Dear Girl Scout volunteer,
Thank you for your commitment and support of Girl Scouting! You help build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
On National Girl Scout Leader Appreciation Day—a day set aside to recognize and thank our volunteers—I want to personally thank you for the talents and gifts you share. You teach girls something new, show them what’s possible, help them shine and watch what they will do next. You help girls reach their full potential. You are girls’ cheerleaders, their guides and their mentors. Anything is possible for girls with caring adults like you by their sides.
Today, I want to take a little time out to thank you for the amazing time that you give. Your efforts truly make a difference in the lives of girls. The key to our success rests in you and words cannot express how grateful we are to have you as a volunteer. I am humbled by your generosity of spirit and your compassion. It is a pleasure to work with you.
With much appreciation,
Chief Executive Officer
Cookie season is always a time we receive a lot of
press coverage. Generally, the coverage is positive and highlights the
valuable impact Girl Scouting and the cookie program has on girls.
However, there are groups who use the cookie sale as an opportunity for
publicity, by attacking Girl Scouts. We have recently been alerted that
an online article is calling for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies based
on false information.
We find it unfortunate that anyone would boycott the Girl Scouts
in a misguided effort to advance their own agenda at the expense of
millions of girls throughout the country. Girl Scouts is a non-profit
organization with a century-long history of providing girls with the
skills they need to become our next generation of leaders.
First and foremost, the mission of Girl Scout of Western Ohio is to
build girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a
better place. Our focus is on building girls’ leadership, not a
We want to supply Girl Scout volunteers and families with
accurate the information respond to questions they might receive. Below
are some key facts.
- Girl Scouts does not and has not endorsed any political party or politician.
- There is no relationship—past, present or planned—between Planned
Parenthood and Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. In addition, Girl Scouts of
the USA does not have a relationship or partnership with Planned
- Girl Scouts does not take a position on reproductive issues. We
believe these are matters that are best discussed within the family.
- We feel our role is to help girls develop self-confidence and good
decision-making skills that will help them make wise choices in all
areas of their lives.
- Girl Scouts of Western Ohio has a long standing, valued relationship
with the Catholic Church, including the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and
Catholic Diocese of Toledo.
- The Girl Scouts actively encourage every girl to become a stronger member of her faith community.
Please read our Q & A document for additional answers regarding the false criticism and claims that have come to Girl Scouts from various sources.
Please know that the safety and protection of our girls and adult volunteers is a top priority. We
have received reports that some individuals are harassing girls as they
sell cookies. Remember, if you or the girls should ever feel
threatened, please don’t hesitate to call law enforcement. So that we
can better protect girls in the future, please also inform your regional
Girl Scout Center.
Click here to
view a “Get the Facts about Girl Scout Cookies” flier that is
available, if needed, to distribute accurate information about the Girl
Scout Cookie Program. We know a majority of cookie customers support
the organization, as well as understand and appreciate the impact you
make as a dedicated Girl Scout volunteer. If you receive additional
questions, please feel free to direct them to the Girl Scouts of Western
Ohio website or council communications managers.
Although girls in
the United States have made substantial progress in the classroom and
elsewhere, persistent disparities and challenges exist that could keep
many girls from achieving their full potential. Black/African American
and Hispanic/Latina girls are far more likely than their white
counterparts to face an array of socioeconomic hurdles that range from
growing up in poverty or a low-income household to dropping out of
school and struggling with obesity, according to a report released
recently by the Girl Scout Research Institute.
The State of Girls: Unfinished Business charts the often-vast
disparities that cleave the girl experience along racial and ethnic
lines. The report also documents the fact that girls are now more likely
than boys to graduate from high school and that the teen birthrate has
reached its lowest recorded levels. Yet when researchers looked at the
differences among girls in terms of race and ethnicity, it became clear
that white girls fare much better than black/African American and
Many girls have low reading and math proficiency, but when race is
factored in, disparities in education are overwhelming. Eight out of 10
black/African American and Hispanic/Latina girls are considered “below
proficient” in reading by fourth grade, whereas 5 out of 10 white girls
are considered “below proficient” in reading by fourth grade.
Obesity rates are high for girls. Nearly half of black/African
American (44 percent) and Hispanic/Latina (41 percent) girls ages 5 to
17 are overweight or obese, as compared to 26 percent of white girls.
Girls also struggle with emotional health. Thirty-four percent of high
school girls had self-reported symptoms of depression during the past
year. This percentage is highest for black/African American girls. Six
out of 10 black/African American girls report symptoms of depression.
“The key to keep in mind, though, is that data is not destiny,” said
Judy Schoenberg, a lead researcher at the Girl Scout Research Institute.
“As a society we can do something about this. At Girl Scouts of the
USA, we are doing something about this, and will continue to develop
programs that meet the needs of all today’s girls.”
Written in conjunction with the Population Reference Bureau in
Washington, D.C., The State of Girls: Unfinished Business is the first
report of its kind to focus exclusively on girls, and it paints a
detailed picture of the social and economic lives that the 26 million
American girls ages 5 to 17 lead today. The report draws its findings
from analyses of large national data sets, including the U.S. Census.
For a full report on this study go the following link: http://www.girlscouts.org/research/pdf/sog_full_report.pdf
Camp Greene has been rested since 2009. The Girl Scouts
of Western Ohio Board of Directors, based on a 2011 Property Task Group
Report, recommended that Camp Green be sold or investigated for other
options for ownership, management or use of camp based on conditions or
restrictions on the use/sale of the property.
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio recently entered into a 15 month agreement
with the Glen Helen Association that will allow Glen Helen to
investigate the feasibility of purchasing Camp Greene as a land trust,
if funding can be secured to purchase the property. This agreement
allows Glen Helen to seek funding to purchase the camp with public and
private funding, including the Clean Ohio Fund. This will also ensure
that the camp continue to be used for public and educational purposes,
including access for Girl Scouts and will protect the property as green
space in perpetuity.
Dear members and friends of Girl Scouts,
The fourth weekend in June, an Associated Press (AP) story
released that focused on Girl Scouting and some of the challenges we
face, including a national membership decline over the past decade, our
now frozen national council pension plan with unfunded liabilities, the
decision to sell camps by some councils, and a restructuring by our
national Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) staff, headquartered in New
York, which includes a reduction in paid staff at GSUSA.
The article while accurate, does not give the full picture of the
facts about these issues and does not include the voices of the
extraordinary girls, who through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience,
are building courage, confidence, and character, and making the world a
Here are some additional facts to keep in mind:
Scouts of Western Ohio also has experienced a downturn in
membership—just like most youth servicing organizations across the
nation. We have high hopes that we can turn this around, with the help
from all our girl and adult members, new national programming and our
recent, local restructuring to better serve girls and volunteers.
Funding for our now frozen national Girl Scout Council Retirement
Plan is something we share with most of our 112 sister councils and
there are certain liabilities. Unlike many pension plans you may be
reading about in the news, there are no cost of living increases and no
medical benefits. The participating councils are required to bring the
frozen plan to full funded status by 2023. There are a number of factors
contributing to the underfunding. We would be helped if Congress passes
legislation that allows us to use the same funding calculations as
for-profit companies and to “smooth” out the required payments over the
next 10 years. You can help by sending your member of the U.S. House of
Representatives a letter urging their support of the Charitable Pension
Flexibility Act (HR 2134). Here’s a sample letter to get you started.
The media reports would lead you to believe that Girl Scout
councils are selling all of our camps. This is not true. The top eight
Girl Scout councils in size, including Girl Scouts of Western Ohio,
collectively own 82 camps and only five are for sale. This represents
only 6 percent of the council’s camps. In addition, camping is still an
integral part of Girl Scouting. Camp use has remained fairly steady over
the past couple of years at Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. There are many
exciting options for girls interested in participating in summer
camping opportunities, including resident and day camp for individual
girls, Troop Adventure Camp for troops, and specialized programming for
mothers and daughters. More than 4,200 girls have or will use our camps this summer through these opportunities.
For those of you who wish additional information, I’ve included more facts below. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, if you still have questions or ideas you’d like to share with me.
For more information and to read the full letter click here.
a day of cheerleading competition in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, March 10,
2012, several girls and their parents were relaxing at their hotel pool.
Ashlyn, a fellow teammate drifted into the deep end and was unable to
swim to safety. Makayla, then a Girl Scout Junior and another teammate
swam to Ashlyn’s aid and pulled her to the side, where parents were able
to safely pull Ashlyn from the pool.
Because of Makayla heroism, Paula Crow, Girl Scout Troop 30039 leader,
who has been Makayla’s leader for four and one half years, nominated
Makayla for the award. Girl Scouts of Western Ohio and Girl Scouts of
the USA then approved the nomination.
Makayla received her award December 12, 2013, at a Xenia City Council
Meeting. Roni Luckenbill, CEO of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio bestowed
the award to Makayla and the Honorable Marsha J. Bayless, Mayor of
Xenia, presented Makayla with a city proclamation.
The Girl Scout Bronze Cross award is a lifesaving award bestowed to girl
members. This award has been a part of the Girl Scout program since the
beginning of the Girl Scout Movement in the United States, 101 years
ago. It is bestowed to girls who have saved a human life or attempted to
save it under circumstances that indicate heroism or risk to their own
lives, and who have performed heroic acts beyond the degree of maturity
and training to be expected at their age. In 2012, only 13 girls across
the country received the Bronze Cross award.
A celebration in honor of the new partnership between
the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Girl Scouts of Western Ohio was held
November 3, 2013, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Chains in
Cincinnati. Over 200 Girl Scouts and their families were in attendance
for this 2 p.m. service, with the Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer
presiding. A solemn and sacred Liturgy of the Hours (midday prayer) consisting
of hymns, prayers and scripture, culminated with the presentation of
the Extraordinary Women of Faith Award to four outstanding women who
have served both the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. The awardees were: Emily Beckman, Barbara J. Bonifas, Margie Houck and Mary Lou Straw.
Followed by a reception, Girl Scouts and their families were able to
learn more about the religious recognitions that Girl Scouts can
complete, which help girls grow stronger in and learn more specifically
about their faith.
The partnership, formalized in May 2013 by the signing of a memorandum
of understanding by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Girl Scouts of
Western Ohio, acknowledges decades of mutual support and close
cooperation. It recognizes that Girl Scout troops have been a
consistent presence in a great many of parishes and schools for
generations, working in close cooperation with Catholic pastors,
principals and other church leaders to nurture the healthy development
of young women, and building faith through the Catholic religious awards
programs. At the May signing ceremony, Archbishop Schnurr and Roni
Luckenbill recognized that the relationship between the two
organizations dates back to 1914.
A similar memorandum of understanding is available to sign for local
Girl Scout troops and the parishes where they are located. For more
information, contact Erin Horsley (email@example.com) or Marcia Dowds (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Camp is the perfect place for girls to expand their
Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Through camp, girls learn to work
together, make choices, take responsibility, build independence and gain
confidence. Girl Scouts of Western Ohio knows the importance of the
camping experience in girls’ development, and we want to ensure that we
are providing girls with quality and safe camping opportunities that are
With this in mind each year we have to make choices about what are the
most important ways to provide safe and impactful experiences to girls.
Through this process we have made the difficult decision to cancel all
horse riding sessions at Camp Libbey starting October 2013. This
decision was not taken lightly and was based on two main factors
- Maintaining a safe program—we do not own any of the horses that
are used for our horse riding sessions. Each summer we lease 16 horses
from a provider. These horses require extensive training before they
are ready for girls based on safety guidelines found in the Girl Scout Safety Activity Checkpoints. We have had increased challenges in finding quality horses to meet our high standards.
- Budget—Participation in non-resident camp horseback riding has
declined; facilitating the horse riding sessions has become a large
budgetary expense. Expenses include: horse leasing fee, horse feed, vet
supplies and medical care, grooming, staff needed to run and maintain
the program, replacement of equipment including helmets, saddles,
bridles and training materials. Many of these costs fluctuate with the
changing economy which has made it a growing budgetary issue.
We recognize that this decision will affect several troops and
individual Girl Scouts planning on attending horse riding sessions at
Libbey. However, this decision doesn’t mean that girls will not have
access to horse programming through summer camp. Girls will still have
the opportunity to explore their interest in horse riding. Please see
the options below:
- We will still offer horse riding sessions at Camp Whip Poor Will
through Camp Kern, a year-round camp and horseback riding program for
youth located close to Camp Whip Poor Will.
- We are currently in the process of building relationships with other
horse riding facilities in northwest Ohio to provide horse programming
to girls on their sites. These sessions may include day trips to a
horse riding facility or an overnight adventure trip. We are still
working out the details but look for more information in the summer camp
mailer in January 2014.
- Although the Wranglers-in-Training (WIT)/Ranch Hands sessions will
not be available in the coming camp season, the Counselor-in-Training
(CIT) program is still available and Wranglers-in-Training (WIT) and
ranch hands will still be eligible to participate in this camp
Thank you for understanding this decision and for continuing to support
the development of girls. If you have specific questions, please
contact Vicki Proctor, Outdoor Program and Partnerships Team Leader.
Camp Ladigrau - September 2013
On September 5, 2013 Girl Scouts of Western Ohio completed the sale of Camp Ladigrau.
This camp has provided Girl Scouts with wonderful outdoor experiences
for more than fifty years. Usage of the camp had declined over the past
twenty years with the expansion of other opportunities available to
troops and increased interest in staff-supported summer and weekend
opportunities that can be more readily supported at larger, centrally
located Girl Scouts of Western Ohio camps. Camp Ladigrau has been sold
to a family for their personal use. The board of directors will be
looking at ways to improve our seven available camps to encourage
increased usage and meet the needs of today’s (and tomorrow’s) girls.
June 2013 – Camp Ladigrau Update
In June 2011, the board voted to start marketing Ladigrau for sale, based on the 2011 Board Property Task Group Recommendations.
In the fall of 2011 a community discussion was held to follow up on the
Ladigrau decision, with a personal invitation extended to all currently
registered volunteers who had reserved Ladigrau in the eighteen months
before the camp was rested. All those in attendance agreed that they
would treasure the many wonderful memories they had of Camp Ladigrau.
They also acknowledged that though it was sad to lose the camp, the low
usage made it a reasonable decision when considering what is best for
all of the girls of the council.
April 4, 2014 Update - Camp Myeerah is Conserved as a Public Park
Camp Myeerah has been permanently conserved as a new public park. For more than fifty years Camp Myeerah had an overnight camping destination for Girl Scouts and the local community. In 2011, The Girl Scouts of Western Ohio Board of Directors commissioned a study to guide long term property planning. The study recommended that the Girl Scouts investigate options to sell Camp Myeerah, focusing on those that allowed continued usage by Girl Scouts. Working with the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society, The Trust for Public Land, and the City of Bellefontaine, the Girl Scouts were able to sell and conserve the 449-acre camp as a public recreation destination last month.
Roni Luckenbill, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio CEO said, “We are very excited about this outcome for Camp Myeerah. This will allow continued use of the property for the Girl Scouts. It is a win for the Girl Scouts, for Bellefontaine and the surrounding communities and for the preservation of a unique and beautiful piece of property. “
The property is now owned by The City of Bellefontaine, which will operate Camp Myeerah as a Joint Recreation District park. The District is developing a management plan for the public to enjoy Camp Myeerah for overnight camping, hiking, cross-country skiing, fishing, and bird-watching. Tri-Moraine Audubon Society is managing conservation easements over the entire property to help the District manage important birding habitat.
September 4, 2013 Update
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio moving forward to Protect Camp Myeerah through Agreement with Bellefontaine Park
Scouts of Western Ohio has been successful in working with the Ohio
Trust for Public Land, the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society and the
Bellefontaine Park District to develop a long-term plan that transfers
ownership of Camp Myeerah to the park district but will preserve the
integrity of the camp and allow continued use of the camp property by
the public, including Girl Scouts. Roni Luckenbill, Girl Scouts of
Western Ohio CEO said, “We are very encouraged about the progress of
this agreement. This is a win for the Girl Scouts, for the community
and for the preservation of a unique and beautiful piece of property.”
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s Board of Directors have made continued
usage by Girl Scouts a priority in considering potential options for the
This long-term plan was put in motion late January, when
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s Board of Directors voted to consider an
offer from the Ohio Trust for Public Land for the purchase of Camp
Myeerah. The land trust was working in partnership with the Tri-Moraine
Audubon Society, with whom the Girl Scouts have a long standing
conservation easement partnership at Camp Myeerah. The land trust worked
to secure funding through the Clean Ohio Fund and to develop a
long-term plan that would preserve the integrity of the camp. The
Tri-Moraine Audubon Society and the land trust were just recently
awarded a Clean Ohio Grant which was an important step in moving this
January 22, 2013 Update
During its January 22nd
meeting, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s Board of Directors voted to
consider an offer from a land trust for the purchase of Camp Myeerah.
The land trust is partnering with the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society, with
whom the Girl Scouts have a long standing conservation easement
partnership at Camp Myeerah. The land trust is working to secure funding
and to develop a long-term plan that will preserve the integrity of the
camp. The Board is postponing a decision regarding selling Camp Myeerah
pending the land trust’s securement of funding and submission of their
long-term plan. Questions and comments may be emailed to email@example.com.
September 25, 2012 Update
During its September
25th meeting, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s Board of Directors discussed
the pending, unsolicited offer to purchase Camp Myeerah. Feedback from
volunteers and community members concerning this offer was shared with
the Board, as well as a request from the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society.
The Board unanimously voted to delay any further decision regarding Camp
Myeerah for at least 3 months. This will allow the board time to
consider all its options and make the best decision possible, while
considering all opportunities. Questions may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Throughout our history, camping has been a core value of Girl Scouts,
with the movement providing girls unmatched camping experiences since
Juliette Gordon Low created the first troop on March 12, 1912. Girl
Scouts of Western Ohio holds true to this value and we want as many
girls as possible to have the opportunity to build friendships and learn
leadership skills in the great outdoors.
To help guide usages and maintenance of our camp properties, the Board
of Directors of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio undertook a comprehensive
study of our camps in 2011, resulting in camps being categorized into
three tiers. Tier 3 camps, which include Camp Ladigrau, Camp Greene and
Camp Myeerah, are those camps recommended for “other options for
ownership, management or use of the camp.”
The Board has recently received an unsolicited offer to purchase Camp
Myeerah. The Board is currently considering the proposal, just as it
would for any of our Tier 3 camp properties. At this time, the Board is
reviewing the proposal and asking for comments from girls and
volunteers; the proposal is set to be voted on at the September 2012
Camp Myeerah FAQ – Updated with Questions from Girl Scout Members and the Community.pdf
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio map -- membership distribution - 2010.pdf
CAMP MYEERAH Presentation.pdf
Property task group report - June 2011.pdf
Property Information Sheet.pdf