Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Opinions ... Everyone's Got One

Now's the opportunity to share yours.

A group of Girl Scout activists known as "The Future Is Ours" will finally be having their much-awaited meeting with GSUSA this Friday and they're seeking feedback from the GS community. You can visit their Facebook page to see the comments shared so far and post your own ideas, comments and concerns.  

According to their website, the group represents millenial Girl Scout staff, volunteers, members and friends concerned about the future of the organization. They've made a list of concerns, questions they'd like to see addressed by the GSUSA leadership and their ideas for the future.

To be clear, I am not a member of this group. I can't say I agree with all of their ideas, which mainly seem to be focused on staff development more than volunteer development or girl programming. But I do think they raise some valid concerns, particularly about the financial stability of the organization, and I commend their initiative in reaching out to the leadership to discuss the situation. 

As with any organization this size, there will always be disagreements about how programs are run and how resources are allocated. I've spent the past nine years on the staff of a national association myself (not related to Girl Scouts), so I know what it feels like to have each line item of a budget questioned or each policy second-guessed. That's just the nature of association management. And as a Girl Scout leader, I can see the other side of things - to feel like the national office doesn't understand the needs of a volunteer in the trenches or isn't in touch with what girls really want. 

I hesitate to even add my voice to the mix because I don't have all the solutions (or any of them, really). But here's what I do hope. I hope this group, and others out there on a mission for change, really come to this meeting with an open mind, rather than a list of demands. I hope their focus is on working together on solutions for the future, rather than venting about the past. As far as GSUSA leadership, I hope they ready to listen, even when it's uncomfortable. I hope they recognize that we're all on the same side, and that difficult discussions like these have the opportunity to strengthen an organization for the better. And I hope both sides keep in mind the single most important thing about Girl Scouting ... we exist for the girl. 

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