year.   It seems way too early for that, since we are still in the midst of this year, and  I'm not sure graduation is clearly in sight yet.   But this is when the planning starts.  

We collect feedback from volunteers on SNAP about the cookie program.   We conduct evaluations at the end of programs, such as Girls Rock Mobile.   Sometimes we use Survey Monkey to solicit your perception of events, like the annual meeting.   We use that data and feedback, as well as staff experience, to formulate plans for the coming year.

Our strategic direction is always the same from year to year.   Our board of directors, at its very first meeting four-and-a-half years ago, determined the direction; it is GIRLS FIRST.  It is our task each year to serve as many girls as possible.   We work to provide the best leadership experience we can through the curriculum and opportunities we have available.  Each year, as we have funds available, we continue to improve properties for girls to experience more in the outdoors.  It is incumbent on us to use what scarce resources wisely for the greatest number of girls.

Although we are a smaller council than many, we are fortunate to have a number of resources that serve us well.   We have had a communications strategy that has served, as well.   Over time we have tweaked this strategy predicated on your feedback.   GSSA Weekly is meant to be forward looking, focused on upcoming opportunities.   SWAPS is a printed document meant for our constituents, including parents, volunteers, alumnae and benefactors.   We work to leverage as much as we can on line, so you have those materials at your fingertips.   As we work to continue to make improvements, we are interested in your feedback on how to continue to serve GIRLS FIRST.



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