For the past several years, the Girl Scout Movement has been going through a process of transformation. The work is far from complete, but the organization has made significant strides toward executing all elements of the Core Business Strategy simultaneously.
In 2005, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) began piloting the national realignment of more than 300 councils to 109 high-capacity councils with the economic resources necessary to fund a vibrant Girl Scout Movement. Today, GSUSA charters 112 councils in the contiguous United States, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
The transformation continued with the introduction of the new Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) and flexible pathways. Through the GSLE, girls learn to discover, connect and take action. All activities relate to one or more of the 15 nationally consistent short-term outcomes, which allows the organization to use tangible measures for intangible leadership qualities. A more flexible model for participation in Girl Scouting was developed, known as pathways. When a girl or an adult joins the organization, she or he becomes a Girl Scout member. Girls can choose any one, all, or some of the six pathways – camp, events, series, travel, troops, and virtual – within a single school year.
After three years of research and preparation, GSUSA launched a new brand campaign designed to speak to girls, be relevant to them, and make Girl Scouting an attractive and compelling program from which girls can benefit. The “Real World Experiences” concept, designed to appeal to first generation Hispanic moms and their daughters, launched in Spanish-language media in April 2010. The “What Did You Do Today?” multi-cultural campaign launched in July 2010.
Using the framework and direction provided by GSUSA, local Girl Scout councils began educating adult volunteers about the GSLE and in 2006, began preparing for realignment.
Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas (GSSWT), a new council comprised of portions of four former councils, was officially recognized in July 2007. Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas (GSSWT) serves 21 counties and is headquartered in San Antonio, TX with nine regional offices throughout its jurisdiction. Though the council’s geographic area nearly tripled in size, few changes were made to the staff structure which previously served eight counties.
In 2008 and 2009, GSSWT established a Strategic Planning Team made up of adult volunteers, members of the board of directors, and staff to develop its 2010-2012 Strategic Plan in alignment with the five strategic priorities identified by GSUSA.
GSSWT welcomed new CEO, Anna Maria Chávez, in May 2009. With the 2010-2012 Strategic Plan approved by the council’s board of directors, Anna hosted Town Hall meetings and attended association meetings to seek feedback from girls and adult volunteers on how best to meet the goals set forth by the strategic plan. Input received from those in attendance centered on expanding services in membership, program, and training to retain the current membership base and to plan for membership growth.
The work to establish a more effective staff structure began in August 2009, when the departments of Girl and Volunteer Services and Membership merged to form the Membership, Volunteerism and Program (MVP) department. The new department promoted the use of cross-functional project teams to better meet the diverse needs of girls and adult volunteers.
From February to May 2010, GSSWT continued its consensus-based process to establish a new staff structure that would provide additional support to members and allow for the implementation of flexible pathways for girls and adult volunteers at the service unit level.
The new staff structure, a main component of GSSWT’s Council Innovation Initiative, is centered on five Geographical Operation – or GO – Teams, and was unveiled to volunteer Service Unit Directors at the SUD Conference at the Sally Cheever Girl Scout Leadership Center on June 19, 2010. Additional details regarding the new structure and the introduction of new ways of work was shared with all adult volunteers in attendance at the Leadership Development Conference on August 14, 2010, at Leon Valley Elementary.
Development of the new GO Team structure is one of the first steps taken by GSSWT to achieve its goals from the 2010-2012 Strategic Plan. The new structure will allow GSSWT to extend its reach to more members and make significant progress in two of the five strategic priorities set forth by GSUSA (Program Model & Pathways and Volunteerism.)
Continue by reviewing Details of the GO Team Structure