Submitted by Caroline Cornell
Girl Scouts of the USA held it’s 54th Girl Scout National Council Session and Convention in Columbus, Ohio in October. The National Council is made up of delegates from councils across the United States, Girl Scouts Overseas, and National Board members. It convenes every three years to vote on the business of Girl Scouts including matters like membership dues, electing the National Board of Directors. The National Council Session also includes a discussion about topics that are of interest to The Movement such as how do we better serve all girls? Best of all, we celebrate the Girl Scout Movement and have a great time! No time to sleep – there’s so much to do!
Colorado sent 13 delegates, including two girl delegates and several staff members. Our delegation was led by GSCO Board Chair Rae Ann Dougherty and President and CEO Stephanie Foote. The delegation was also joined by members of GSCO’s History and Global Girl Scouts Committees as well as Gracie from Boulder who was in the Girls Got Talent Show and Cassidy Christian, a roving reporter from Highlands Ranch who covered the G.I.R.L. Convention. Together, we explored many way girls can be G.I.R.Ls (go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and leaders).
To prepare for the National Council Session, throughout the fall the Membership Connection Committee (MCC) surveyed membership across Colorado to obtain feedback about how Girl Scouts can better serve girls. I am pleased to report Colorado’s opinions echoed the opinions shared from across the country at Convention such as establishing uniform training and Highest Awards standards, building partnerships to provide new opportunities for older girls (i.e. Outdoor Adventure Club), and supporting our growing outreach program.
In addition to the discussion questions asked at the National Council Session, there were also three proposals relating to the governance of Girl Scouts of the USA. The first proposal was a request from the National Board to reduce the number of Board members from 25 to 15 to bring it in line with best practices. After much debate, this proposal failed to pass. The second proposal was a bit more complicated and also did not pass. It involved the National Board Delegate Committee that chooses the next slate of National Board Members. As part of their role, members participate in National Board meetings so they can find the best available candidates to be on the National Board during the next triennium. At present three of the seven members are non-voting National Board members. The National Board felt it was important that these three members be considered full Board Members; however, they failed to make the case and the motion was defeated through debate. The third proposal contained three parts and designed to separate the lifetime dues rate from the previous 25 times the annual membership rate and extend the discounted rate to alumni between 18 and 30 years old. While there was debate around some finer points, this proposal eventually passed with enthusiasm. What this now means is that the lifetime membership dues are set at $400 and that young women age 18 to 30 can now receive a discounted rate of $200 if they are Girl Scouts alumnae rather than just in the year they graduate from high school. (Pssst – if you’re an alumnus and are under 30, now’s your chance to become a lifetime member!)
If you’re into political science like I am, this day at the National Council session presented an incredible opportunity to see democracy in action and served as an excellent example of how governance should work in an organization such as Girl Scouts. To put it broader terms, this is how a government functions when it’s at its best.
After a day full of Robert’s Rule of Order, it was time for some fun! Over the next few days, the G.I.R.L. team, known as the G-Team made up of 30 girls from across the country hosted a ton of activities for the nearly 10,000 girls in attendance. We had a huge Colorado group who listened to Chelsea Clinton, Barbara Pierce Bush (you know, Jenna’s twin), and many more speakers designed to inspire us about becoming a G.I.R.L. with breakout sessions in each area.
At the opening session to the National Council Session, we were treated to a presentation from JoAnn Deak about building stronger girls by exercising our elastic brains. How do you top that? Have astronaut and Peace Corps physician Mae Jamison opened the G.I.R.L. Convention telling us about how she took risks to reach for the stars. The finale was featured Olympians Gabby Douglas and Sasha Cohen. Such an amazing week!
If you’re interested in learning more and having an opportunity to serve as a delegate to the 2020 convention in Orlando, Florida, the MCC is seeking new members, particularly from metro Denver, northeastern Colorado, and Colorado Springs. Learn more about the MCC on the Girl Scouts of Colorado website.
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