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Think Halloween is just about ghost and goblins?  Definitely not!  As the days turn cooler and the 31st of October draws near, my thoughts inevitably turn to our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, whose birthday is that day.

Born in 1860, Juliette (or Daisy, as she was known) grew up in Savannah, Ga.  A fateful meeting in 1912 with Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts, inspired Juliette to establish Girl Scouts that same year. Telephoning a cousin from her home, she announced, "Come right over. I've got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we're going to start it tonight!" I just love that quote...who can resist her enthusiasm?

From that first gathering of a small troop of 18 culturally and ethnically diverse girls, Juliette broke the conventions of the time--reaching across class, cultural, and ethnic boundaries to ensure all girls had a place to grow and develop their leadership skills. 

I love to talk with children about Juliette, and there are many aspects of her life that they find entertaining.  They love hearing the story of how she sold one her most treasured possessions, her pearls, to launch the Girl Scouts.  They think it's totally cool that she was born on Halloween, and never cease to find it amazing that some of her hearing loss was due to have a piece of rice thrown at her wedding become lodged in her ear. Mostly, they are amazed that a single woman could start such an amazing organization.

Thinking about Daisy makes me proud to be a Girl Scout and inspires me (and I hope you, as well!) to continue our work to help girls develop the leadership skills they need to make our world a better place.

This birthday week, I hope you and your girls will take a moment to remember our founder and the wonderful legacy that she has bestowed upon us.  May we all live up to her great expectations...Happy Birthday, Juliette!


Obtaining her college degree from ESCC, while balancing a family, work and Girl Scouts; Brandy is most proud of this accomplishment. She has been with Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama for six years. The first four years she served as a volunteer Girl Scout leader and the last two years she has been a Field Executive. 

Brandy was a Girl Scout Brownie. She wanted her daughter to have the same experience she had as a girl. Her daughter has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten and is now in the fifth grade. She feels as though it is important to start building girls at a young age because girls are more willing to learn, they are excited and ready to begin new adventures. 

A piece of advice she would give young girls about life would be to let them know that there are going to be good and bad days. Don't let the bad days outweigh the good. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! She chose the hashtag #DISCOVER; "I feel that Girl Scouting is all about discovery. With every new activity, friend, or adventure that comes their way, girls "Discover" a little more of whom they are and who they want to be when they are older." 

Brandy is from Raymond, Nebraska and has lived in Alabama for 13 years. She enjoys gardening and wants to see Northern lights in person, travel to at least three different countries and to flip a house one day. Brandy has a husband of 14 years and two children; Elizabeth 10 and Christopher who is five years old.


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.  

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