Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama: August 2012 Archives


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.


I often write about what a girl can do, and we have a lot of material printed about what a girl can do -- most of the time it is amazing.   But last week I was again reminded what some great troop leaders can do. 

I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the unveiling of the Girl Scout stamp at the Montgomery Post Office.  What a great event it was!  There were plenty of dignitaries in the room, other troops in their sashes and vests and lots of parents.   As I gazed out at the audience, it was clear this troop has great leaders.   I have interacted with the leaders often, and they are great illustrations of why girls in their troop would be girls of courage, confidence and character.   Clearly the parents in this troop are engaged, involved and supportive.   When one of the girls was asked to speak to the media, unexpectedly, she got up and did an outstanding job articulating what it meant to be a Girl Scout.   Every aspect of the event included the girls and provided them with an opportunity to display their leadership skills.

We had experienced an especially chaotic week in the office, trying to get ready for school to start, so to have the opportunity to share with girls their next to the last day of summer vacation was delightful.   It reminded us why we LOVE Girl Scouts!


Many troops could use a little extra money this time of year, and a great way to earn it is through participation in our annual Fall Product Sale.

We had fall product training this past weekend for service unit team members to get the word out about this great opportunity to earn some early money to fund troop activities and plans.   To participate, you must already have sent in your 2012-2013 registrations, along with your money.  

Over the weekend, your service unit product sales representative should have received the log-in instructions to register your girls.   The packets for the sale have already been sent to the service unit team, so they are now available.   We are opening up the ONLINE magazine and nut sale to troops on Wednesday, August 15, so you can register your girls and take ONLINE orders commencing August 15. 

I realize your world is filled with chaos this time of year, with school starting and re-establishing your new routine, but we thought we would get this out there for those of you who want to earn some early funds for your troop.   The fall product program this year is themed around flamingoes.   I have to admit that I even like the stuffed flamingoes a girl can earn.   The regular sale starts on Oct. 1, but if you want to get a jump on things, or have girls that are eager to jump in and get rolling, here's your opportunity.

If you have questions on this, please contact Cheryl Miller at 334-312-0433 or


What exactly does that mean?   For many years, our public supporters were willing to fund Girl Scouts because they simply knew the program resulted in building leaders.   The evidence was clear -- name a female leader, and you will find most were Girl Scouts.   As public funds have declined, we have to make a better case that the many things you do with girls, builds leadership.  

The Girl Scout Leadership Experience, a curriculum provided by GSUSA through the Journeys and Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting, are linked to each state's curricular requirements.  Our funders, although they enjoy the visits with girls at allocation hearings, can no longer fund Girl Scouts simply based on the number of girls we serve.   We have to prove girls learn, grow, and change because of their Girl Scout experience.  

As we continue with the YEAR OF THE GIRL, the program team will be working to collect outcomes data from troop leaders and events via event evaluation forms.   We are looking for feedback on whether the girls involved learned what was intended.   Did the program enhance what the girls might learn in a classroom by having hands-on experiences?   Can we prove that our outcomes are worthy of public funding?  

I believe what we do collectively is building a great future for our girls.   Please help us as we ask for this data.   We recognize it takes more time at the end of some events, but we want to be able to continue to provide quality opportunities for all girls.   Thanks for all you do to build this great future!



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