Friday, October 30, 2015

Board Chair & CEO Conference Focuses on Girl Outreach

With virtually all 112 Girl Scout Councils represented, the 2015 Girl Scout Board Chair & CEO Conference provided the opportunity for board chairs, CEOs, and representatives from GSUSA to discuss organizational policies and procedures and develop strategies for bringing the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to even more girls. 

As the largest girl-serving organization in the U.S., Girl Scouts has incomparable reach. The organization is:
  • In virtually every residential zip code,
  • Socioeconomically diverse,
  • In schools, churches, temples, and mosques, and
  • Inclusive of all racial and ethnic groups. 
Girl Scouts says "yes" to every girl and breaks the leadership barrier for girls of all backgrounds. Our membership reflects the rich diversity of our communities, state, and country. In Alaska, with the help of 1,500 adult volunteers, we serve 5,000 girls who live in 90 communities both urban and rural. Thirty-seven percent live off the road system and 40 percent receive financial assistance.
GSAK serves 5,000 girls in 90 communities south of the 63rd parallel
"Girl Scouts is the only girl-focused, girl-led leadership organization in Alaska," Girl Scouts of Alaska CEO Sue Perles said. "GSAK seeks to serve more girls while providing fantastic programs and activities."

Held October 15-17 in Chicago, the Board Chair & CEO Conference gave Sue the opportunity to: 
  • Network with other CEOs, 
  • Meet board chairs from other Councils, 
  • Hear from other Councils that have implemented GSUSA's latest software, and 
  • Discuss ways GSUSA can support Councils and learn how Councils can increase membership. 
Sue attended in person and GSAK Board Chair Lynda Zaugg participated via phone.


GSAK CEO Sue Perles, center, with Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains
CEO Patricia Mellor, left, and Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest CEO Diane Flanagan
A highlight of the conference was speaking with GSUSA Board President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan. As a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and GSUSA's first Native American board president, Kathy was particularly interested in hearing about how Alaska Natives participate in GSAK. 

More than 30 percent of girls served by GSAK identify as Alaska Native. They participate in all our Pathways including: 
  • Troop membership, which enables girls to earn badges and complete Journeys promoting community service, skill building, environmental stewardship, world cultures, arts, sports, STEM, and collaborating as a team to set and accomplish goals;
  • Summer resident and day camps; 
  • Women of Science & Technology Day in nine communities, including Bethel and Dillingham; and 
  • Our own Council Patch series, which includes the Alaska Native Heritage and Alaska Traditions patches.
2015 summer day camp in Bethel 
Also discussed at the conference was the Girl Scout Gold Award, which will celebrate its centennial in 2016. 

“Only five percent of eligible Girl Scouts earn Gold Awards. It is a prestigious award that speaks boldly of each recipient’s commitment to community service, maturity, and integrity," Sue said. "We would love to see more girls pursue their Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. They are a fantastic learning experience for girls and a wonderful way to give back to the community." 

Girls who earn the award report greater success in reaching their goals in many areas including: 
  • Higher education and career 
    • Distinguish yourself in the college admissions process
    • Earn college scholarships
    • Enter the military one rank higher
  • Life skills 
    • Be seen as a role model and distinguished leader
    • Master time management skills
    • Make the world a better place
  • Community 
    • Use your vision for change
    • Tackle an issue, locally or globally
    • Establish a lifetime network
    • Create your community legacy with a sustainable solution to a problem
For information about the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards, including upcoming orientations, click here.


GSAK's 2015 Gold Award earners
The Board Chair & CEO Conference was "three days well spent," Sue said. "Talking to other CEOs and board chairs drove home the message that our girls can, and are, changing the world. We're here to help girls discover their strengths, passions, and talents. Any girl in grades K-12 is encouraged to reach out and see what Girl Scouts can do for her!"

For information, visit our website or call 907-248-2250 / 800-478-7448

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