A recent syndicated article from the Associated Press reported in dramatic fashion about issues facing both Girl Scouts of the USA, as well as specific councils (June 24, "Girl Scouts beset by dissension, volunteer shortages, fiscal woes"). The article touched on other councils' selling camp properties, a national membership decline, an unstable pension plan, as well as ongoing restructuring at the national level.
While the article is accurate, it does not speak to the challenges and strengths here at Girl Scouts of Utah. Our council is financially sound and we are on track for our third year of membership growth. Also, 2013 was our best cookie sale year ever, and our camps are well maintained and not in any threat of being sold. The article also mentioned the risk of funding the pension plan. GSU has understood these risks since 2006 when a nation-wide realignment forced many councils to combine. Our council was unaffected by this change, and therefore the financial impact was not as severe as other councils' burden. Nonetheless, our council has planned accordingly for the pension and will meet our obligations.
Finally, the AP mentioned internal strife at the national level. I have met Anna Maria Chavez, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA, and have a healthy respect for her and her plan to make Girl Scouts a movement that appeals to the 21st century girl.
I wish the article had spent at least one paragraph on what our girls are doing; isn't that the most important part of Girl Scouts!? Our girls are accomplishing amazing things. Last year alone, Utah Girl Scouts collectively gave more than 570,000 hours of service to their communities. This year, we had eight girls receive their Gold Award, which is Girl Scouts' highest honor and it is attained only through doing a project that provides lasting and ongoing change in a community. Our programming is also touching girls' lives in migrant families, after-school programs, and Title I schools.
We are truly building the next generation of leaders at Girl Scouts of Utah, and we have the resources to continue, with your help.
Girl Scouts of Utah