CEO: December 2011 Archives

You are the Gift

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Happy Holidays!

This is the time when we take some time to reflect on the past year, while looking forward to what the next will hold.   I always try to consider those gifts received during the past year.   We had an excellent year, with more adults willing to share their gifts with the girls of Southern Alabama.   In so doing, they are building girls of courage, confidence and character who will change their world.  

 To put the year in perspective, I was just sorting through this past year's photos. What a great way to reflect on the many experiences that have stretched girls beyond their comfort zone.   These giving adults have taken them to new places, have them experience new activities and make new friends.   What is most important is these girls are building skills that will last their entire life.   What a wonderful gift you are to the girls you work with and your community.

I hope each one of you have a wonderful holiday season and a fantastic 2012.

liz

EricG.jpgGirl Scouts of Southern Alabama is pleased announce that Eric Gallichant was recently hired to serve as the council's Director of Public Relations and Marketing.
 

Gallichant, who attended the University of South Alabama, has already hit the ground running, gearing up for the 2012 cookie season preparing press packets for distribution to area media. 

He is coming to the council with more than eight years of experience in public relations, having worked as the Public Information Officer for the Mobile Museum of Art and Mobile Police Department where he also served as a sworn police officer for 12 years. In his spare time, he serves as Treasurer for the Joe Jefferson Players, the oldest continually running community theatre in Alabama.

"We are delighted to have Eric join Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama. As a native Alabamian, he understands the needs of the communities we serve and shares in the mission of Girl Scouts. He's an amazing addition to our GSSA family, and we know that his being here will help us reach many goals in our 100th year of Girl Scouting." Dr. Liz Brent, CEO of GSSA, said.

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I suspect most of our girls are smitten with the celebrities they see on "Entertainment Tonight," the cover of People magazine or in the theater.   This focus and attention on celebrities has grown over time.   We used to know some of what on in celebrities' lives, but now with technology and the internet, we have real-time feeds of what is going on with celebrities day and night.   But what if you did something to make your community a better place and became a ROCK STAR!  

Take our own Erin.   Erin is a quiet, bright, capable individual.   I emphasize the word QUIET.    She doesn't necessarily relish attention.   For her Gold Award, she built a helipad for her small community, Citronelle.   It is sustainable because the community embraced it and will continue to use it, long after she has graduated from college and made her way in the world.  

For this excellent project, she was nominated to be an OUTSTANDING YOUNG WOMAN OF DISTINCTION at the GSUSA National Convention in November.   One of 159 nominated, she was selected as one of 10 young women whose project made a difference.   This is a great honor, but it comes with responsibilities.   One of those is to get up and speak in front of the audience about her project.   Imagine how scary that would be, to speak to thousands of people with lights and cameras, when you are quiet and don't seek attention. 

 Another responsibility of that honor is to attend the Girl Leadership Institute of the national convention and participate in various sessions in front of lots of girls.   Erin had worked at camp, so she was more comfortable in front of girls.   But still, this is hard to have everyone listening to what you say. 

 Erin faced her demons.   She was nervous, but she got up in front of thousands and talked about her project.   Because she was a celebrity at the Girl Leadership Institute, she was mobbed by girls as she walked around; they wanted to pose for photos with her.   And last weekend, Erin served as the Grand Marshall of the Citronelle Holiday Parade.   Who knew that earning a Girl Scout Gold award came with such celebrity and trappings?!    I have watched how Erin has grown in confidence because of this.   Erin has had to muster up plenty of courage to talk in front of all these people.   She has left her community a better place because of what she has done. 

Would you like to see? Here's the video produced by GSUSA of Erin and her project:


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The time to give ... I always enjoy the holiday season.   I love the music, so much so my administrative assistant used to ask me to limit playing it only between Thanksgiving and Christmas.   There's the wonderful smells of trees, wreaths, the house decorations and the craziness of shopping.   The holiday season is a time of giving for many, but, in my world, the time of giving is year-round. 

We are privileged to work with adults who are committed to giving 12 months a year.   I was looking at some statistics on how to make a difference the other day, and one of the key ways in making a difference is spending time with children.   We need to let you know that what you do does make a difference in the lives of the children you reach.   We are grateful for the many hours you spend, the frustrations you endure, and the joy of changing the life of a girl.   During this time of giving, we THANK YOU for all you give to others.

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Taking action ... I was having lunch at the office the other day where some council staff members were discussing the difference between solving problems and giving money to solve problems.   GSUSA prohibits us from giving money to other organizations.  This is their policy that trickles down to us, as a council.   The office discussion was about how confusing this often is to leaders and troops, who want to assist with organizations and issues they are passionate about.    The staff members talked about giving food to those in need vs. the troop raising money for an organization to purchase food for those in need.  

With the policy of not raising funds for other groups, giving food would be considered "taking action," actually finding a way to address the problem.   I know we recognize the distinction here might be fuzzy, but being a Girl Scout is all about identifying community needs - discover, connect resources with community needs - connect, and then take action - meaning providing solutions.

 I used to take college students to Latin America for health projects during spring break.   There is one school of thought that, if we had simply taken all the money used for airfare, lodging and food to send to those in need, the problems may have been solved.   I always contended that, had we just "sent the money," those college students would not have understood those communities.  As a result, the many things the people had to offer provide an experience for those college students that would stay with them for the remainder of their lives.   We hope that as you work with your girls you try to move them to "take action" and experience how hard it is to solve some of our community issues.   Thanks for all you do to discover, connect and take action.

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