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How can it be almost November already?  The leaves are falling, cooler air is moving in, and it will be the holidays before we know it.  As usual, I find myself wondering where the time has gone.  Thank goodness, I've at least purchased Halloween costumes for our kids (we have a fireman and a fairy this year), and our Thanksgiving plans have been made. The rest will fall into place!

Before October slips away, I want to remind you that the deadline for Fall Product Sales is coming soon (see your Troop Fall Product Manager for the exact date). The sale is going well so far, but we need your help to make a strong finish.  Participating in the Fall Product Sale is a quick and easy way to provide start-up funds for the year and get your troop off to a great start. It's also a great way to purchase some holiday goodies and gifts ahead of time. 

Fall program events are off to a great start, but make sure you register for upcoming events soon, as they are filling up.  Events with deadlines soon include: Outdoor Badge Day at Lanark (featuring the new Outdoor Art badges), Night Moves, Hyundai Tour, GS Day at Auburn Football, and Cookie University. Wing It! registration has already closed, due to reaching our maximum.)

We are delighted to have a new Program Planning Manager, Jenny Kurtz, who will work out of the Montgomery office. She and our new CFO, Bob Buss, started work on Monday, and we are so glad to have them on board! 

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Ready to think about doing some running?   We are hosting a THIN MINT SPRINT in Mobile on August 20.   We have presented this event before, and it is always a lot of fun, whether you are a runner or not.   We try to make it a healthy event, so you can run, walk, jog, or whatever you choose for the fun of it.   It is a sanctioned event by the Port City Pacers, in case you are in search of points for a qualifying event.

This year, the THIN MINT SPRINT will be held within the University of South Alabama's campus.   It is a family-friendly event, so bring the kids, bring the spouse, or bring the troop (or all three!).   Because it is within the confines of the USA campus, it should be a safer event than the usual road race.   We also plan to have a health fair in addition to the other activities of a run and fun run.

It should be some early fall fun right around the time of the beginning of school, so consider putting it on your calendar as a family outing. It's a great way to have some fun and support Girl Scouts at the same time.

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Now's the time to take some of the cookie proceeds your troop has left and register your girls for next year.   I'm always amazed at how few folks take advantage of early bird registration.   Troops that are intact and ready to go in the fall practically have their pick of the use of all our camps, since camp reservations don't usually ramp up until October. This means there are all sorts of good opportunities to use camps and do things in the early part of the school year.

Early bird registration, as with all Girl Scout registration, comes insurance coverage.  If you are not registered, you don't have Girl Scout insurance coverage.   Your troop, by being registered, can sign up for the fun and exciting council events we have scheduled for the fall.   The program staff is busy working on plans for fall (yes, it does seem really early, but they start now).   Some of the new events in the works are two Journey weekends, a day program at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, and so much more!

Also, if you register now, this is simply one less thing to remember in the fall.   We know that, when school starts, everyone is in need of your funds for one thing and another.   Consider it, your girls get an early bird patch if you register by June 17.

Click here for more information on Early Bird Registration.


It's time for some fun!   Now that school has started and everyone is starting to settle into a routine, it's time to look at your calendars and plan some fun.   That's the great thing about Girl Scouts, you can have lots of fun while learning things.

GSSA works to offer programs that an individual troop can't easily plan.   The program staff works hard on topics for events that girls will have a lot of fun with.   Those opportunities are listed on the website under EVENTS and PROGRAMS   There are deadlines for each event, so pay attention to those, since some of the programs fill quickly.

The fall program schedule is chock full of great events spread throughout the council.   You can go back in time to the 1800s for a program in Dothan.   There's an archeology program called Dig In, where you explore the fun of learning what is in the dirt.   A program we have done parts of but will do a longer session is called Camp Conservation, where girls look at skulls, learn about water, recycling, birds and the environment.   The University of South Alabama is offering ChemScouts where girls can explore chemistry in a fun and exciting manner.   The Dauphin Island Sea Lab mini-destination is always a great program, but tends to fill quickly.   For those of you who are night owls, what about a program where you explore what happens at night in the outdoors?   Another fun program is the Princess Party with the Kappa Delta Sorority at USA.

Hopefully, you can find some fun programs for your girls this fall that everyone will enjoy.   Have fun while learning!


The end of summer is drawing near, so we are busy planning programs for the 2015-2016 school year.   We are always in the process of looking for new adventures for the girls and this year will be no different.  

Just to provide some background, council-sponsored programs are activities and events that most troops would have a hard time doing individually.   We try to provide larger-scale activities that a troop generally could not do.   We do often have minimum participation cut-offs, which are driven by the cost effectiveness of the program.   We understand that, as a troop leader, you are often juggling many parents who cannot or will not commit to programs well in advance.   But often we have to tell the host how many are coming and order patches, food, and other necessities.   We always hate to cancel council-wide programs, but will if we do not have enough registered by the cut-off date.

We have some programs that are always a hit with the girls, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, the overnight in the USS Alabama, and the Montgomery Biscuits sleepover are always well-attended and great programs.   Last year there was a new dolphin adventure.   There were some first time issues with that the staff is working through.   We also had a great program at NAS Pensacola.   Many of these favorites are back on this year's schedule.

Other programs this year include a series of events centered around the new outdoor badges, Kappa Delta Badge Day in Mobile, Archeology Day, Pi Day in Auburn, a Camp Conservation program, McWane Camp-in and a High Adventure Day, among many others. 

It's going to be a fun year!


It is spring, which means it's time for us to start planning for next fall.   It seems hard to believe we start now, but we do.   We are always looking for new and educational events and activities for our girls to participate in, and this year we had a number of new programs offered across the council.  

The general criteria for the council to offer a program is that it should be something a troop individually cannot do or do easily.   In addition, it needs to be attractive enough for folks to travel from one part of the council to another because it is not cost-efficient to use the girls' money to plan council events for less than 50 girls.   Because of this, most events will be larger, that is always desirable.   If you have some thoughts or ideas of good events that you believe girls would like, please let us know at

This year, we had some great new events that have received excellent reviews.  Auburn University hosted an equestrian day for the girls and a fantastic Pi Day event that was filled with all sorts of hands-on science experiments.   Recently, we had a day with the dolphins in Gulfport, which filled twice, and the girls loved it.   We also had a new program at the zoo in Gulf Shores.  

Again, one of the caveats in planning events is they must attract people from around the council.   We have worked at hosting a number of programs in the Wiregrass area and have been disappointed they didn't make the minimum attendance required.   .

We will be starting to do some strategic planning, involving volunteers, always looking for ways to make the Girl Scout experience better for the girls we serve, so be on the lookout for those questionnaires and surveys in the near term.

As we work through our girl numbers this year, we find that some folks did not register until the cookie program.   Just a reminder on this, for now and I will do so again in the fall.   If you are not registered and participate in activities and there is an accident, you are held liable, not GSSA.   So you do that at your own peril.   The $15 price is a small price to pay for insurance coverage in case there is some type of accident.

We are also working on getting things ready for summer resident camp.   We will have a commuter option for those who do not want to spend the night.   Again, we take girls from the Mobile Service Center to Scoutshire Woods and the Montgomery Service Center for Kamp Kiwanis to be cost efficient.   We found last year that we had a number of girls who were able to enjoy camp this way.

Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place.   Please share your ideas on programs you would like to see.


This is the time of year frenetic with activities, events, and programs where girls are having some fun!    Last Thursday, we had Advocacy Day at the State House with the State Legislature.   We had a large group of girls who got to see the legislative process in action.  It was a good lesson in how complex the legislative process is.  

We were fortunate to have Young Boozer, the State Treasurer, take time from his busy schedule to talk with the girls.  Last weekend, we had the always-popular sleepover on the USS Alabama, a huge crowd for that.   I heard some girls didn't get much sleep, but all had a lot of fun.   Then the AU WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) group sponsored Pi Day, a daylong STEM program.   That program received great reviews, with all types of hands-on activities for girls to explore science and learn while having fun.   They would like to host that again next year, which we look forward to.

This weekend we have the NAS Pensacola event, which looks like fun touring the museum there, taking the trolley tour, watching an IMAX movie, tour the lighthouse, and having one of the generals speak.   Having recently visited there for the first time, it was a great place to spend a day.   The upcoming Dozing with Dolphins event was so over-subscribed that we had to add another date, so the program team is providing some great programs for the spring for girls to test their skills, learn some things through fun activities, and become leaders.

For those who are interested in a travel adventure, we have a mini-destination this summer to Huntsville.   What a great place to explore how the State of Alabama contributes to research and science through space.   Further details for that can be found on our website, and they are definitely worth checking out.

liz_brent.jpg everyone who moved cookies, sold cookies, marketed cookies, or had anything to do with the cookie program.    We are still working through some of details, but it looked like we did okay on the cookie program this year.   I recognize it is a tremendous amount of work and effort on the part of thousands of you to make that a success.   I always hear great stories about girls who found their voice, learned more about arithmetic, was able to make eye contact with strangers and a variety of other life skills from that one program.   So thank you for all you did to make everything about that program successful. 

We have gotten back into the swing of things with some great Girl Scout programs to celebrate Girl Scout week, which for us is every week.   Thanks to our hosts at Auburn University for a great equestrian program.   I saw the pictures and it looked like a great time.   We have Pi day this weekend, again thanks to Auburn University who is hosting this STEM day for the girls.   The USS Alabama Battleship sleepover is maxed out with girls, a great weekend is on tap for that one.   The Joy to Life walk in Montgomery is scheduled for April, if you have girls that need community service hours they need items made for the Survivor Tent.   Also, one of my favorites each year, the Biscuits baseball game and Camporee sleepover is in April.

We have a mini-destination scheduled for Huntsville, there is lots to see and do while there.   It would be a great way to explore science and be awestruck with how STEM can turn into a job that changes the world by going to space.   A great opportunity to explore the Great State of Alabama!


Thanks to the staff at Wehle Land Conservation Center for hosting us.   Many attendees remarked to me about how beautiful the property was, even though they had done some burning recently.   The birds were abundant, and the girls seemed to have a good time, which is what it is all about.

We welcome a number of new members to Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama's board of directors.   They are Holly Adcock from Prattville, Christie Crow from Union Springs, Carrie Gray from Montgomery, Garrad Green from Mobile, Ramona Hill from Spanish Fort, and Bill Lancaster from Mobile.   We also welcome a new board chair, Janie Corlee, from Auburn.

I would like to thank the following long-time board members for their many years of service.   They include Helen Alford, who served as the board chair for two years.   Marian Loftin of Dothan was on the board from the council's inception.   Alonzetta Landrum-Sims, from Montgomery, was part of Girl Scouts of South Central Alabama's board of directors, so she has served many years. Dr. Larry Turner, from Chatom, joined the board not long after GSSA was born.    Finally, Alisa Summerville has been involved for two board terms.   All have spent hours working in the best interest of the girls on topics most troop leaders aren't interested in, including budgets, financial statements, audits, contracts, insurance, and other facets of doing business as a not-for-profit.   In addition to these wonderful folks, I would like to thank Nancy Greenwood, who has served as the board chair for the past two years.   Nancy has provided consistent, reliable and supportive leadership during her tenure.

The other business of the meeting included electing the delegates and alternates to the 2014 GSUSA National Convention in Salt Lake City.   In the near future, we will begin to share the business before that convention for member input and comments.   We distribute that input and comments to the board delegation, so they can effectively represent you.

The report passed out at the annual meeting, which is retrospective to the 2012-2013 year, is now on the website.   The reason this goes back that far is because our annual audit for that year is not complete until February, so all the information on that report is for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Each year, we also like to report to troops what their troop proceeds are for the cookie program.   We are still cleaning up some of the details, but we believe parents should be informed of how much the troop made in proceeds.   Each year, I'm asked whether troops make only 10 cents per box sold.   That is not accurate!  The amount varies because of troop bonus and service unit bonuses, but it is much more than 10 cents per box.   If you click here, you can search for your troop and the minimum your troop should have from the 2014 cookie program.

We are always happy to take questions about the annual report, financials or any other questions.   Please send them to

The very best part of the 2014 annual meeting was awarding three Girl Scouts who earned their Gold Awards.   They are highlighted in this annual report.   We would like to congratulate them and all the girls who earned Bronze, Silver, or Gold Awards this year.   These girls rock!  

October 18, 2013



Now that you're a Girl Scout, let's have some fun and learn while doing it!   Not only are the girls in this council successful cookie sellers, they have the benefit of some tremendous resources for programs.   We are fortunate to have an excellent program team that puts together great programs and leverages many of the resources of the council footprint.   I thought I would run through a few programs for girls to have some real fun with. It is important to register early since some of these opportunities will fill up!

Mobile - Scouting for Food - November 9 - we are partnering with the Mobile Area Council Boy Scouts of America to help feed the needy.   This is one of the largest one-day food drives to help supply area food banks as winter approaches.   Food is collected in bags and taken to area Greer's Markets.   This is a great way to contribute to the community and earn community service hours.

Auburn - Thin Mint Sprint/Glow Run - November 2 - we have had successful Thin Mint Sprints around the council.   This year the run/walk takes a new twist.   It is a glow run, which is the new trend in the running world.   It takes place in the dark, and runners/walkers will have the opportunity to participate in all sorts of glow fun!   There's glowing fingernail polish, a glow tunnel, glow face paint, a tot trot and glow games.   It's a great family fun opportunity to get some exercise and show off your inner glow!

Mobile - Kappa Delta Badge Day - November 2 - the KDs at the University of South Alabama are great role models for girls and host a badge day for girls of all ages to earn badge that reinforce becoming a girl of courage, confidence, and character.   There are badge opportunities at every age level.   The KDs spend a great deal of time on this opportunity and everyone I've talked to about this event says it has had the girls spellbound.

Troy - High Adventure at Camp Butter & Egg - November 9 - we are proud of our zip lines, but Camp Butter & Egg has climbing walls, climbing nets, double zip lines and a number of high-adventure elements to challenge even the most adept Girl Scout.   Using this camp provides a tremendous opportunity for girls to put their skills to the test in a safe and friendly environment.

Montgomery - Zumba - November 16 - do you love to dance?   Do you enjoy getting some exercise while making some great moves on the dance floor?   Come to Zumba at the Montgomery Volunteer Center.   Dance to the music with your Girl Scout sisters, have some fun and get that body moving!

Montgomery - Handmade Holidays - November 23 - the holidays are right around the corner.   Do you prefer to give gifts that express your inner artist?   Handmade Holidays is the girl event for you.   Make cards, crafts and a canvas while listening to holiday music.   This is a great way to get a jump on holiday shopping.

This is just a sampling of the many fun events and activities to get your Girl Scouts out and having some fun while learning skills.   Others with deadlines and pertinent information can be found on under the events and programs tab or subscribe to the weekly GSSA e-newsletter.

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