As a new membership year approaches, it excites me beyond belief to see our volunteers spreading out far and wide to help with our membership drive. That coupled with the actions of core membership staff members give me such promise for our 2020 year. As a student of history, I am always reflective of our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, and the promise of Girl leadership she delivered which has flowered and flourished over the last century. In many ways, I think she gave by her example and vision four deeds we still hold dear today. First, G is for greatness. Girl Scouts is iconic, our brand is known globally and cookies probably known across the universe. I would not be surprised if one of our NASA space probes carried a Girl Scout cookie beyond the Milky Way. Second, I is for innovation. Whether it be STEM achievement today or victory gardens in World War I, Girl Scouts always thinks of novel solutions for community problems. Third, R is for Respect. Whether it be our 107 history of inclusion or our current discussion with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts stand for respect, for their sisters and everyone they meet with including all our potential spring cookie buyers. Finally, L is for Leadership. Girl Scouts was founded on the premise of Girl Leadership plain and simple. With our dozen Gold Award Girl Scouts last year, I would suggest that is as strong as ever.
That for me sums the promise that Juliette offered American Girls: Greatness, Innovation, Respect and Leadership. As we work in 2020 to grow the promise, I feel it is really an obligation for us to work our hearts out to ensure Juliette’s promise remains fulfilled as she envisioned it. I recall a phrase that President George H.W. Bush made in his Thousand Points of Light Inaugural speech in 1989. He concludes his speech offering: “But I see history as a book with many pages, and each day we fill a page with acts of hopefulness and meaning. The new breeze blows, a page turns, the story unfolds. And so, today a chapter begins, a small and stately story of unity, diversity, and generosity -- shared, and written, together.”
Our new chapter has so much hope to it; I worked hard last year for the movement to hope that positive change is possible. This year, I am on a mission for the movement to move beyond hope but to believe. This is our inflection year on membership growth and it is incumbent on us to fulfill the G.I.R.L. promise Juliette offered. To quote a poet living just before Juliette’s time--Walt Whitman famously said: “That you are here—that life exists, and identity; That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.” Each of us contributes a verse and with an incredible volunteer force and staff, I know our 2020 verse will be beautiful. In doing so, we fulfill Juliette’s promise and G.I.R.L. is realized…’shared and written, together’ to make a difference for our world…
--Brian Newberry, GSEWNI CEO