We’re 2.7 million strong—1.9 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe girls can change the world. It began over 100 years ago with one woman, Girl Scouts’ founder Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low, who believed in the power of every girl. She organized the first Girl Scout troop on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, and every year since, we've made her vision a reality, helping girls discover their strengths, passions, and talents. Today we continue the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. Girl Scouts is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls across the globe and within Connecticut where we serve 32,000 girl and nearly 16,000 adult members. And with programs for girls throughout the state, Girl Scouts of Connecticut (GSOFCT) offers every girl a chance to do something amazing. As Girl Scouts, girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Girl Scouts helps girls develop their full individual potential; relate to others with increasing understanding, skill, and respect; develop values to guide their actions and provide the foundation for sound decision making; and contribute to the improvement of society through their abilities, leadership skills, and cooperation with others. Since 1912, Girl Scouts has served over a million girls and young women across Connecticut. Our more than 100 years of being fully-focused on, and responsive to, girls' interests and needs sets us apart from other organizations serving girls.
It began over 100 years ago with one woman, Girl Scouts’ founder Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low, who believed in the power of every girl. She organized the first Girl Scout troop on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, and every year since, we've made her vision a reality, helping girls discover their strengths, passions, and talents.
Girl Scouts of Connecticut (GSOFCT) was formed in 2007 with the merger of five councils. We have five service centers and 13 outdoor activity sites across Connecticut. In our last program year, we served 31,944 girl and 15,534 adult members. Since 1912, we have provided Girl Scouting to over a million girls and young women throughout the state. Our more than 100 years of being fully-focused on, and responsive to, girls' interests and needs sets us apart from other organizations serving girls.
The Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) is the framework for what girls do in Girl Scouting, how they do it, and how they will benefit. The GSLE is built on three core implementation strategies, or processes, that support girls’ leadership development: girl led, cooperative learning, and learning by doing. Girl Scout activities are designed to help girls gain specific knowledge, skills, attitudes, behaviors, and values in support of the Girl Scout mission. A girl will:
Discover her special skills and talents, find the confidence to set challenging goals for herself, and strive to live by her values. This includes being proud of where she came from as well as where she's going.
Connect with others, which means she learns how to work with others, communicate to solve conflicts, and have healthy relationships. These skills help her in school right now and prepare her for any career she chooses in the future.
Take Action and make the world a better place, learning a great deal about her community and the world along the way.
Girl Scouting is available through a variety of pathways designed to match girls’ interests and availability. In addition to troops that meet regularly, we offer scheduled events, series programs, special interest groups, camp experiences, and travel opportunities on a local and statewide basis.
GSOFCT’s high-quality programs and services are providing girls of all ages and backgrounds with the necessary skills and support they need to achieve success and build upon the strengths of our community. In 2016, we provided financial assistance to over 7,000 girls so that they could participate in Girl Scouting. The vast majority of these girls were in urban, under-resourced communities who would not otherwise have access to the positive, life-affirming activities available through Girl Scouts.
*a Strategic Plan engaging key stakeholders in the process
*conversion to online membership registration reducing staff time and increasing responsiveness to members.
*development of a Long Range Property Strategy for our outdoor properties to better meet the needs of our members.
*a celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Girl Scout Gold Award
While supporting our traditional troops, we have targeted underserved populations of girls, delivering our programming to them in schools, community centers, and other non- traditional venues through community-based partnerships. We address girl-to-girl bullying, positive body image and healthy lifestyles and offer girls hands on experience in STEM and outdoor programs. College Pathways helps to prepare teenage girls for the process of applying to college and receiving financial aid, through educational sessions for them and their families and college visits. Our Girl Scout Gold Award rivals the coveted Boy Scout Eagle Scout Award, permitting our most senior members the opportunity to leave a lasting and meaningful impact on their communities. A good percentage of the money from cookie sales goes directly back to the Girl Scouts who sell them, and in many cases these girls use the proceeds to complete a project to benefit their local community. In the State, we ship over 125,000 boxes of cookies to veterans, active soldiers and other first responders through our Cookies for Heroes program.
We know that Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. Studies conducted by our national organization demonstrate the discernible positive impact of Girl Scouting on academic success, as well as on the lifestyles girls will lead as successful adult women.
One of the challenges facing Girl Scouting today is that we are the best girls’ leadership organization that no one recognizes as such. We have celebrated more than 100 years of success. Our future lies in telling our leadership story and delivering Girl Scouting to any girl who wants to be a Girl Scout, in a way that complements her lifestyle and the community where she lives. Girl Scouting is here to stay and it has significant relevance in our efforts to get our girls to where they want to be in life.
Finally, I want to say that we are an incredibly fiscally responsible organization with strong governance. Our staff lives by the values of our mission; we put mission before all else.
Girl Scouting has been available to girls in Connecticut since 1912 when the first Girl Scout council chartered by Girl Scouts of the USA was established in Litchfield County. Since that time, Girl Scouting has grown considerably in our state. Today, we serve 32,000 girls in virtually every Connecticut town and are blessed with 16,000 adult members, nearly 70% of them engaged as active volunteers.
Despite all the progress we have made to build a stronger and more sustainable organization, we face a number of challenges that could affect our future growth and prosperity:
· Membership in Girl Scouting here in Connecticut and across the country has been in decline; in Connecticut at about a 3-6% rate each year. Part of the reason is because girls have more after school choices and in part because we have more girls wanting to be Girl Scouts than we have available volunteers. We have also have underinvested in technology and other infrastructure enhancements to make it easier for our volunteers to “do business” with us. We are addressing these issues through our Customer Engagement Initiative, a transformational program that will span the next three years to bring meaningful improvements to the service we offer our volunteers.
· Ensuring that we have an active and engaged Board is critical to our overall success. We must consistently evaluate the contributions of our Board and improve our governance to make sure that we have the right leadership.
· Succession planning for Board and key staff are critical ongoing concerns.
· Historically, we have not invested enough to provide sufficient impact analysis of our programs. Over the past two years we have worked to improve our capacity for program assessment, participating in building evaluation capacity trainings offered by Hartford Foundation for Public and hiring a full time Program Assessment Professional.
· To enable parents and girls to better understand the value of Girl Scouting today, we are working on messaging to demonstrate the value of participation; sharing with our stakeholders research-based evidence on the impact that Girl Scouting has on girls.
· Like any non profit, we continuous seek ways to diversify our revenue streams. The Girl Scout Cookie Program is a great financial literacy program for girls, and has also been a major source of operating funds. However, we are exploring other channels to support our operations and improve our success in fundraising. This is even more challenging given shifts in corporate funding objectives since the recent recession. Clearly, there is more appetite by corporate and individual donors today for program restricted philanthropy, and we must adapt to that reality.
· The passion and commitment of our staff are our greatest assets. However, given the high cost of employee benefits and comparable salaries in the region, keeping a well qualified staff in place is a challenge.
Mary is a graduate ofNew YorkUniversity and holds a Master of Business Administration in Finance fromFordhamUniversity. She completed post graduate coursework at the Wharton School.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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When families, schools and communities take the view that children and youth are valued and respected assets to society, they necessarily support environments that nurture youth development. Children raised to embrace positive social values, to seek self-understanding, and to value their self-worth grow to become community-minded young adults with a sense of belonging and a belief in their resiliency. See how you can help our community's children grow into tomorrow's leaders.
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