CEO: February 2013 Archives

liz_brent.jpg

I've been out and about during the cookie program.   If I see girls selling cookies, I make a point and going by to thank the girls.   In every instance, the girls I met were having a great time.   Some were playing with the empty boxes while waiting for customers.   Others were trying to stay warm.   I met one group that had been out in the wind for five hours -- now that takes some fortitude.    I talked to another pair on Saturday, and just while I was there, the wind took its toll, but the girls were smiling and enjoying themselves.   Most of the ones I saw in action were excellent sales people.   They approached customers with a smile, took rejection well, and made me proud that I have the privilege of working with these girls.

As an educator my questions are always the same. What are they learning from this?   Do the girls participate in the goal setting?  Do they make decisions?   Do they learn about money management?   Do they improve their people skills?   Do they learn business ethics?   Those are the objectives of the cookie program.   The ones I saw were doing an excellent job in all those areas.

I realize most of us will be grateful when the program is over, as it creates chaos for a couple of months. I always hear stories about kids who sleep with cookies, and actually, when I travel to my dorm room in Montgomery, I sleep with cookies too.

Thank you for all you do to make the cookie program a success.   Teaching the girls these skills are lessons that will stay with them for a lifetime.

liz_brent.jpg

Do you get irritated while waiting in the grocery store line, and the new checker comes in, opens the lane next to you and then takes the person waiting in line behind you?   Have you ever had to fly somewhere and pay a small fortune for an outrageously expensive airline ticket, knowing the person sitting next to you probably paid one-third of what you paid.   Where is the fairness? 

 As U.S. citizens, we have learned to line up at school at an early age. When I get ice cream, I appreciate the fact that the business has a number you can pull, so you get your turn in the order you arrived.   That's fair.  Unfortunately, most Girl Scout councils fund all their operations and expenses from the once-a-year cookie program. For the 2011-2012 membership year, 68 percent of our council's income was from the cookie program, so it is upsetting to hear a parent say "we aren't participating in the cookie program. "   I understand standing at a booth sale is a pain.   I also recognize collecting on bad checks takes time and winds up being very frustrating, but I see girls building confidence, finding their voice, managing people who are rude or don't want to buy cookies, and I'm convinced this is a good endeavor.

Many councils have implemented a program service fee, since your annual membership fee goes directly to GSUSA.  I felt that wasn't good for our council.   We want girls to participate in as many programs as possible!  Going forward, we will have different levels of pricing for council programs and services for those girls who elect to not participate in the cookie program.   It isn't fair to all the girls who participate in the cookie program to pay for those who do not.   We requested participation at a minimal level, at least 24 boxes of cookies.   If you elect not to participate in the cookie program, pricing for council programs, events, and properties will reflect the actual amount it costs to produce the program or operate the property.

This year more than 5,000 girls in our 9,000 are participating in the cookie program.   What some of those girls accomplish is unbelievable.  I spoke with a girl a week ago who was already sold more than 1,000 boxes, and we still have weeks to go.   There's still time to teach your girls how to become cookie entrepreneurs.

Thanks to those who are tired of thinking about cookies for what you do to make the world a better place through creating young entrepreneurs.

liz_brent.jpg

Those of us who work with cookies up close and personal are always thinking ahead.   Cookie season is chaotic, so as we keep moving cookies around, our minds turn to spring and then summer.   Those of us who work at the council office love summer because it is our opportunity to get out of the office and enjoy some fun with the girls.   We do a lot of planning for summer camp now, while the cookie program is in progress.   And that planning is a fun thing, working on programs girls love and thinking of new ones that will attract girls. 

 In an effort to save money, we will have only one camp staff this year.   Our camp numbers are decreasing, and it doesn't make financial sense to have two summer camp staffs.   We will have one staff who will do the first three weeks at Camp Scoutshire Woods and then the last two weeks at Kamp Kiwanis.   We will also have the Mariners sailing program at Kamp Kiwanis near the end of the regular sessions.

Each year I have a parent say their daughter would attend camp, but the weeklong session is a lot for the first time out.   We do have a three-day camp session for Brownies and Juniors, which is offered at both resident camps.   It is aimed at the first-time camper and affords them the opportunity to try out camp activities such as cooking over a fire, singing camp songs, swimming, and canoeing.  We do hope you will consider this.   It is a great way to get a girl interested in camp without being gone all weeklong.

We are planning some STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs at camp this year.   If that sounds too much like school, it isn't.  Girls will use the technology of fingerprinting during the CSI Detective program, learn about geography during the Letterboxing and Geocaching treasure hunt sessions, or use simulated space travel to explore the cosmos with our Astronomy program.  So you can learn about science painlessly while having lots of fun in the woods.

There are two canoe trips planned, the first one being on the Okatoma River during the first week of Camp Scoutshire and the second one on the Tallapoosa during the first week on Kamp Kiwanis.   This is an opportunity for older girls to test themselves on faster water than Echo Lake or Lake Martin.   Those sessions require that you be a proficient swimmer and have experience in a canoe or kayak.   These usually fill up quickly.

Another new session is Camp Theatre!  Girls will open up their creativity by learning performance skills such as stage movement, improvisation, voice lessons, clown and mime.  Girls will showcase their talents for their parents at the end of camp.

Those girls who sell more than 600 boxes of cookies receive 175 program credits toward a reduced camp rate.   Applications for camp are due March25.

We also have some other big programs where girls can use their cookie program credits.   One is an overnight trip to Space Camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.    This is the first time we have offered this program in recent history.    The cost is $129 per person, so you can use cookie program credits to attend.   Another program to consider is a trip to see the hit Broadway show Wicked in New Orleans on June 1.

Hopefully, your girls are excited for these opportunities and others the cookie program provides.

Thanks for all your hard work during this time of year.

liz_brent.jpg

How do we know what you do as a Girl Scout make a difference?    This is one of many questions the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) has studied recently to document outcomes of participation in Girl Scouts.   This study examined the relationship between Girl Scout experiences and success in school.   Rather than a pre-test, post-test research design, it involved surveys of active Girl Scouts administered near the end of the academic year.

So what did the GSRI researchers discover in this research project?

  • Girl Scout participation has a positive impact on girls' leadership

  • Most Girl Scouts in this study are academically successful - they finish their homework, get good grades and understand their class work

  • Girl Scouting influences academic success as much as, and sometimes more than, non-Girl Scout factors known to impact academics

  • Girls who gain experience solving problems and seeking challenges in Girl Scouting are more successful in school than girls who gain less experience in these areas

  • Some Girl Scout experiences are more beneficial than others in promoting the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) outcomes that influence academic success

  • Lower socio-economic status (SES) girls report greater benefits from Girl Scouting than do higher-SES girls

So, please remember, what you do with girls does make a difference.   For more information on this report or to read the full report, visit the Girl Scout Research Institute website, www.girlscouts.org/research/.

Links

  •  

  • © 2006-2014 Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama, Inc. 1-800-239-6636. All Rights Reserved.

  • Join us on: