A Place for Girls to Be Girls: A Time-tested Leadership Model

Dear Girl Scouts, Friends, and Supporters:

On the day we celebrate girls all around the world, International Day of the Girl, we’re reminded of how proud we are to champion the cause of girls—and how vital it is to provide girls with a safe space of their own to learn and grow.

Built on a mission to inspire girls to empower themselves and the idea that girls are the experts on issues that affect girls, Girl Scouts has been the authority on and an incubator of girls’ leadership and healthy development for more than 100 years.

The Girl Scout Leadership Experience is a one-of-a-kind development program for girls with proven results. It is based on tested methods and programming that help girls take the lead—in their own lives and in the world. Our curriculum and programs are developed specifically with and for girls. From coding to camping, everything we do in Girl Scouts is girl-led and girl-focused, in girl-only spaces that offer a necessary safe environment, which, as research shows, is exactly how girls thrive and learn best.

Girl Scouts provides specific, research-backed, girl-centered programs for each and every grade level and stage in a girl’s life. It is a holistic all-girl program that builds as girls progress through each grade level, culminating with the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award. (Psst, check out this Gold Award video from some amazing GSGLA Gold Award recipients).

In Girl Scouts, girls don’t just learn a skill—our curriculum is focused on developing healthy risk-taking, empathy, goal-setting, and confidence so that girls are prepared to overcome obstacles they might face as leaders in their careers and lives.

Most of a girl’s life is co-ed, we provide a Girl Scout Difference to give girls a safe space with positive role models. The emotional, girl-inclusive space offered by Girl Scouts fosters collaboration instead of competition, promotes support among girls, and a place where they are free to be themselves without the pressures and social anxiety that can result from a mixed-gender environment.

Furthermore, Girl Scouts offers parents and care-givers expert, time-tested guidance on raising girls today, including easy everyday ways they can help their girls build the leadership, values, and skills promoted through Girl Scouts. Countless parents have shared that through Girl Scouts, their daughters have tested the waters with voicing their opinions and taking action, and that it has given them the confidence and resilience to pursue those challenges out in the world.

Girl Scouts understands this and offers programming specifically designed with girls in mind, not with girls as an afterthought. Now, more than ever, we must make sure today’s girls are acquiring the courage, confidence, character, and the skills they need to take the reins of leadership in the 21st century.

We look forward to working together to assure we continue to uplift and inspire girls.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

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Lise L. Luttgens
Chief Executive Officer
Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles

For more information download the Girl Scout Impact Study or find more research data here.

A Better World for Everyone – A Message from Our CEO

Dear Girl Scouts, Friends, and Supporters –

At Girl Scouts, we build girls of integrity.

The strength of our Movement is rooted in our sense of sisterhood and community, and the escalating media coverage of recent acts of violence and hatred in cities across the world have shaken many of us to our core. It is times like these that we reflect on the Girl Scout foundation of equality, inclusion, and respect.

These recent events have left many of our Girl Scouts anxious, frightened, confused, or angry. As they turn to the adults in their lives for guidance, we want to share some suggestions on talking with girls about what they are feeling, seeing, and hearing.

Girl Scouts’ developmental psychologist, Dr. Andrea Bastiani-Archibald, author of the blog Raising Awesome Girls, recently addressed this topic in a post called “Talking to Your Daughter About Hate and Violence.” Dr. Bastiani-Archibald offers these tips for talking with girls about these events:

  • Admit what she saw was real. Girls need to be able to trust the adults in their lives to tell them the truth. Lying about what really happened ultimately can undermine her trust.
  • Let her lead the conversation. Ask her what she’s thinking and feeling and respond to her questions with age-appropriate answers. Really listen and share your own feelings. Make sure to have follow up conversations and check in regularly to see how she’s feeling.
  • Watch what you watch (and say). Consider what you watch and say about frightening current events in front of your daughter, even if you don’t think she’s paying attention.
  • Provide stability. Having a solid routine can help kids feel more anchored and safe. Keep bedtimes and mealtimes as regular as possible—and if there must be a change in plans, take the time to explain what will happen and why.
  • Reach out for help. If you don’t think your daughter is recovering healthfully from the trauma of recent events, reach out to a school counselor or psychologist for help.

For more from Dr. Bastiani-Archibald and a link to the entire blog post, click here.

The tragic events that took place in Charlottesville and elsewhere have us focused even more fervently on our mission to build strong girls of courage and character. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Heather Heyer, the young woman who lost her life embodying those very values.

At Girl Scouts, we stand against racism, religious intolerance, bigotry, or any behaviors contradictory to the Girl Scout Law and will continue to support and encourage girls to empower themselves to make the world better… for everyone.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

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Lise L. Luttgens

Special Announcement from Our CEO

Dear GSGLA Family,

sylvia 1It is with great delight and excitement that I am writing to announce that today, Sylvia Acevedo has been named the National Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of the USA after a six month national search.

Sylvia, a lifetime Girl Scout, rocket scientist, and STEM educator, is a longtime advocate for underserved communities and girls’ and women’s causes. She was a member of the GSUSA Board of Directors from 2009 to 2016 and an officer and member of its Executive Committee.

Committed to Girl Scouts’ mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place, Sylvia has been involved with Girl Scouts since her childhood in New Mexico.

sylvia 2In Sylvia’s words, “This life-changing experience showed me what leadership looked like and enabled me to pursue leadership as a goal; I am a product of Girl Scouting.”

Over the last nine months as Interim National CEO, Sylvia has led the Movement with authenticity, energy, vision, and passion, taking a special interest in reaching more girls and in outdoor and STEM programming—areas closely aligned with GSGLA’s 2018-20 Strategic Plan. Sylvia attended GSGLA’s 2015 ToGetHerThere luncheon, and most recently, provided the keynote address on the State of the Movement at our 2017 Annual Meeting. She also attended our Volunteer Recognition Ceremony where she honored 200 volunteers and personally greeted most of our 600 attendees and guests.

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Sylvia Acevedo at the 2017 GSGLA Annual Meeting & Volunteer Recognition Ceremony.

Sylvia has been widely recognized for her accomplishments, with significant honors that include most recently California Legislative Latino Spirit Award. Sylvia was one of the first Hispanic students, male or female, to earn a graduate engineering degree from Stanford University—an MS in industrial engineering—and she holds a bachelor of science degree with honors in industrial engineering from New Mexico State University.

We are proud to welcome Sylvia as our next National Chief Executive Officer and look forward to her sharing her vision in her new role at the Triennial Convention in Ohio in October. Please join me in congratulating Sylvia: officeoftheceo@girlscouts.org

Yours in Girl Scouting,

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Lise L. Luttgens
Chief Executive Officer
Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles

Women’s History Month – A Letter from Our CEO

Dear GSGLA Family and Friends,

March is an especially important time for us—we’re not only celebrating Women’s History Month and the iconic women who’ve fought for equality, but also Girl Scout Week and our own proud legacy of female leadership.

In 1912, when Juliette Gordon Low founded Girl Scouts, women weren’t allowed to vote, own property, or attend most Ivy League universities—but Juliette (also known as “Daisy”) recognized the need to shape girls into leaders and help them reach their full potential. Today, we realize the importance—and necessity—of her courageous decision to start Girl Scouts. We also see how truly visionary Daisy was: Her unique program and mission have instilled critical life skills and values in 59 million Girl Scout alumnae, and propelled many to break barriers for women and girls everywhere. (Just look at our report, Girl Scout Alumnae by the Numbers.)

Today, we carry on the torch bravely lit by Daisy, and uphold the commitment to building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. We achieve this through our cookie program, by which girls learn what it takes to run a business (along with the rest of the 5 Skills taught by the program); summer camp, where girls experience the outdoors and try new activities, helping them face their fears; and community service projects, where girls learn about the world around them and how they can effect change. But that’s not all—there are so many opportunities for Girl Scouts to explore their interests, develop their intellect, and learn what it takes to lead.

We’re proud to hold such an important position in women’s history and honor everyone who’s been key to our success, and the success of our girls: that includes all the family members and volunteers who are the backbone of our organization. Together, we celebrate our past and look forward to our future—one led by the dynamic, innovative, and brave girls we are raising today.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

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Lise L. Luttgens

Twitter: @gsgla_ceo

Why We March – A Message from Our CEO

Dear Girl Scouts, Friends, and Supporters –

Girl Scouts know that leadership isn’t defined just by who you are or what you want to be. It’s defined by what you do.

It’s about bringing hope for your own future and the future of others—and throughout our 105-year history as an organization, we have brought hope by being champions of diversity and inclusion. We have inspired millions of girls and women to harness their power, have courageous conversations, find their own voice, and take action. We have encouraged girls to make choices that are guided by their values.

Our storied history was launched on the ideals of courage, confidence, and character, and sparked a worldwide movement for girls to embrace, together, their individuality and strength. We do not condone sexism, racism, bullying, or any behaviors contradictory to the Girl Scout Law. We are an organization that stands for honesty, fairness, choice, and respect. These are values that our volunteers and staff continually teach, model, and reinforce.

Girl Scouts remains nonpartisan and objective—letting the girls lead. Our role is to encourage girls to empower themselves and use their voices. We provide them the tools and experiences to think, research, understand, and take action. Our girls are feeding the hungry, protecting the environment, influencing legislation, and motivating the marginalized.

And, our girls are marching. Some in the Women’s Marches around the country and some in the inaugural parade.

Girl Scouts has an unprecedented history of inclusion, and, as the premier organization for girls, we have been encouraging girls to stand up for what they believe in for over a century. It is that foundation that leads us to this precarious position.

I have had enlightening conversations this week with our membership around individual Girl Scouts and troops making choices and standing up to either participate in the Women’s Marches here or in Washington on Saturday, or, as some have prepared since September to do, march in the U.S. Presidential Inauguration Parade tomorrow.

To quote one eloquent volunteer whom I heard from today:

“In reciting the Girl Scout Law, the girls pledge to be honest and fair, courageous and strong, responsible for what they say and do, respect themselves and others, respect authority, and make the world a better place. These values, built into Girl Scouting, are a fundamental part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. It should be our objective to give them the forum and opportunities to do so—to be able to debate and consider all sides of an issue, and then to develop their own voice to take action. May we all find ways to support our girls and protect their rights as this country moves ahead… let us try to reflect back on the core values this organization embraces and operate in the best interests of our girls always.”

With a 100-plus year history of nonpartisan civic engagement, the choice to march or not march remains an individual decision each girl will make for herself, with guidance from her family. We invite you to review our council’s official statement and FAQs regarding participation in these events, and/or for a national perspective, please read National Interim CEO’s Time.com op-ed piece.

I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me and our staff to share your heartfelt and passionate views on this subject. Your love and respect of our organization is apparent and deeply appreciated. I remain optimistic that you are proud of our history of emboldening girls to use their voice, and that you will encourage girls to support causes they find worthy and take a stand for what they believe in.

As always, Girl Scouts will continue to work to inspire the best in our girls, so that we can witness the best in us all. Let’s let girls—every girl—lead the way.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

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Lise L. Luttgens

Happy Founder’s Day!

Dear Girl Scouts,

It’s the time of year when children’s imaginations run wild. Halloween conjures up images of costumes, candy, and crisp fall air. Yet Oct. 31 holds another meaning for Girl Scouts—it marks Founder’s Day, the birthday of Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low.

On a day when girls reinvent themselves as everything from superheroes to s’mores, Juliette was the original visionary. She launched the Girl Scout Movement in 1912, and through her legacy, has inspired more than 60 million girls and women to positively impact the world.

Juliette “never believed that she could not do something because she was a woman,” notes GSGLA historian and lifetime Girl Scout Birgit Kielpinski. “She was a woman of vision and action and never let her female status repress what she wanted to do and achieve.” Truly remarkable, considering she founded Girl Scouts of the USA before American women even gained the right to vote.

On Founder’s Day—and every day—we recognize the vision, passion, and determination that guided Juliette and compelled her to work with girls. We encourage you to share her story of perseverance; it’s one that remains relevant today, as we strive to transform the leadership landscape for girls. You can also reinforce the values for which Juliette stood, as encapsulated in the Girl Scout Promise and Law—through them, we’re able to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.

Have a happy and safe Halloween and Founder’s Day!

Yours in Girl Scouting,

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Lise L. Luttgens

Twitter: @gsgla_ceo

P.S. Juliette Gordon Low was the original G.I.R.L. (Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader). Find out how she exemplified the traits that make up Girl Scout DNA!

Letter from Our CEO

Dear Girl Scout Friends and Family:

Part of any organization’s evolving is recognizing the cycle of comings and goings. So it is with such mixed emotions that I write to let our membership know of Carol Dedrich’s departure from Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, effective September 16.

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Carol Dedrich has served as GSGLA’s Chief External Relations Officer since 2008.

Carol’s resignation as GSGLA’s first Chief External Relations Officer (CERO) is a sad moment for us, but it is offset by the wonderful news that she has accepted a position as Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of San Diego and will be relocating to assume this exciting new role next month. As you can imagine, the Board and staff of the San Diego Council are thrilled to have Carol at the helm as an experienced executive and fundraiser. We couldn’t be happier for Carol and her fiancé Alex as they start their next chapter.

Since the inception of our Council almost eight years ago, Carol has served expertly in her current CERO role, and as a member of the Executive Leadership and Senior Management Teams. And as an important part of these teams, Carol has been influential in GSGLA’s growth, stability, and success. As a council, we now have a strong infrastructure, great momentum, and an aligned Board, staff, and membership thanks in good part to Carol. Many of you remember that Carol led our 100th anniversary yearlong celebration which included such milestones as Girltopia, an award-winning float in the Tournament of Roses Parade, and the first ToGetHerThere Luncheon and Emerging Leader Program. Her leadership has shaped our Camporee, Annual Meetings, Gold Award Ceremonies, and many other amazing gatherings and special events. She has served as our GSGLA spokesperson. And our marketing, communications, branding, fundraising, and legislative advocacy functions have been guided and refined by Carol’s direction and vision since 2008. Our council will not be the same without her.

Carol and I have been working together on a transition plan, and GSGLA has engaged Morris & Berger as the executive search firm to launch a regional search for a new Chief External Relations Officer. We expect this search to take about 20 weeks. If you know of qualified candidates, please ask them to go to the website of www.Morrisberger.com to review the position description which will be posted soon.

gold-award-ceremony-2015

The great news is Carol is staying in our Movement so I know she will stay close and committed to our membership at GSGLA! Please join our Board of Directors, staff and me in wishing Carol all the best for this new and wonderful chapter of her career. GSGLA is stronger, better, greater as a result of Carol’s contributions.

Yours in Girl Scouting,

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Lise L. Luttgens

Twitter: @gsgla_ceo