Happy autumn Council! Membership 2023 is in full spring. Our numbers on membership are solid as we start the new year. That is good news, obviously but also a little of a challenge for my membership team because there is no low-hanging fruit of Girl Scouts still left to renew. What that means is our membership team will need to find new vistas and opportunities to present the magic of Girl Scouts to new families. More than ever this last month, I saw so many examples of the product we deliver is game-changing for our future leaders of America. I saw this in dramatic fashion when astronaut Kayla Barron, from Richland, came home to talk to her community. As an aside, I was so impressed to see so many Girl scouts show up to hear her speak. We are still small, but you would not have thought that seeing so many Girl Scout Space Scout astronomy shirts in the crowd. Plus, the confidence of our Girl scouts asking questions was exhilarating. Our astronomy club leader Girl Scout Anna Brehm, asked Kayla. How did Girl Scouts make a difference for you?
Kayla was quick to answer to say she credits Girl Scouts with teaching her how to be a team player. Her Richland troop did a lot of activities, and she learned to work well with others, to lead as well, and to certainly be a team. That became critical when Kayla went to the Naval Academy, where she was expected to be a team player with 1,300 other Sailors, and then when she was confined in close spaces on a submarine. Each way, she was a success, and it was Girl Scouts that taught her the way. Way to go, Juliette Gordon Low! Your vision is realized! Then being successful at Annapolis, in the submarine fleet, in engineering school, and in other places, Kayla was selected to be an astronaut, where she visited the International Space Station for an extended stay. There too, the crew of six astronauts worked in close confines to make a difference. She completed two spacewalks, and she was a go-to leader and teammate. It all started in the fields of cookies sales, camp, and being a Brownie in Richland. I hope her troop leader is proud. Kayla is now competing to be part of Artemis, which will put a woman on the moon for the first time. As a Girl Scout, we know she will be a success no matter where she lands. She is a superhero, no doubt.
Where do Girl Scouts learn to be superheroes? They carry with them 110 years of leadership training that Juliette started. She was a superhero too, and passed it on to other volunteers, and that has extended on for generations. Superheroes are superheroes by definition because they save the day. With a mission of making the world a better place, Girl Scouts save the day every day. One of the Girl Scouts' favorite pastimes is mission advocacy, from environmental causes to women's rights. I am always interested to see the conversation on whether or not Girl Scouts are authorized to wear uniforms or not at advocacy events. It becomes a very complicated and political question depending on the cause, but the sum total for me is it shows me that the uniform means something to our Girls. Wearing the uniform feels like wearing a cape. It is 110 years of flying high packed into that uniform. Fifty million alumni joining you on your mission of good.
We, as a Council, award volunteers leader of the month and also a staff member of the month. I have been remiss not to honor Girls as well. I will look for Girls showing they are superheroes and award them their green capes. They are all Juliettes with superhero powers. They make the world a better place, cape or no cape. Superheroes save the day because they can. Our Girl Scouts CAN!