CEO: November 2011 Archives

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Dear Friends,

As we take time to feast on all the great food, family and friendship this Thanksgiving, we would like to thank you for the wonderful gifts you give to the girls you lead and to us.   Every day we are fortunate to interact with you as you share your gifts and talents with the girls in your community.   We are grateful for your willingness to share of yourself with others to make the world a better place. And we are, indeed, thankful for you this holiday.

We hope you have a bountiful Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama Staff

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Dear Volunteers,

As we prepare for our annual audit of our financial records and resources, we have been informed of a change.   Because your troop account is recorded at the bank under Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama's federal tax identification number, the council is legally responsible for those funds.   As you know, we do randomly audit troop accounts and always audit when we hear of issues and concerns.   We will continue that practice.  

However, our auditing firm, Smith, Dukes and Buckalew, has asked that we receive a brief report from each troop of the total income that went into the troop account from October 1, 2010, to September 30, 2011.   They also must know how much money was in the account on September 30, 2011.   This will be recorded in the GSSA council audit as a footnote.    The reason for this is that the government has begun tightening information that a not-for-profit has to record because of issues other organizations have experienced.  

If you do not have specific information, please provide your best estimate.   The GSSA audit begins on December 5, so if you could provide this information to the volunteer services staff person you work with as soon as possible, I would appreciate it.     Those individuals are Cheryl Miller at cmiller@girlscoutssa.org or Teri Eversole at teversole@girlscoutssa.org.    

I apologize for the late request for this information. I realize around the holidays everyone is harried with all sorts of things, but we met with our auditors last week, and they made this request.  Thank you for this and all you do to make the world a better place.

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What does girl leadership mean?    I was pleased to be asked to Auburn at the end of last week to attend a Silver Award ceremony.   I always enjoy these, as it provides a chance to celebrate what we do as Girl Scouts.   This was an exceptional group of girls who did a number of really great projects to earn that award.   I was touched with this group especially because they went out of their way to include the younger girls in all they did. 

 During the flag ceremony, they showed one of the younger girls how to take part.   After the ceremony, I saw them go out of their way to include the younger girls in the celebration.   It was a beautiful thing.   As I ponder on the many programs and activities we have, I am encouraged when I see a group like this illustrating by everything they do what it means to be a leader.   As we continue to make changes in programs and other activities to maximize our impact, it will be focused on avenues where older girls can hone their leadership skills with their younger counterparts to lead by example.

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Changes in our cookie payment procedures are coming, so thought I should circle back to something that was too heavily emphasized and sounded like a requirement during cookie training.   We have made some major changes to the cookie program trying to make it EASIER for you, the busy parent and troop leader.   But not all changes are easy, especially in the transition to them and thinking things through.  

During cookie training, there was strong emphasis placed on allowing the council to sweep your troop's cookie payment from your troop account.   That was a change offered this year by the cookie baker and the council with the hope of making your life easier.   We recognize many of you have to plan ahead to get that payment either to a service center or a staff person to get it to us on time.   The ACH (banking term for automated clearinghouse) payment is meant to make it easier for you to have the payment made.   We don't plan on using this for anything other than the cookie payment at this point, and the signer on your bank account has to authorize any sweeps.  We cannot see your checking account when we do this. We are simply given permission to sweep those funds from your account into the council account, so we can pay the cookie baker.   I heard some concerns that we would be "looking at troop checking accounts."   We are too busy to do that; we do audit troop accounts on a random or periodic basis, but as a general rule, we do not have the time to look at a troop account.   

The one caveat here is that GSUSA is starting to "require" that we look at more troop accounts.   But that is still in discussion, and the council staff stays very busy with the current workload, so we have no plans to do this at this time. I want to be clear that we are happy to do an ACH transfer of cookie funds from your troop account to the council account to make it easier for you.   However, you do not have to do this; it isn't required; and we always welcome your check as payment.   We are continually interested in trying to make the life of a troop leader easier.


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