November 22, 2013
Dear Members and Friends of Girl Scouts,
Here are just a few of the Girl Scout memories and moments I am thankful for from this past year:
- Being in Oakland on the first-ever National Girl Scout Cookie Day for the unveiling of the new “Got Milk” billboard with adorable Girl Scout Madison and her family;
- Being with Sricharana in Phoenix last March when she was honored by Girl Scouts of the USA as one of 10 National Young Women of Distinction for her Gold Award project;
- Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge with 5,000 Girl Scouts for our annual Golden Gate Bridging for Juniors bridging to Cadettes (always one of my favorite events of the year – so much pure happiness);
- Going camping at Camp CEO with 60 amazing high school girls and 25 executive women who helped the girls explore goals, careers, and a growth mindset;
- Seeing membership grow in so many areas of our council and more older girls than ever choosing to stay in Girl Scouts;
- Hearing Larissa share her Girl Scout story at our October Forever Green gala. There was not a dry eye in the house. I am thankful that Girl Scouts of Northern California and our Got Choices program were there to help Larissa and her family. You can read Larissa’s story online here.
- Facebook Year in Review:A 4-minute slideshow of favorite photos our members shared via Facebook during 2013.
- Facebook Groups: new groups by geographic area for supporting our members.
- Property Update: Together we are making progress, preserving our camps, and getting more girls outside.
- Giving Season: Our year-end appeal is arriving in mail boxes – I hope you will include Girl Scouts in your family’s philanthropy.
- Fall Sale and ACH Update: ACH is working and the final weekend of fall booth sales.
- Volunteer News:
We also have Facebook Groups for Communities. GSNorCal community Facebook groups are a great way to keep up with fellow volunteers and learn about local programs and events:
- Bay Area Girl Scouts
- North Coast Girl Scouts
- Redwoods Girl Scouts
- Butte County Girl Scouts
- Shasta Trinity Girl Scouts
- Tehama & Glenn County Girl Scouts
- Renting GSNorCal properties
- Donating to the Tents and Trails Fund
- Attending camps and programs on council properties (the participant fees help cover property costs)
- Participating in camp work parties
Work Parties. Thank you for signing up for camp work parties – participation has increased significantly over the past few years – members, corporate partners, and community service organizations are pitching in. A few weekends ago, 70 employees of Jamba Juice, shown at right, spent a Saturday at Bothin, clearing trails, including restoration of the loop trail from Bothin to Arequipa. The Kiwanis Club and local Boy Scouts teamed up with Girl Scout volunteers at Twin Canyon for a 1-day work party (K-Day) at Twin Canyon, and the first weekend in November, over 50 volunteers pitched in at Skylark. Join us in the fun and help take care of our camps – sign up now for a spring work party.
And if you have connections to a service organization or corporation that might be interested in helping out, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those of you who would like additional information about our 29 properties, here is a brief progress report – mapped to the key goals established two years ago and a look ahead at 2014.
It is the time of year for annual giving. I hope we can count on everyone to support Girl Scouts of Northern California. Every dollar makes a difference. Please look for our year end appeal in your mail box. I hear a lot of questions from families about how Girl Scouts is financed, what it spends money on, what the donations cover, and why we need support from Girl Scout families and alumnae. Here are answers to some of the more frequent questions.
- I can’t afford to give. That’s okay – we want Girl Scouts to be there for every girl. That’s why we have financial aid, and it’s also why we ask families who can afford to give, to join us in our Campaign for Girls.
- I already pay dues to my daughter’s troop. Why am I also being asked to donate to Girl Scouts of Northern California? Your daughter’s troop is part of Girl Scouts of Northern California, just like her classroom is part of a larger school. If your daughter’s troop collects dues, the dues stay with her troop to support her troop’s activities. Girl Scouts of Northern California provides the infrastructure that makes your daughter’s troop experience possible, starting with volunteer recruiting, background screening and training. It costs an average of about $300 per girl to deliver council services, including: volunteer background screening and in person and online training for volunteers; website and weekly communications to troop leaders; school-year programs; support for Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards; programs for girls in under-resourced communities; and operation of 12 camp properties. Last May, when we announced that cookies will sell for $5 a box during the 2014 cookie program, I shared detailed information about council services; click here to read that information.
- What about the $15 registration fee I pay for my daughter to join Girl Scouts? Your daughter’s $15 fee pays for her membership in Girl Scouts of the USA and helps to pay for Girl Scout activity insurance.100% of the $15 membership fee stays with Girl Scouts of the USA, our national organization (located in New York). Anything you contribute above the membership fee stays to help support our council, Girl Scouts of Northern California. During our fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, we raised $70,820 through your generous online donations made at the time of membership registration!
- My daughter sells cookies, so why should I give too? If your daughter participates in the fall sale or cookie program, thank you! Your daughter is developing 5 skills (goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics) and is raising funds to help support her troop and Girl Scouts of Northern California. Whether your daughter sells 12 boxes or 1,200, when she participates in the cookie program, she will help support Girl Scouts of Northern California and also develop the important skills girls gain from the program. Funds raised through the cookie program support about 58% of Girl Scouts of Northern California’s annual budget. As mentioned above, it costs an average of about $300 per girl to deliver council services. 22% of girl members raise $300 or more for council services through their participation in the cookie program. Thus, for most girls, cookie sales alone do not cover the per girl share of council services, and that is why we hope families will support both their daughter's participation in the cookie program and Girl Scouts of Northern California through donations.
- I want to support the camp I love. That’s great! Our camps will appreciate your support. You can support our Tents and Trails Fund, and if you want to restrict funds to a specific camp property, please contact our development department and they will explain how: helpdesk-FundDevelopment@girlscoutsnorcal.org
- May I spread my payments out over time? Yes, you may sign up for monthly credit card payments.
Look for Girl Scout booth sales through Sunday, November 24 – the last weekend to support the fall sale. For the second year in a row the number one product is ... Dark Chocolate Mint Penguins ... with Caramel Owls and Wasabi Almonds running a close second! This week, for the first time ever in Girl Scouts of Northern California, troops paid for their product sales via ACH (automated clearing house), which means an automated withdrawal from their troop accounts. 98% of our first batch of withdrawals were successful. 1,663 fall sale troops had the dollars in their accounts and the electronic transfers went through without a hitch; 37 troop transfers didn’t go through the first time – mostly non-Wells Fargo banks that need additional assurances that the withdrawals are authorized. We’ll continue to work with our troops and banks to improve the ACH process, but are happy about how well it worked our first time through! We hope, as we move into cookie season, that ACH payments will help all cookie volunteers by reducing paperwork, confusion and reporting.
Adult Learning at Discoveree! February 1, 2014 - Registration is now open. Our largest training event for adults and older girls, Discoveree, will take place on Saturday, February 1, from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at Cesar Chavez Middle School in Union City. This is a full day of trainings for only $30 if you register before January 15 (the price goes up to $35 after that, which is still quite a deal!). Whether it’s learning a new craft from the “Duct Tape Divas,” gaining a new skill such as fire building, or learning a practical, hands-on way to take a Journey with your girls through “Journey How-to,” there’s something for everyone at Discoveree. You can relax with yoga, visit the Girl Scout shop, pick up new troop ideas, or learn all about Girl Scout traditions. There are over 100 workshops to choose from! Bring a friend and make some new ones!
Click here to visit our website for a full description of classes and registration information. You can also follow the fun in the Discoveree Facebook group or on the Discoveree Pinterest board!
Adult Recognition Events and Celebrations. This past month, we gathered to honor and celebrate the contributions of amazing volunteers in the South Bay/Peninsula and North Coast Areas of GSNorCal. On behalf of the thousands of girls, volunteers, and communities that benefit from your hard work, creativity, and passion, thank you! The North Central Adult Recognition events are scheduled in Redding April 14, 2014, and Chico, April 21. Dates for our other areas (East Bay/Solano and Redwoods) will be announced soon. Click here for information.
Thank you, again, for all that you do to help build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place and best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and loved ones.
Yours in Girl Scouting,
Marina H. Park, CEO
Girl Scouts of Northern California