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.
Girl 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.
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
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:
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.
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.