A Message from the Chief Executive Officer of GSNETX

Dear Fellow Girl Scouts:

By now, you may have heard the news from Girl Scouts of the USA that membership dues will increase to $25 starting with the spring 2017 early bird registration for the 2017-201815-008 membership year. GSUSA has provided some valuable FAQs on the change, but I wanted to reach out to you both in my position as CEO of Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas and also as a fellow Girl Scout mom and assistant troop leader of a Girl Scout Cadette.

In January 2016, the GSUSA Board of Directors voted to increase the annual Girl Scout dues from $15 to $25 annually. As you know, these fees go directly to GSUSA and do not remain in our local council. While this is just $0.83 per month per membership, the additional $10 per year does feel like a big jump. When I first learned of the increase, two things crossed my mind.

First, I thought of our 27,000 girls and their families. Each of you put in significant amounts of time supporting your daughter in her Girl Scout Leadership Experience, getting her to meetings and activities, paying for her to attend summer camp, participating in the cookie program and so much more. Our families are engaged and committed and give already of time and money. I know it is worth it – I see the impact in my own daughter – but it is still a big commitment.

Second, I thought of the Girl Scouts that I get to lead everyday right here in Northeast Texas. As you well know, our council has been leading the movement in transforming the volunteer and girl experience to ensure that we are the very best organization to help girls thrive in the 21st century. We benefit tremendously by leveraging national resources made possible through membership fees.  For example,

GSNETX was the very first council to launch the new volunteer technology including the online curriculum offered through the Volunteer Toolkit. We have developed new onboarding and equipping tools for our volunteers that are being modeled around the country. And, we are raising a record amount of money locally to invest in a brand new STEM Center of Excellence in southern Dallas with innovative, progressive programming unlike anything else offered exclusively to girls here. GSNETX is working hard to not only serve the girls of today, but to be prepared to serve the parents, volunteers and girls of tomorrow.

The $25 annual membership dues will continue to cover the liability insurance for members as well as national programming, but will allow the movement to better meet the expectations of our members by providing:

  • Continued advancement of the technology for volunteers and families.
  • Advanced program planning resources and content sharing through the Volunteer Toolkit so leaders spend less time on administrative tasks and more time with girls.
  • New leadership programs in STEM, entrepreneurship, life skills, and outdoor leadership
  • A digitally-enhanced girl-led experience including a safe digital space for girls to share, explore, connect and learn.
  • Continued research and evaluation by the Girl Scout Research Institute.
  • Stronger leadership in fundraising and partnerships at the national level to bring more investment and opportunity to our girls here in Northeast Texas.

In response to feedback from parents, volunteers and people like me, GSUSA is making these massive investments to ensure we are relevant to girls in the future. As you well know, these investments are expensive but I believe they are critically important.

In the end, increasing membership dues is not an easy announcement to make. But it is important to the future of our movement. I want to ensure that this increase does not impact any girl’s opportunity to participate so we will continue to offer financial assistance for those in need.

Girl Scouts is important. And it is a valuable investment that you make in your daughter. As I look at my own daughter, I know she is worth that investment – every single girl is. In fact, I believe the value she receives from Girl Scouts is worth much more than $25 a year.  I’m relieved that GSUSA is setting a new bar for quality programming, volunteer resources and girl experiences, and to do such, we are asking for the same investment as Boy Scouts and many other youth organizations. To me, this means we are better recognizing our worth and the worth of our girls.

Again, GSUSA has produced some helpful FAQs that you can find on their website at http://www.girlscouts.org/membershipFAQ. Please consider this information and then if you still have concerns, please call us at GSNETX at 972-349-2400.

Thank you.

Jennifer Bartkowski
CEO, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas

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