It occurs to me that headline might be a bit misleading. This was an editorial board meeting, not one at which we did crafts and talked about the next cookie sale. And what I just said is misleading, too. Allow me to elaborate.
First, I should explain that a regular feature of this blog will be to let the general public know with whom the editorial board has met, and what was talked about. It’s another step in my long-standing campaign for transparency for the board, which I describe by the increasingly hackneyed phrase, "lowering the drawbridge to the ivory tower." We are often accused by those who disagree with us of conspiring with all sorts of nefarious types to whom we should not be listening, so I figure, why not just tell people about our actual meetings (most of which do not lead to editorials or columns).
I doubt that anyone — scratch that, I doubt that many people will see anything sinister in this confab, but I related it anyway.
We met with Pam Hyland, CEO of the local Girl Scout Council of the Congaree Area, Inc. This meeting sort of went under the heading of get-acquainted, or "institutional" meetings. Ms. Hyland provided us with an overview of where the Girl Scouts stand today as an organization in modern society. Some of it was about the local council, but mostly about the larger institution.
In brief, she wished to debunk some of the false or outdated perceptions of Girl Scouts. If she had her way, the three Cs with which the girls are associated would shift from "cookies, camping and crafts" to "courage, confidence and character."
She was concerned, and the national organization is apparently also concerned, that "we confront a crisis of relevance. This translates partly as a drop in membership. The Scouts serve about 12 percent of available girls (those 5 to 17), a figure that is "dropping slightly." This is partly because of there not being enough volunteers. It’s also a function of the lamentable phenomenon of the radical shortening of childhood. She noted that girls don’t like to be called "girls" after about the age of 10. (I’m glad to report that they are not planning on changing the name from "Girl Scouts" as a marketing strategy to address this development.)
She talked a lot about what Girl Scouts are not:
- They are not primarily a white, middle-class organization — it’s a VERY diversity-minded group.
- They are not something low-income girls can’t afford to join. The only fee is $10 to join, and you don’t HAVE to buy a uniform.
- The sale of Girl Scout cookies are an inadequate funding source, and the organization is looking to diversity its fiscal base. Former Girl Scouts will be a primary target for fund-raising appeals.
- You don’t have to be a Mom to help out. Volunteers can be Dads, or non-parents, for that matter.
There was much more, but this gives you the gist. For more info, contact Ms. Hyland at email@example.com or visit the group’s web site.