Why Deadlines Matter

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Last week was very busy at the Girl Scout office.   We had a number of large-scale events, school is getting started, so the membership drive has started in earnest, and the program calendar is starting its cycle.   It was a week of contrasts for me.   

The council staff is working hard to provide the best possible experience for your girls, as we are girl- centered also.   We understand what it is like to get parents to respond, bring you the money, and tell you if their girl is attending an event or not.   We feel your pain on that, because ours is multiplied geometrically on that issue.   We work with more than 400 troops, so as you have problems with issues like deadlines, imagine what is might be like in our world.

Each fall we identify what the deadlines are for program events and trainings.   We do that so we assure the program or event complies with Girl Scout Safety Activity Checkpoints, and we have the right supplies.   Too often a troop leader has come to an event, not registered and put the council staff in a position of telling the girls they can't attend or there isn't enough room.   This is certainly a position none of us wishes to be in.

This year we will have deadlines on events, and some of these will not be negotiable, even if you pay the late fee.   We will be doing this not because we like deadlines, but because the council program events often rely on others who do have deadlines that we can't adjust.   Last year we had many occasions when the council staff had to ask host organizations to expand what we had requested because of latecomers, which can be embarrassing and costly.   We won't be doing this for the 2012-2013 program year.

We time and date stamp registrations as they come in because we have programs that have a finite number of attendees, and in an effort to be fair, this is how we sort the registrations out.   This means that, if you call to complain, the first thing we will do is check whether the registration was late.

The topic of late registrations this week was in contrast to a great event with wonderful volunteers involved from start to finish.   We had a couple of large council events in the Auburn/Opelika area.   We had troops that got up early on Saturday so they could do the Thin Mint Sprint.   The troops arrived on time and seemed to have a blast.   The troop leaders spent time with the host troop leaders talking about ideas on what they did with their girls that worked.   It was a wonderful illustration of how, when you do attend an event at a distance, it might have some hidden rewards.   The girls I saw were having a great time, the volunteers smiling and happy, the host volunteers providing what was a spectacular event!  

That is what we want to do for every event this year, and we hope your girls can attend quite a few of them. Thanks for all you do to make this happen.

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