Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Anna Maria Chávez Aims to Increase Girl Scout Membership by One-million in the Next Five Years

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Girl Scouts has set out to increase membership by 1 million in the next five years, according to Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, who spoke at a Latino community breakfast that celebrated its 100th anniversary. Hispanic membership has increased 55 percent in the past decade.

“To be here today to talk about where we are now as a movement brings me almost to tears because for 100 years we have taken our mission to heart,” Chávez said, addressing about 300 people at SeaWorld.

“She said that only the girls who meet her get the patch,” said Melanie Kellis, 10, a member of Troop 5260.

Just a week ago, Chávez was in Washington D.C. where thousands gathered on the National Mall to celebrate the scouts’ centennial. She also met with President Obama in the White House with several girls who had earned their Gold Awards, the Girl Scouts’ highest honor.

During the meeting, she said she pointed out to the president that several of his female Cabinet members and 70 percent of the women in Congress had been Girl Scouts. She also told him there were 59 million living Girl Scouts alumni in the U.S., a number that seemed to surprise him.

“Absolutely, Mr. President. Not only that, they vote,” she said she told Obama, a line that drew applause.

She asked everyone at the breakfast to find five new volunteers — and to push for more investments to be made in girls’ causes.

“Today in the United States only 7 percent of philanthropic dollars is invested in girls; more is invested in animal causes in this country than in girls,” she said. “Now don’t get me wrong. I like cats. I like dogs. But the cat is not going to be in the White House one day as president. So we need to invest in girls.”

As part of its advocacy campaign, Girl Scouts hope to spur philanthropic spending for girls and to fund opportunities that enable girls to lead. Called “ToGetHerThere” or “JuntosPorElla” in Spanish, the effort seeks to create balanced leadership in the country in one generation.