Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland CEO Liz Workman presented the following State of the Council remarks during the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon & Annual Meeting on April 5 in Salina.
State of the Council
I am excited and honored to be standing here before you today as the CEO of Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland. My first nine months have flown by. Each and every day I am energized witnessing our many successes in building girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. We are here today to celebrate the achievements of our older girls and to recognize our many volunteers who play a myriad of important roles in delivering Girl Scouting experiences to the girls throughout our council. And yes, we are here to take care of some council business, as well.
I know when I meet a Girl Scout. Girl Scouts shine; they reflect the confidence their experiences have ignited in them; they raise their hands to lead; they take action and give back to their communities; they set their sights on the stars.
I was in Savannah last week. I still have goose bumps from visiting our birthplace and eating dinner at our first Girl Scout headquarters. I got to meet several visiting troops and hear Savannah Girl Scouts share their aspirations. My time in Savannah really brought home the importance of our Movement. We have the reach and the experience to help girls – to equip them with values and leadership experiences in a fun, supportive environment where they can thrive – so that they can lead everywhere! We know that when girls are given the opportunity, they change the world!
I’m going to quickly highlight our Council’s successes over the past membership year.
In the spring of 2013, we changed our organizational structure to fully staff our five regional offices so that we can better serve our girls and volunteers in each area of our council.
Last fall, we held five regional Leadership Conferences attended by 110 girls in grades six through 12, and 141 adults. This was more than double the participants we had the prior fall.
Our council’s community partners providing programming grew from 25 in 2012 to 62 in 2013. Our Outreach, or Girl Scout Club, members increased by 181 percent (1,653 during the 2013 Membership Year versus 587 during 2012).
In 2013, our girl members totaled 12,102, up 29 from 2012, and our adult members totaled 4,391, which is down somewhat from 2012. Overall, our total membership decreased modestly by just over one half percent, as compared to an average drop of almost 6 percent in total membership at the national level.
Last year was our first year of on-demand direct sales for our Cookie Sale Program. There were some challenges, but it was a great success. Over 1.7 million packages of cookies sold, an 18 percent increase in gross sales!
Fast forwarding to today and looking toward the summer months, our current 2014 membership is down from last year. We have just under 10,000 girl members, and we have approximately 4,300 adult members. (Figures as of the end of March)
On the Cookie Sale Program front, the girls sold over 1.5 million packages this year. The decrease from 2013 reflects our lower girl membership. But we have a lot of Cookie Sale Program wins to celebrate this year! Our per-girl average packages sold increased to 232 from 219. Our average boxes sold by troops increased from 1,882 to 1,898. And, our Cookie Shares also increased almost 5 percent! Overall, 532 girls sold 500+ packages and 56 girls sold 1,000+ packages. I’d like to give a big shout out to Kira Adelman in Colby, our top seller with 2,014 packages sold in 2014! I’d like to give another big shout out to K’Lynn Ellis in Garden City, our top Cookie Share seller with 590 Cookie Shares!
Our council is proud to be a Wichita STEMpact2020 guiding coalition member. What does this mean? Through the work of this coalition, Girl Scouts will grow the number of volunteers that are STEM professionals. More community partners means more and richer programming for the girls, and I’m excited to tell you that we now have over 100 community partners providing programming to the girls.
The Ban Bossy campaign was recently launched nationally. I challenge all of us to participate locally and to engage in meaningful dialogues throughout our council about encouraging, NOT discouraging, leadership in girls.
Our council staff continues to work hard to enhance our volunteer support and systems. We know we still have work to do and, rest assured, this is a primary focus.
We will be working closely with our Council National Delegates elected today to prepare for and participate in the October 2014 Girl Scout National Council Session in Salt Lake City.
Our 2014 Summer Program promises to be a great one. I hope you’ve already had a chance to take a look at the Summer Guide. This year, we have more than twice the program activities offered last year. Girls, don’t forget that camp registrations begin on April 15 and Cookie Credits will be available to use. And, be sure to check out the summer camp rebates.
Speaking of outdoor experiences, we are delighted to announce our new partnership with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. Troops and service units get free access to basic camping areas at all 26 of the Kansas state parks. To learn more, go to our council website.
In closing, I’d like thank you all for everything you do each and every day to achieve our mission. I look forward to working with all of you to help the girls reach their full potential. We are a movement; we know girls and, working together, we can successfully deliver to them what they need – fun, engaging and enriching experiences!
Chief Executive Officer