Important Council updates from the Girl Scouts NorCal CEO, Marina Park.
Marina's Member Update
March 10, 2017

Dear Members and Friends of Girl Scouts,

Thank you to our volunteers, parents, and girls who participated in the 2017 cookie program! Cookies build skills for girls and fund Girl Scout experiences, and I am very grateful for your participation.

GSNorCal Girl Scouts Selling Cookies

Together, we exceeded our council goal for boxes of cookies sold – we are still counting, but we estimate that girls sold almost 4.1 million boxes of cookies (100,000 more than our budget). That is great news for our council, especially since our camp properties took a bit of a beating in the recent winter storms – and cookies will help fund the repairs.

This update includes:

  • National Girl Scout Medal of Honor awarded to Pleasant Hill Junior Girl Scout for saving a life
  • 2017 cookie program – a crazy year made possible by amazing volunteers
  • 2017 winter storms – slides, trees down, road repairs and tent damage – our successful cookie sale means we have the resources to repair our camp properties
  • Camp magic ahead (and registration open now)
  • 2017 Annual Meeting (April 22) – a focus on strategy, values and governance

National Girl Scout Medal of Honor awarded to Pleasant Hill Girl Scout for saving a life!

Congratulations to Emilia Costa, now a Junior Girl Scout, who was awarded the National Girl Scout Medal of Honor for saving her brother’s life, when she was a second year Brownie. I was delighted to join Emilia, members of her troop and Service Unit and their families to celebrate Emilia’s bravery and to present the Medal of Honor at a Pleasant Hill City Council Meeting.

This is a very special honor – in the past year just 31 Girl Scouts have been awarded the Medal of Honor by our national organization. As our national Interim CEO wrote in a framed letter presented to Emilia, “Your extraordinary courage, incredible confidence, and your willingness to take decisive action in the midst of an emergency has not only saved a life, but also serves as a shining example for Girl Scouts everywhere of fortitude and dedication.” I wish I had a picture; I smiled when I noticed after the ceremony that Emilia has this patch on the back of her vest: “Keep Calm / I’m a Girl Scout!” Way to go Emilia!

I posed for this picture after the Ceremony with Emilia (holding the plaque and award), members of her Girl Scout Troop 33767, and their wonderful troop leader, Julie Nelson.

Girl Scout Medal of Honor Recipient with Marina

2017 cookie program – a crazy year made possible by amazing volunteers

Thank you, thank you, thank you, to our cupboard volunteers who this year set a new record for filling troop re-orders. In a typical year, troops’ initial orders represent 70% of the total sale; this year they represented only about 64% of the sale!  As a result, cupboard volunteers worked extra hard to process and deliver to troops over 20% more reorders than last year – over 1.3 million boxes of cookies (over 100,000 cases). That’s a lot of cookies to move and keep track of.

I apologize that the council did not have enough cookies at the start of the sale. We purchased 1 million boxes more than troops ordered, based on past experience and 2017 girl membership trends. We purchased more than usual, because we knew troops were being conservative with their orders – but we did not know how conservative. In a typical year, we purchase an additional 120,000 boxes during the sale, and move cookies around among cupboards to meet demand swings in different communities.  This year, almost every cupboard needed more cookies, and instead of our typical 120,000 additional boxes of cookies, during the sale council purchased an additional 350,000 boxes of cookies to meet troop demand. Our baker, delivery agents, staff, and cupboard volunteers worked hard to catch up to the demand, but the first several weekends were rough, especially for girls and troops that needed more cookies to meet their goals.

The good news is that our customers really wanted to buy Girl Scout cookies this year, many of our girls had their best sales ever, and our cookie volunteers are incredibly dedicated. It is always a delicate balance to “guess” how many cookies troops will sell and how much to order so we don’t burden the council with excess purchased inventory. We will definitely assess this year’s sale and figure out ways to improve our estimates for the start of next year’s sale while also being prudent about how best to manage our inventory risk.

Thank you to everyone who worked extra hard to ensure that our girls, troops and council achieved our cookie goals. Cookies fuel dreams and programs, and they support our camp properties. As it turns out, with this winter’s storms, we really needed a good cookie sale. We don’t have final numbers, yet, but we know that we “beat our budget” – and that budget surplus will go straight into unplanned storm repairs to get our camp properties in shape for spring and summer camping.

2017 winter storms: slides, trees down, road repairs and tent damage

Our successful cookie sale means we have the resources to repair the damage! We have storm damage at most of our camps: slides at Bothin, Hidden Falls and Skylark Ranch; trees down and blocking roads at Hidden Falls, The Cove, and Skylark Ranch; significant road issues at Skylark Ranch and Twin Canyon; and wind damage to platform tents at Skylark Ranch. And, of course, we have not yet been able to inspect our mountain camps. The pictures below tell part of the story. Our Property Team is working hard and lining up soils engineers and road construction contractors to get our properties in shape for spring and summer camping.

Broken platform tent at camp
Downed tree on the road to camp

Camp magic ahead (and registration open now)

What is your favorite part of camp? Making new friends, being part of a close-knit supportive community, singing around the camp fire, challenge and adventure, learning new skills, special traditions that only you and your fellow campers know, escaping the pressures of school and home, waking up to the sounds of nature? Or all of the above!?

Camp is a life-changing experience – helping girls discover their courage, build their confidence and establish deep connections with nature and with each other. There is still time to check out our camp brochure with your Girl Scout, and find the camp program that will be magical for her!

Sessions are filling up – don't let her miss out on the special kind of magic that can only be found at summer camp!

Find Her Camp
Girl Scout at Camp

2017 Annual Meeting (April 22) – a focus on strategy, values and governance

Online registration will open on March 20 for our Annual Meeting at Camp Bothin on April 22. At this year’s Annual Meeting we will:

  • Hear an update on the “state of our council” and progress on our 5-year property plan;
  • Explore proposals about ways to engage more members in governance and strategic discussions;
  • Discuss our values and how best to amplify girls’ voices and advance as one Movement;
  • Discuss how best to achieve our strategic priorities for girls; and
  • Elect a new slate of Directors-at-Large, Board Development Committee members and National Delegates.

All members, 14 years and older, are welcome to register to attend, provided that if registration exceeds room capacity, then priority will be given first to voting members and members on the nominated slate – and then to other members in order of their registration.

Register Now
Thank you, again, to everyone who participated in this year’s successful cookie program – everyone deserves a Medal of Awesomeness for hanging in there and surpassing our goals!
Yours in Girl Scouting,

Marina H. Park, CEO
Girl Scouts of Northern California
Our mailing address is:
Girl Scouts of Northern California
1650 Harbor Bay Parkway
Suite 100
Alameda, CA 94502

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