Board Chair Corner - May 2011

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Spring is a time to celebrate the best of Girl Scouting! We began with our 2011 Volunteer National Awards Luncheon, followed by the Gold and Silver Awards Banquet, and will conclude with three Top Seller Cookie Celebrations.

14 volunteers who are instrumental in helping GSSEM meet goals in membership growth and retention, fund development, council effectiveness, and community visibility were honored at the Volunteer National Awards Luncheon.  Thanks to the Volunteer Recognition Committee that planned and hosted a wonderful event, and congratulations to our Appreciation Pin, Honor Pin and Thanks Badge recipients for your commitment and support in developing girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.  You are truly inspirational!

The Gold and Silver Award Banquet held the next day was equally amazing, and is the highlight of the program year for me.  25 girls earned their Gold Awards with projects focused on increasing literacy, promoting diabetes awareness, educating children on conservation and more.  Several projects were outreach globally, as they centered on benefiting girls in Africa and rural villages in Cuba.  180 girls earned their Silver Awards, and more than 200 Ambassador Girl Scouts received certificates recognizing their upcoming high school graduations.  A big thank you to Ford Motor Company for sponsoring this year’s event!

Finally, three top seller celebrations honoring girls who sold 500 or more packages of cookies will be held on May 21, 23 and 25 at various locations.  Kudos to these young female entrepreneurs, and especially to those girls selling more than 2011 packages!

The May board meeting began with an update on the council’s initiative to build relationships and increase awareness and participation in Girl Scouting in the Hispanic community.  Staff coordinator Gabriela Ramirez-Darris described council efforts in providing bilingual materials and support, hosting a leader recognition event and mother-daughter camp-in, and planning a meet and greet with prominent members of the Hispanic community.  This initiative is gaining momentum in Southwest Detroit, Pontiac and Romeo and will be expanded to other areas in the future.  Special thanks to Board member Monica Martinez for her support of this important membership initiative.

The Board reviewed agenda and self-evaluation materials for our upcoming retreat in June.  Additionally, we discussed revisions to board committee and task team structure and leadership as we work with the new board composition approved at annual meeting.  Next, we reviewed council financial statements, engagement letters for the audit firm, and approved the Council’s 990 form to be filed with the IRS. (Note: this will be posted on the GSSEM website consistent with board transparency best practices).  Denise also provided quarterly progress on council goals and objectives.  Finally, we passed a resolution of appreciation for Luanne Thomas-Ewald, a board member who recently resigned because of her inability to fully participate due to heavy work obligations.

The Board has an all day retreat on June 3 at the Clinton Township Service Center. Then we will take a brief summer hiatus, reconvening for the next board meeting on September 13.  I will be back with a short update following the retreat, but until then enjoy the end of this program year.  Happy Summer!

Yours in Scouting,