Here at the Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians (GSCSA), we’ve been looking toward 2020 for a while now. The new program schedule for Summer Camp 2020 is already up on our website (Registration opens Jan. 3). We’ve been planning Calling All Girl Scout Alumnae and Cookie Creations events (More info coming soon!). Things are being set in motion for Cookie Season 2020 (Want to be a Cookie Correspondent?). And of course we are always adding exciting events to our Activities Calendar!
But before we go too far into the future, it’s good to reflect on all the great things that were accomplished in 2019.
GSCSA ended the 2019 membership year (Oct. 1, 2018 – Sept. 30, 2019) with 9,958 girl members and 4,912 adult members. We are nothing without all the girls, parents, volunteers and alumnae who make up our council. So thank you for choosing to spend 2019 with us! If you’d like to spend time with us in 2020 as but have let your membership lapse, remember, you can join Girl Scouts anytime.
We like to be hands-on and keep active at Girl Scouts. And we make sure to plan plenty of activities that let your girl be hands-on and active, too! During the 2019 membership year, 8,653 girls participated in 216 programs, either organized by GSCSA staff or one of our wonderful program partners. Girls did everything from STEM workshops to rafting to helping others, many earning badges along the way.
We also had two successful product programs that helped fund all that fun: fall product and the cookie program. GSCSA is proud to say that Girl Scouts sold 1,579,511 boxes of cookies and participation was at an all-time high for the fall program. By selling cookies and fall product, girls develop five essential skills – goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics – all of which help them succeed today and in the future. They grow their confidence and practice leadership, too. According to a recent study conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute, girls have an entrepreneurial mindset and want to have careers that allow them to be the makers and creators of tomorrow.
Speaking of girl-friendly programming, 305 girls attended our summer resident camp at Camp Tanasi this year. Whether they spent a few days or two weeks, girl learned a variety of outdoorsy skills as well as things they can use in their everyday, indoor life. Girls also had the chance to try out archery, climbing, swimming, boating and hiking.
Our outreach program has grown since launching it in the summer of 2018. This year we were able to serve 394 girls through 21 outreach sites.
We held our 4th annual food drive for food banks across our council and our girls really stepped up to the plate! This year, 5,769 pounds of food were donated, which will help the food banks provide 4,807 meals to families across our service area. 1,453 patches were given to girls who participated.
If you’re in Girl Scouts long enough, you know it goes beyond cookies and badges, and toward encouraging girls to make real, concrete change for the better in their communities. One way our senior and ambassador level girls do this is by working to earn a Gold Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn. By completing a Gold Award project, girls tackle issues that are dear to them and drive lasting change in their communities and beyond. Seventeen amazing girls in our council earned their Gold Award this year. And, four of our central area Gold Award Gold Scouts were honored in the Knoxville News Sentinel’s ‘20 Under 20’ class of 2019. That’s an impressive achievement!
As you can see, 2019 was a wonderful year for GSCSA. Let’s all keep up this momentum of building girls of courage, confidence and character as we enter 2020!
Lynne Lawson Fugate is the chief executive officer of the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians. The Council is comprised of 46 counties in eastern Tennessee, southwest Virginia, and northwest Georgia. With nearly 15,000 members, the Council has service centers in Johnson City, Knoxville and Chattanooga.