GSACPC - Update Regarding Recent News Coverage

Posted: Jul 01, 2013

Dear Friends of Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council,

As you may be aware, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., has been in the news recently about falling membership, staff changes, lower cookies sales and pension issues in the organization.  As Board Chair of this Council, I wanted to take a moment to share my pride in the important work being done in Arizona for our girls today and our plans for the future.

The Arizona Cactus-Pine Council continues to show solid membership of more than 24,000 girls and has ambitious goals to bring the Girl Scout experience to more girls, especially in underserved areas.  We are also strengthening our program offering to girls through the collaboration of our innovation circles with key community members and organizations.   In fact, this summer we are offering exciting new programming in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Our outdoor programs are among the strongest in the nation.  We continue to update our camp properties and have the necessary resources to maintain them and fund depreciation.  This summer our three accredited residential camps are filled with girls experiencing the magic of an outdoor experience.  As you know, we have bold plans to renovate Camp Sombrero, located at the base of South Mountain, into an urban camp and leadership center for girls and women.   Needless to say, none of this would be possible without our strong financial position, with appropriate reserves, and the on-going support we receive from this community.

Some Girl Scout Councils, especially those in the Northeast, have been struggling to fund their pension plans.  This is certainly not unique to Girl Scouts as many companies and governments have similar struggles due to market forces and economic conditions.  The amount our Council is paying for pensions has not impacted our financial health.  Even with the need to fund the frozen national pension plan, we have replaced that benefit with a 403b plan that includes a match for employee contributions.

Girl Scouts depends on adult volunteers to support our programming.  As changing demographics accelerate, including the rise of poverty and deterioration of family structures, we face challenges in the recruitment and retention of volunteers.   However, we have been proactive in the innovation and development of new volunteers systems and engagement to support our girl programs.

Organizational challenges often arise when there is a change in top leadership, both in for-profit and non-profit organizations.  We fully support GSUSA in their transition and are a resource to their CEO and her team.  Unlike the GSUSA situation, Tamara Woodbury, CEO of the Arizona-Cactus Pine Council, has successfully led this Council for the last 20 years and remains committed to the future of the girls in Arizona.

Girl Scouts is the largest organization dedicated to empowering girls to reach their full potential and help them become strong leaders in their own lives and in their communities.  We are truly appreciative of your continuing confidence and support of this local Council.

Sincerely,

Margaret Serrano-Foster
Board Chair