Girl Scouts of the USA - 2013 Advocacy News

Sen. Lisa Murkowski Helps Girl Scouts of Alaska Celebrate New STEM Lodge

October 19, 2013 — Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), a former Girl Scout, attended the Girl Scouts of Alaska Camp Singing Hills Celebration in Chugiak on October 19. The event was held to celebrate and allow attendees to tour the new STEM lodge, yurts and a shower house for year-round camping. Once completed, the 6,400 square-foot Singing Hills lodge will be fully wired for interactive distance learning and will serve as Alaska's first STEM Center for Girls. The original structure at Camp Singing Hills was destroyed by arson in 2009. With support from the Alaska State Legislature, Senator Murkowski serving as the Chair of the capital campaign to rebuild Camp Singing Hills, corporate, foundation, community leaders, and many personal donors, the camp is due to be completed by the end of 2014.













Girl Scouts Attend Women's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

October 12, 2013 — With generous help from Congressman Tonko (D-N.Y.), several high school students from Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York were able to attend the induction of nine women pioneers who were honored on Saturday October 12 at the 24th Women's Hall of Fame ceremony in Seneca Falls, N.Y., where the nation's first known women's rights convention was held in 1848.

The event honors the achievements and lives of current and deceased American women in the arts, athletics, business, education, government, humanities, philanthropy and science. Those that were inducted into this year's Women's Hall of Fame included: former National Honorary President of Girl Scouts, Betty Ford (1918-2011), Ina May Gaskin, 73, Julie Krone, 50, Kate Millett, 79, Bernice Resnick Sandler, 85, Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, (1882-1955), Anna Jacobson Schwartz (1915-2012), and Emma Hart Willard (1787-1870). The Girl Scouts had the opportunity to meet and speak with many of the new inductees including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. One of the Girl Scouts said to Congresswoman Pelosi, "I know you'll never remember this, but I'll remember this moment for the rest of my life."

Anna Maria Chávez Participates in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute

Girl Scouts National CEO, Anna Maria Chávez, participated in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's (CHCI) Public Policy Conference on a panel chaired by Rep. Pedro Pierluisi of Puerto Rico and Rep. Albio Sires of New Jersey that focused on early childhood education titled Preparing Latino Students for Educational Success from Day One. Senior Associate for the National Center for Montessori in the Public Sector, Jacqueline Cossentino, and Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers, Maria Neira, joined Anna Maria Chávez on the panel. While the session primarily focused on current early education policy while highlighting strategies that promote Latino achievement, Chávez was able to highlight the work of Girls Scouts in both research and programming as a viable solution for Latino achievement.

Specifically, she addressed key statistics that effect Hispanic/Latina girls from the forthcoming Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) report, The State of Girls: Unfinished Business (December 2013) and the work Girl Scouts and the GSRI have done in addressing girls' early interest in STEM and the need to keep them engaged so they will pursue STEM careers. Chávez engaged an audience that was full of former Girl Scouts and Girl Scout supporters while highlighting the organization's efforts to provide girls from a young age with the tools that will enable them to succeed throughout their education career.

Girl Scouts Louisiana East met with Senator Mary Landrieu's Staff

September 4, 2013 — Council CEO Jackie Alexander, left, and VP of Communications and Marketing Marianne Addy, right, met with LaVerne Saulny, Regional Manager, center, in U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu's office on September 4th, to discuss a pension liability issue Girl Scouts is currently facing. LaVerne was very familiar with the Girl Scout program having raised two, now-grown daughters in Girl Scouting!

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast met with Rep. Robert Scott

August 2013 — Throughout the August recess, local Girl Scout councils held meetings with their Members of Congress. Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast met with U.S. Representative Robert Scott of Virginia's Third District to discuss the Charitable Pension Flexibility Act (H.R. 2134), introduced by Reps. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Ron Kind (D-WI). This bipartisan legislation would allow Girl Scouts to opt-in to receive the same treatment as private companies under the Pension Protection Act. This would provide the opportunity to 'smooth' the council pension obligations at more consistent levels. Without Congressional action, due to legislative changes in the way future liabilities are calculated and the current historically low interest rates, local Girl Scout councils will see a 40% increase next year in contributions.

STEM Workforce Equality: Engaging Girls and Women

June 19, 2013 — The American Chemical Society (ACS) and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) held a briefing and panel discussion on STEM Workforce Equality: Engaging Girls and Women, sponsored by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). The panel, which included Anna Maria Chávez, CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA; Carol Amos, Manager of Field Engineering Program, DuPont; Cassandra Alexandra, Gold Award recipient, Girl Scouts of Alaska Council; and Judy Brown, Senior Vice President of Education, Miami Science Museum; discussed options to foster youths'—particularly girls'— curiosity and build a future STEM workforce that reflects the national population and helps to deliver prosperity to our communities.

Having It All Financial Literacy Webinar

May 13, 2013 — Girl Scouts of the USA hosted a webinar on to highlight both the results of the recently released GSRI study Having It All: Girls and Financial Literacy and Girl Scouts of the USA's national program portfolio. Louisa Quittman from the Department of the Treasury also provided a perspective on federal policy and resources for promoting financial education among young people.

While lack of financial literacy is a growing concern for many today, relatively little research has been conducted on how girls think about and experience money and finances. To address this gap, the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) conducted a nationwide survey with over 1,000 girls ages 8−17 and their parents to better understand girls' level of financial literacy and attitudes towards money.

Webinar presenters included:

  1. Kimberlee Salmond, Senior Research Strategist at the Girl Scout Research Institute.
  2. Louisa Quittman, Director of Financial Education at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
  3. Andrea Bastiani Archibald, Ph.D., Developmental Psychologist at Girl Scouts of the USA.

View a recording of the webinar.

Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Provide Pension Relief to Charities, particularly Girl Scout Councils

May 23, 2013 — U.S. Reps. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Ron Kind (D-WI) introduced bipartisan legislation to provide relief to non-profits such as local Girl Scout councils, which now have higher pension funding rules than taxable, for-profit companies. This bill, the Charitable Pension Flexibility Act, which was developed in collaboration with Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), will eliminate a 40 percent expected hike next year in pension expenses for local councils or $36 million over the next three years. Absent legislative relief, approximately 113,000 girls will lose the benefits of Girl Scouting. Read the press release.

Girl Scouts FIRST LEGO League Team Takes Part in White House Science Fair

April 22, 2013 — Two Girl Scouts, Catherine and Summer, and troop leader Susannah Rousculp represented their FIRST LEGO League Team known as the Atomic Flying Pickles, from the Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails Council, at the White House Science Fair. The team was selected to exhibit their evaporative cooling headband for seniors by the White House Office on Science and Technology.

The girls presented their project along with one of their robots at the fair, which President Obama hosted to celebrate student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country.

"We're delighted that the girls' exploration into STEM has brought them all the way to the White House Science Fair. We believe each of the young ladies is a wonderful example of future leaders who have the potential to change the world for the better. This is what happens when a community invests in a girl; when we invest in a girl we invest in our future," said Peggy Sanchez Mills, Chief Executive Officer of the Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails.

"I am so excited and honored to be going to the White House and to be able to meet other students from around our country doing STEM related projects," said Catherine. "I think this will be a great experience for me and my teammate. It's great to be representing Girl Scouts and to be sharing all the new STEM activities we are doing. My team and I won the state FLL Champion's Award for inspiring others about the excitement of science, and I hope that other girls will be encouraged to see how fun STEM activities can be."

White House conference on Girls' Leadership and Civic Education

April 22, 2013 – The White House, the U.S. Department of Education, and Rutgers University's Center for American Women and Politics held a conference on Girls' Leadership and Civic Education. During this working conference, panels of distinguished speakers explored the nature of this gender gap and highlighted best practices in civic education and how best to address it in our schools, youth serving organizations, media and elsewhere.

Lidia Soto Harmon, CEO from the Girl Scout council of the Nation's Capital served as a panelist to discuss how Girl Scouts develops leaders and engages girls in civic participation. The conference was kicked off by Tina Tchen, Chief of Staff to the First Lady and Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls. The conference included scholars, public officials, leaders of youth-serving organizations, media experts, business leaders, educators, young leaders, for a lively series of panels, speakers and discussions.

Girl Scouts of the USA Joins Other Non-Profits to Protect Charitable Giving

April 10, 2013 – Girl Scouts joined with a national coalition of public charities and foundations asking President Obama to reconsider his budget proposal to limit the value of itemized deductions for charitable contributions. Girl Scouts urged the Administration to maintain the current charitable deduction and reconsider the FY 2014 Budget proposal released today that would limit this powerful giving incentive that supports our communities. Read the Charitable Giving Coalition letter (PDF).

Girl Scouts Supports Charities Receive the Same Pension Rules as Corporate America

April 9, 2013 –Girl Scouts shared comments with Congress that certain pension funding rules are impeding our mission. On behalf of the 112 local, non-profit councils, our members and alumnae, Anna Maria Chávez, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of the USA, urged Congress to apply the same pension funding rules to us that currently apply to taxable, for-profit companies. Without this relief as a multi-employer pension plan, our ability to continue funding vital programs, offer opportunities to at-risk girls, and retain staff and develop volunteers is threatened. We ask Congress that this be changed. Girl Scouts submitted this public statement to be included in a report requested by the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee on changes to the tax rules of charities and pension plans. Read the Congressional Statement (PDF)

February 2013 Leadership Breakfast on Capitol Hill

February 28, 2013 — Girl Scouts of the USA CEO, Anna Maria Chávez, and seventeen of Girl Scouts Gold Award recipients from around the country joined Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios, Congressman Jack Kingston, Girl Scout's Honorary Troop Capitol Hill Co-chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and more than 100 other leaders on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on February 28th to celebrate women's leadership and the second century of Girl Scouting.

Girl Scouts of the USA CEO, Anna Maria Chávez and Treasurer of the United States, Rosie Rios.













The leadership breakfast brought together outstanding women and men from the public and private sectors as well as members of Congress. Among these members were Congressmen Glenn Thompson, John Delaney, Doug Lamborn, Buck McKeon, Donald Payne Jr., and members of Girl Scout's Honorary Troop Capitol Hill, a bipartisan delegation comprised of all women members of Congress. The Girl Scout's Honorary Troop Capitol Hill members in attendance were Congresswomen Betty McCollum, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Susan Brooks, Cheri Bustos, Lois Frankel, Ann Kirkpatrick, Grace Meng, and Dina Titus.

Girl Scout's Honorary Troop Capitol Hill was established by Girl Scouts of the USA to educate Congress about issues affecting girls and young women. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida and Kay Granger of Texas and Senators Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Susan Collins of Maine serve as Co-chairs of Girl Scout's Honorary Troop Capitol Hill. This honorary troop has assisted Girl Scouts of the USA in an impressive array of activities including sponsoring special events to introduce more members of Congress to the benefits of Girl Scouting, developing policy ideas and holding congressional briefings to address key issues facing girls and young women, and identifying funding opportunities to support these issues. As members of Girl Scout's Honorary Troop Capitol Hill, women members of Congress are active participants in our local Girl Scouts councils, helping Girl Scouts expand programs and reach more girls across the nation, especially in traditionally underserved communities.

At the event, women members of Congress were welcomed into Girl Scout's Honorary Troop Capitol Hill by reciting the Girl Scouts Promise and Law led by Anna Maria Chávez. As the Co-Chair of Girl Scout's Honorary Troop Capitol Hill, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz recounted her role as a Girl Scouts troop leader. She emphasized the importance of Girl Scouts STEM and Financial Literacy programs and their significant impact on her daughters who were both girl scouts.

Another key feature of the event was the recognition of Girl Scout Gold Award recipients and five of the 2013 National Young Women of Distinction. Both recognitions require significant planning and project management within their communities, and are awarded at the Girl Scout Senior and Girl Scout Ambassador levels.

Finally, the leadership breakfast launched the celebration of the 2013 Girl Scouts of the USA Centennial Silver Dollar. Girl Scouts of the USA will complete its centennial year on March 12, 2013 marking over 100 years of building girl leadership. The coin went on sale on February 28th and is available through the United States Mint and in select Girl Scout council shops nationwide. For information on the coin, visit www.usmint.gov, or dial 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).

Young Woman of Distinction Travels to Washington, D.C. to Meet with Congressional Leaders

February 28, 2013 — Zoë Gadegbeku, a Gold Award recipient from Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, traveled to Washington, D.C. to be honored at a Girl Scouts leadership breakfast on Capitol Hill. As a Young Woman of Distinction, Zoë joined Girl Scouts of the USA CEO, Anna Maria Chávez, Treasurer of the United States, Rosie Rios, Girl Scout's Honorary Troop Capitol Hill Co-Chair Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Representative Jack Kingston from Georgia as a speaker to highlight her Gold Award project. In her remarks at the event, Zoë told the audience about the benefits of Girl Scouting and attaining the Gold Award. After the event, Zoë joined her council's CEO, Marilyn Midyette, on Capitol Hill to meet with their Congressional leaders, Representatives John Lewis, Phil Gingery, Rob Woodall, Tom Price and Senators John Isakson and Saxby Chambliss to emphasize the important work their Girl Scout Council does for girls everyday in their communities and to highlight the organization's work around STEM, Financial Literacy, Healthy Living, and the Gold Award.

Girl Scouts of the USA Joins Other Non-Profits to Support Charitable Giving

February 14, 2013 – Girl Scouts proudly added their voice with a national coalition of public charities, foundations, and corporate giving programs at a Congressional hearing on proposals to cap the itemized deduction for charitable contributions. In testimony offered by Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, we supported preserving the deduction for charitable giving and expressed opposition to limiting the value of these deductions. In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, nonprofit organizations still struggle to meet increased demand and raise the necessary funds for critical services, and these proposals would reduce the incentive for giving to charities. Instead, Girl Scouts support public policies that help non-profits recruit and retain volunteers, incentivize charitable giving, and other activities that help us achieve our mission. Read the Congressional testimony (PDF).