CEO: October 2011 Archives

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Adding value ... isn't that what it's all about?   I had a rather lengthy and difficult encounter with someone we do business with last week.   It became increasing evident that, not only what we needed wasn't going to get done, but other things we needed from this business were getting tangled up.   I went home that evening talking to myself and asking, why do we do even business with them?   Really, I wanted them to do what they are supposed to do; that is my job, to assure the girls' funds are spent equitably and for the greatest good.   What I wanted this group to do was add value, do what they agreed to do and do it well.   We use them because they add value, so when they don't, I start asking is this the right group.  

What you do for girls is add value.   We know girls will play, talk to one another, learn from each other and grow up.   They can do that without being Girl Scouts.  What you bring to their childhood experience is adding value.   You assist them in connecting the dots between what they are taught and what they experience.   You teach them what "on my honor, I ..." means.   You assist girls with challenges, teach them to solve problems and "make the world a better place."   We appreciate how you contribute to the next generation by adding value to the lives of others.

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So why do we register to be Girl Scouts?   Unlike many councils across the U.S., GSSA struggles to get members registered in a timely fashion each year.   As I speak with other CEOs, many have 60 percent of their members registered before October 1, which is the beginning of the membership year.   We are nowhere near that percentage.

So you ask, well, why does it matter, really?   Yes, it does, and here's why.  With registration comes insurance for adults and for girls.   Although that might not seem like a big deal to you, each year we have countless insurance claims.   These range from a stumble and a fall at camp, to someone getting stabbed in the forehead with a staple while trying to work with a girl on a craft project.   It was an accident, but accidents do happen.

 If you are not registered, then technically you are not attending a Girl Scout event, and you are not covered by council insurance, so you would have to cover this personally.  Trust me, that $12 per girl member is much less expensive than many insurance claims.   The $12 registration fee goes directly to GSUSA, and GSSA does not receive any of those funds, but this is the only way insurance is covered.   I wind up writing this each year, and it feels like I am nagging.   However, it is important for you to understand the liability you assume by meeting and not being registered.  We cannot cover situations where you met, had an accident, but had not turned in your annual registration.   So, please, remember to register soon if you have not already done so.   Thanks to those of you who register early, or register on time, we appreciate your diligence.

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Do you think it's too much work to participate in the Fall Product Sale?   

Actually, we have been working to make the fall product sale easier, so if it sounds too much like cookie chaos, think again.   This sale is done via an order sheet, much like the cookie pre-sale.    We have changed vendors, because I was even confused about what software to get on last year to make an order.  We felt it needed to be easier, since you are doing many other important things.   We have put incentives in the program, hopefully giving the girls some reason to get involved.   

The proceeds from the sale go to the troop, so it provides some early funds for troop operations.   Given the number of troops planning to travel next summer, this is a good opportunity to get some funds early. If you are interested in participating in the fall product sale, it's not too late.  Just contact Cheryl Miller or Teri Eversole, and they'll get you on the right track.

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Yes, this is the  time of year that we start planning for summer camp.   It is important for the camp directors to get their plans nailed down so we can get the properties ready for the summer ahead.  Last year we saw a significant decrease in the number of girls attending resident camp, which we hope will not happen again this summer.

I had someone call and suggest we do an abbreviated session for Brownies.   We do offer abbreviated sessions for Brownies; in fact, we have one that includes moms!   Our initial camp registrations last year  were ahead of what they had been the year before.   But, as time went along, both resident camps had fewer girls.   I speculate some of this is from troops saving their funds to go on significant trips this summer.   We have a number going to Rock the Mall in Washington, D.C., and many traveling to Savannah.   Another problem for summer 2012 is the Montgomery School District isn't out of school until much later in June.  Because of these factors, we will reduce the number of camp sessions at both properties from four weeks to three weeks.   Given the number of girls we had last summer, I don't anticipate this will create any issues.   In fact, it should make for better sessions.   Both camp directors have new ideas on how to improve the programs.   They are both working to integrate the new materials from the Girls Guide to Girl Scouting in their programs.   We hope to have more information for resident camp available earlier this year and can't wait to see you at camp next summer! 

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