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Volunteer Advisory Steering Committee

The Volunteer Advisory Steering Committee (VASC), established in 2010, is a Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas committee of volunteers who work in partnership with GSSWT staff. Their purpose is to be the liaisons between volunteers and staff, advisors on operational committees and representatives to voice the needs of volunteers throughout council.

To be the voice of volunteers within council, VASC needs to hear from you. We are a large, diverse council and together we can continue to improve the experience for girls throughout southwest Texas. 

Tell us! If there is a way for volunteers to improve the girl leadership experience for girls, tell us! A way to make volunteering more effective? Tell us! A way to improve the volunteer experience? A new program idea? Tell us!

To connect with VASC members, click on the “Tell Us” button located on the bottom right of each page of the GSSWT website. You may email VASC@girlscouts-swtx.org. We look forward to continued communication with you.

VASC is seeking enthusiastic and dedicated people to join this important volunteer committee. If you are motivated and committed to the Girl Scout mission, you can apply to become a member of VASC and work with other volunteers and staff throughout the year. Click on the links below to the application and review the application process. If you would like more information, please click on the “Tell Us” button on the council website and a VASC member will contact you.

VASC Application
VASC Application Process
 

2016 VASC Meetings

All meetings begin at 6 p.m. at Sally Cheever Girl Scout Leadership Center (811 N. Coker Loop, San Antonio, Texas 78216)

September 1

October 6

November 3

December 1

VASC Members 2016-2017 Biographies

Amy Conner
VASC_aconner

List the volunteer positions you’ve held with Girl Scouts. I have been a member of VASC member for about four years. I also worked with the CEI Outside Sales team, served as a service unit director for DHW for five years, a council trainer for about four years, served as SUCM, and worked with the bylaws review committee. I was also a troop leader for many years for both my daughters’ troops.

How long you have been a volunteer with GSSWT? I have been a Girl Scout Volunteer for 14 years.  Prior to that I was a Girl Scout for three years.

What do you do when NOT volunteering for Girl Scouts? I am a PTSA volunteer at NEISD schools.

What inspires you to volunteer? I love seeing the girls develop their skills, courage and confidence!

What’s your favorite Girl Scout memory? My favorite Girl Scout memory is from troop leader training where we were told that one day the girls would be able to do the camp cooking themselves. Seemed like a dream and then one day it came true!

 Describe yourself in five words. Active, passionate, honest, trustworthy, friend. 

Christie Goodman
VASC_christine

List the volunteer positions you’ve held with Girl Scouts. Troop leader for troops 177 and 592

 How long you have been a volunteer with GSSWT? 10 years

What do you do when NOT volunteering for Girl Scouts

  • Lead communications for Intercultural Development Research Association
  • Volunteer with the March of Dimes: Board member, chair of communications committee, various fundraisers and activities for March of Dimes with my family since our daughters were premature
  • Volunteer with the Public Relations Society of America
  • Member, Student Committee at Woodland Baptist Church
  • Also: writing a book, listening to audio books, supporting my daughters with their homework for hours every night, watching football or movies when I can, teaching my freshman daughter learn to drive, staying up too late

What inspires you to volunteer? I believe that volunteering is not just about giving back or even making a difference; it’s an extension of who you are. It is a way of serving that gives feet to faithfulness. I volunteer with Girl Scouts because I see how it has impacted my daughters’ lives and the lives of their troop-mates.

 What’s your favorite Girl Scout memory? At Girl Scout summer camp, my friends and I were older than the others, so the counselor let us work on our own to earn our first aid badge. We took turns bandaging make-believe cuts, setting make-believe broken bones, and laughing a lot. We also slept in covered wagons (which was NOT a favorite memory!)

What camp survival skills have you mastered? As a Brownie: campfire safety. As a troop leader: How to make s’mores without a camp fire during a drought

 

Dana Riddley
riddley

List the volunteer positions you’ve held with Girl Scouts. CPR/First Aid Instructor, TCL for Troop 1333, Grade level instructor, Leader/co leader Troop 1333, VASC member, Adult Learning Coordinator for Tejeda Service Unit, Yellow Team Delegate, African-American Mother/Daughter Tea Committee, Recognition committee, Gold Award Committee

 How long you have been a volunteer with GSSWT? About eight years

What do you do when NOT volunteering for Girl Scouts? I am helping my husband and daughter get finish school.  I am getting back into exercising and I love to read mysteries books.

What inspires you to volunteer? The girls inspire me to volunteer!

What’s your favorite Girl Scout memory? My first overnight camping trip to Camp Mira Sol with my troop

Would you rather visit Pax Lodge, Sangam, India, Our Cabaña in Mexico, Our Chalet in Switzerland?  I want to visit Our Chalet in Switzerland

 

Jan DeHaven
jdehaven

List the volunteer positions you’ve held with Girl ScoutsTroop Leader, Troop Cookie Mom, SUD, Event Organizer for SU, Interfaith Chair, Instructor and trainer for the Religious Awards Program, Association Chair, VASC GSLE Rep, VASC Chair, Camp Crafts volunteer, Delegate to National Convention (held 2011), Trainer, Gold Committee, Girl Board Selection Committee Chair.  I was also on numerous task committees over the years.  They had to do with evaluations, kicking off the journey programs and such.  

How long you have been a volunteer with GSSWT? I started volunteering in GSSWT in 2001.  Prior to that I was in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.  Even earlier, the Homestead Council in Nebraska.

What do you do when NOT volunteering for Girl Scouts?  My full time career is in education. I currently serve as Director for Special Education and Section 504 in the North East Independent School District. I have been a professional for 35 years as of 2016. I am also an adjunct faculty member at Texas A&M San Antonio. I am active in my church teaching Sunday School and participating in activities. (Coker UMC) I am a single parent for two children. Kati, who is a junior in college at Southwestern University and a Girl Scout who earned her Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. Braedon, finishing his freshman year at Lee HS STEM and a Life Boy Scout, ready to begin his Eagle Project.

What inspires you to volunteer? I grew up as an active Girl Scout.  My leaders were very special women in my life. They gave me opportunities and believed in me in ways that I was not supported from others. I fully support the organization and want to see other girls empowered to find their courage, grow their confidence, and develop their character in making this world a better place. I have the heart of a servant when it comes to supporting young folks in their endeavors.

What’s your favorite Girl Scout memory?  As a child, Girl Scout Camping at Camp Catron in Nebraska City was a highlight. We went every year. It was a rustic camp in the 1960s and early 70s. We did all the "old fashioned" Girl Scout outdoor things. Cooking on the fire, playing in the creek, sand candles made digging into the bed beside the creek, friendship bracelets, hiking, singing around the campfire. 

As an adult leader, my time with the girls was joy-filled. I loved being Xacto at Mira Sol and La Jita working in crafts or Dabbler's Den.  Watching my daughter and her friends jump from poles and walk wires in multiple challenge courses was a thrill. I must admit, working with my daughter on her highest awards fills my soul.  Watching the ladies at Threads of Love croon over the 12 blankets she crocheted to donate to their work for her Bronze Award, seeing her build the Peace Garden at the Sally Cheever Girl Scout Leadership Center, that was dedicated at the Building Blessing (which she also organized) for her Silver Project, supporting her as she traveled on mission work to Romania, twice, and raised the funds to present the budding congregation with a minivan for her Gold Award, are memories that are forever cherished.

Describe yourself in 5 words
Loyal, Courageous, Dedicated, Creative, Coffee-powered 

What camp survival skills have you mastered?  Campfire cooking.  Foil packs and Dutch Oven are my favorites!

Would you rather visit Pax Lodge, Sangam, India, Our Cabaña in Mexico, Our chalet in Switzerland?  Our Chalet in Switzerland

 

Keller Drozdick
VASC_kdrozdick

List the volunteer positions you’ve held with Girl Scouts. VASC Member, Long Range Property Planning Committee, CEI Inside Sales Committee, Service Unit geographic change committee (name?), SUCM, SUNE, TNM, TCM

How long you have been a volunteer with GSSWT?  About 11 years

What do you do when NOT volunteering for Girl Scouts? Spend time with my family.  I also work as an engineer and am involved in other volunteer roles.

What inspires you to volunteer?  Being able to contribute and make a difference to an organization with  a good mission

What’s your favorite Girl Scout memory? Picking my daughter up from her first week at camp:  Sleepy face, huge smile, and hair that hadn't seen a brush in 6 days.

Would you rather visit Pax Lodge, Sangam, India, Our Cabaña in Mexico, Our chalet in Switzerland? Pax lodge in India.  I've been to India briefly, and found the experience very valuable. I'd enjoy going back and seeing it from a different perspective.  Plus: India food!

 

Terri Benoit
VASC_tbenoit

List the volunteer positions you’ve held with Girl Scouts. Troop Leader, SU Treasurer, SUD, Board Member, Board Committees: Finance, Board Development, Executive, CEI, Strategic Planning

How long you have been a volunteer with GSSWT? 15 years

What do you do when NOT volunteering for Girl Scout? Primarily work as a Knowledge Management manager for American Funds/ Capital Group. In my free time: photography, creating scrapbooks, gardening and reading.

What inspires you to volunteer? Experiences I had as a Girl Scout camping and canoeing and the experiences my daughter had has a Girl Scout

What’s your favorite Girl Scout memory? Overnight canoe/ camping trip when I was a Cadette

Would you rather visit Pax Lodge, Sangam, India, Our Cabaña in Mexico, Our Chalet in Switzerland? Our Chalet

Yvonne Newton
VASC_ynewton

List the volunteer positions you’ve held with Girl Scouts. Board of Directors in Girl Scouts of Greater St. Louis and  Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas, Troop Leader of a traditional troop and troop leader of the troop at Cyndi Taylor Krier Juvenile treatment Center 6 ½ years, Chair Gold Award Advisory Committee, Chair of Adult Recognition Committee, Chair of Outdoor Training Team, Outdoor Trainer, Girl Scouts of SW TX Strategic Visioning Task Group, 100 Anniversary Committee, 100 Anniversary Camporee Chair, High Adventure Instructor

How long you have been a volunteer with GSSWT? Volunteer is GSSWT 18 ½ years.  Girl Scout member 44 years

What do you do when NOT volunteering for Girl Scouts? Volunteer with the San Antonio Police Department, paper crafting, Dutch oven cooking demonstrations

What inspires you to volunteer? I enjoy sharing what I enjoy doing.

What’s your favorite Girl Scout memory? Becoming a Girl Scout High Adventure instructor while learning to overcome a fear of heights!

What camp survival skills have you mastered? How to winter camp and stay toasty warm

Lisa Ewell
VASC_lewell

List the volunteer positions you’ve held with Girl Scouts.
Troop Cookie Manager, Troop Co-Leader, Troop Leader, Troop Camp Leader (TCL), Troop First Aid/CPR, Adult Learning trainer/facilitator, various council committees (Strategic   Learning, CEI Communications, CEI Zip code restructuring), VASC

How long you have been a volunteer with GSSWT?I have been a volunteer since 2003.

What do you do when NOT volunteering for Girl Scouts?
I now spend my time taking care of my family full time.  Before I left the outside workforce to devote myself full time to my family, the majority of my career was in consulting and human resources.  In addition to volunteering with Girl Scouts, I spend time as a committee chair for the Northwestern University Black Alumni Association, a member of the San Antonio Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Inc., a committee chair for the San Antonio Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, and a volunteer in various capacities at my daughter's school.

What inspires you to volunteer?
My primary motivation for volunteering is that I want to help create positive experiences for young people.  I am a firm believer that many hands makes work light, so its important to me that I am actively participating in the organizations I support.  I love the inclusiveness and accessibility of Girl Scouts, and I want to be sure I am doing my part to bring this wonderful experience to as many girls as possible.

What’s your favorite Girl Scout memory?
My favorite memory is of my first camping weekend with my troop at Camp La Jita when they were Brownies.  I am not an outdoors person at all, so to push myself out of my comfort zone and become a TCL was personal growth for me.  We had been working up the camping progression for a few years, so to finally make it to La Jita was very exciting for the girls.  We had a great weekend, and I love looking back at the pictures knowing that almost all of the girls are still active in Girl Scouts.

Danna Riddley
VASC_driddley

List the volunteer positions you’ve held with Girl Scouts.
CPR/First Aid Instructor, TCL for Troop 1333, Grade level instructor, Leader/co leader Troop 1333, VASC member, Adult Learning Coordinator for Tejeda Service Unit, Yellow Team Delegate, African-American Mother/Daughter Tea Committee, Recognition committee and Gold Award Committee.

How long you have been a volunteer with GSSWT?  Approximately 8 years

What do you do when NOT volunteering for Girl Scouts?
I enjoy spending time with my husband and helping my daughter with school.  I am getting back into exercising and I love to read mystery books.

What inspires you to volunteer? I love providing support to the girls in Girl Scouting.

What’s your favorite Girl Scout memory? My first overnight camping trip was to Camp Mira Sol with my troop.

Would you rather visit Pax Lodge, Sangam, India, Our Cabaña in Mexico, Our chalet in Switzerland? Our chalet in Switzerland.

Read more about our history

VASC was established in 2010. VASC appointed members began by researching the functions and purpose of all committees and task groups to gain a better understanding of council and volunteer needs. They then evaluated how committees could work to communicate more effectively to accomplish overall council goals.

After the research, VASC appointed a volunteer from the committee to work in partnership with a staff liaison to the committees in each function (Girl Leadership Experience, Administration, Membership & Community Development, Funding/Communications, and Volunteerism). The partnerships work together to develop a stronger volunteer voice in the council and get feedback from members.

In 2012, VASC conducted 9 Community Conversations throughout the council’s 21-county area. After conversations with many volunteers, VASC developed regional positions that could help bridge communication with service units and help fill the gaps in unfilled service unit positions.

VASC meets monthly to discuss concerns, ideas, and comments brought to their attention from current members through committees and direct contact.

In 2015, VASC receives all “Tell Us” comments received through Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas’ web site and works with staff partners to address each concern, idea or suggestion brought to their attention. Through the partnership with volunteers and staff, stronger relationships will be built and best practices put in place to ensure girls are getting the best Girl Leadership Experience through their Girl Scout journey.

If you would like to be considered for a future role on the Volunteer Advisory Steering Committee, we would like to hear from you. Download the application process.


 

VASC Staff 2016-2017

Jody Hernandez, Chief Operating Officer

Blythe Simonson, Chief Financial Officer

Stephanie Finleon Cortez, Chief Development & Marketing Officer

Becky Jennings, Director of Program

Kathryn Foley, Director of Volunteer Support & Services

Gina Abad, Director of Recruitment

Veronique Moreno, MVP Project Manager

Renee Harvey, Volunteer Support Manager