Many of you may believe there isn't much to running a Girl Scout council. In some respects, that is correct. Girls having great Girl Scout experiences bring other girls into the program. However, parents driving troop leaders crazy, and troop leaders not fulfilling their duties, drive parents and their girls off. We often find there are two sides to that story. Making a troop function involves a lot of work on the part of the adults involved for the girls to have a quality experience.
The troops that seem to work best are the ones where parents are involved. That doesn't mean they are all the leaders, but at least they help. Some troop leaders assign parents to do activities one week during the semester. Other leaders have parents drive, bring treats, or assist with activities. There is no secret model to success, other than being focused on a quality experience for the girls.
We recognize that troop leaders don't like to disrupt the rhythm of their troop by adding new girls. However, each year we have hundreds of girls that desire involvement in Girl Scouts, but are unable to participate because no adults are willing to step up and volunteer. For this reason, we appreciate those who do commit to spending quality time with girls by becoming leaders.
Those girls sit on waiting lists, hoping. It is a difficult situation because we believe we can improve the world through Girl Scouts. The girls we have involved change their worlds daily, whether that is learning a life skill, participating in a civic endeavor, or just having fun with one another. These are girls not at home watching television or playing on the computer. Instead they get up on Saturday morning to snorkel in the Gulf, spend the night on the USS ALABAMA, explore robots, learn archery or canoeing -- the list is endless. But some girls don't have that opportunity because there aren't enough caring adults to accommodate them. If you believe your troop can manage some additional girls, please let your service unit manager or field executive know. We firmly believe all girls that want to be Girl Scouts should have that opportunity and hope you do, as well.
We are working on a different recruitment model this year, so service unit managers will be asking some of you to assist with recruitment events at schools. What we found is the few field executives needed to be too many places at the start of the school year, so please volunteer to assist. Our girl members were down more than 10 percent last year. This is directly related to the number of adults we can entice to have one of the best volunteer opportunities around.
The transition to the new E-Council software is getting close. We have the membership module moved. At this time, we are testing the payment part of the system, so you can use your troop debit card or your own credit or debit card to pay. Just a reminder, GSUSA has increased the dues from $12 to $15 per year. All those monies go to GSUSA. Our funds come from the sale of cookies, fall products, and community support, which is primarily United Way funding.