A new membership year is upon us. Membership growth is in the air and it is on us to see that it flowers in the fall and winter months. Always a challenge, but we did it last year so I am optimistic with our volunteer and staff support this year, we will remain a Council where Girls grow strong. Our movement is on the rise but it has been through hard times over the past several decades. Hard times brings challenges, pessimism and disappointment. Recently visiting a bronze ceremony in small town Rosalia, we had the fun event in a United Methodist Church. Sadly, I learned that church shuttered it doors for various financial reasons in the past few weeks. Walking away from the church that night, I noted a cornerstone laid in 1888, over hundred years ago—it had a plaque that eloquently spoke to those who came to the celebration in yesteryear. I can only imagine the day, so much hope so much promise. 130 years later, the church’s run has come to an end. I was melancholy driving home hoping the beautiful building will be able to serve its community in some other way.
As 2020 membership year launches in October, I am excited our movement is strong and not closing our doors. Our membership numbers are solid and multiplying. I wonder aloud why 107 years later, the original troop of 18 has grown to over 50 million alumni? It is an easy answer—our amazing leader Juliette Gordon Low in 1912 was mighty indeed. I started a new Daisy Troop recently and Girls continue to flock to be part of the movement. The energy comes from the promise Juliette laid out: send us your Girls, and we will deliver Girls of courage, character and promise who will make the world a better place. That promise is realized daily and ultimately comes to fruition every bridging ceremony.
Our cornerstone clearly rests on the Girl Scout law. That has guided us well for over 100 years. What is our foundation of the law? Well I would suggest the first line of the Law—Girl Scouts are honest and fair, friendly and helpful. Our communities starve for this core attribute. Juliette introduced to America an organization of girls ready to help their communities with honesty and fairness. This is why thrive in good times and bad. Talking to Girl Scout Daisy Madison Lynn recently, I asked her what was her favorite part to being a Girl Scout. Without missing a blink—she said “helping people.” This is why we are strong 107 years later. A first year Girl Scout understands our core mission—it is part of Juliette’s DNA inherent in our mission today.
In living the Girl Scout law, we become what we ultimately need to become—a sister to every Girl Scout. As a team of green, we are a global force for good, one of the most trusted brands in the world. That trust started in 1912, a promise fulfilled because we are honest and fair, friendly and fair. Full circle—helpful Girl Scouts are a sister to every Girl Scout and together we change the world. That is our cornerstone. It is strong and our movement rises. Membership year 2020 is off running because we are Honest and Fair, Friendly and Kind. Our cornerstone is on solid footing and our doors remain wide open!
--Brian Newberry, GSEWNI CEO