A volunteer board of directors sets strategic direction for Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas. Board members represent the broad diversity of our council membership and the communities we serve. Members are recommended by a volunteer nominating committee and approved by the council delegates at the annual meeting. A formal democratic process facilitates communication between the board of directors and the council's membership.
The volunteer board of directors is elected by GSSWT's membership to ensure that the council:
Chair, Jackie L. Gorman
Chair Elect, Jan King
1st Vice Chair, Development, Mary Henrich
Treasurer, Jeannie Frazier
Secretary, William T. "Bill" Avila
Chief Executive Officer, Rose González Pérez
Chief Development & Communications Officer, Stephanie A. Finleon
Chief Operating Officer, Jody Shaw Hernandez
|Cece Cheever||Jennifer Moriarty|
|Deena Clausen||Courtney Peña|
|Heather Davis||Linda Ramón|
|Trish DeBerry||Jaren Shaw|
|Leah DeLaGarza||Lisa Uribe, Ph.D.|
|Luis De La Garza||Bob Waller|
|Debra Dunn||Russell Warren|
|Kathleen Krueger||Charles "Marty" Wender|
|Carla Mancha||Charlotte Youngquist|
|Marisa Martinez Palmer|
Girl Board Chair, Danielle Gutierrez
Madison A. (Pink GO Team)
Rachel B. (Yellow GO Team)
Yanitza C. (Yellow GO Team)
Emily D. (Pink GO Team)
Emily O. (Orange GO Team)
Hannah R. (Orange GO Team)
In 2003, a proposal was approved to have one teen Girl Scout from each association on the board, rather than just one Senior Girl Scout. This provided a stronger voice for girls to be heard by the board. As ex officio (non-voting) members, the girls attend four board meetings -- held on Saturdays -- providing valuable input on many issues. In 2004, the first six girls were voted on to the board of directors. As we celebrate five years of having girls on the board we wish to thank the girls for their service on the board in 2011-2012:
Board development committee members are elected by GSSWT's membership to recommend candidates for the board of directors and the board development committee. The board development committee presents the following for delegate vote at every annual meeting:
Every three years, the board development committee also presents a single slate of national delegates and national alternate delegates.
GSSWT accepts potential board member and nominating committee member referrals year-round for a single slate presented at our annual meeting. We place a high priority on recruiting women and men from diverse geographic and racial/ethnic communities.
Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas (GSSWT), headquartered in San Antonio, is aware of recent communications via email, blog posts, etc., that are critical of Girl Scouts of the USA and continue to share misinformation about the Girl Scout Movement. The inaccurate information is most prevalent during the iconic Girl Scout Cookie Program when awareness of the organization is at its highest and is focused on the Movement’s alleged relationship with Planned Parenthood USA.
Boycotting Girl Scout cookies is bad for girls, read our response to the alleged endorsement of State Sen. Wendy Davis here.
At the national and local level, the answer to this question is very simple -- Girl Scouts of the USA and Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas do not have a relationship with Planned Parenthood and have never received financial support from or contributed to the organization.
GSSWT has a long and proud history of serving girls throughout the region. Girl Scouts has a reputation of being the best leadership development organization with an outstanding record of community service and programs for girls. The organization is able to accomplish this with the help of exceptional adult volunteers, alumnae, supporters and friends. It is out of respect to the nearly 30,000 members in Southwest Texas that the record is set straight.
In some areas of the country, Girl Scout troops or groups may choose to hold discussions about human sexuality and/or pregnancy prevention and may choose to collaborate with a local organization that specializes in these issues. Participation in these discussions is optional, and parental consent must be provided prior to a girl’s participation. However, please consider that the Southwest Texas region has among the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the nation and for girls in some communities, it would be appropriate for them to receive pregnancy prevention education from a factual perspective in Girl Scouts.
Girl Scouts of the USA is an organization whose membership represents a cross-section of America. Girls and families hold various religious beliefs and opinions on social issues and practices. As a result, GSUSA does not have a position on specific issues such as abortion and contraception. Rather, GSUSA recognizes and supports the primacy of parents as they educate their daughters with regard to human sexuality and pregnancy prevention.
This policy is not new. Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas affirms that parents/guardians may be certain their daughters will not be exposed to information on these topics that they don’t want them to have, and it is unfair to expect an organization as large and diverse as Girl Scouts to take on the role of parents and/or religious organizations.
The mission of Girl Scouting is to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place, and the organization will never shy from its duty or waver from its commitment to be an advocate for all girls.
Frequently Asked Questions: Social Issues
What is Girl Scouts of the USA’s position regarding human sexuality, birth control, and abortion?
Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) does not take a position or develop materials on these issues. 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.
Parents or guardians make all decisions regarding program participation that may be of a sensitive nature. Consistent with that belief, GSUSA directs councils, including volunteer leaders, to get written parental permission for any locally planned program that could be considered sensitive.
Does GSUSA have a relationship with Planned Parenthood?
No, Girl Scouts of the USA does not have a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood.
Did GSUSA distribute a Planned Parenthood brochure at a United Nations event?
No, we did not. In 2010, GSUSA took part in the 54th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. Our participation in that conference was the subject of numerous Internet stories and blogs that were factually inaccurate and troubling. Girl Scouts had no knowledge of the brochure in question and played no role in distributing it.
Did Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) send a tweet in support of Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, suggesting she be considered for Woman of the Year?
Girl Scouts has not endorsed any person or organization. This confusion stems from an autopopulated tweet linking to an article that mentioned newsmakers from 2013. The tweet simply asked folks to share their opinions about which women should be added to a year-end discussion originated by the Huffington Post.
GSUSA’s Twitter bio states that a retweet does not equal an endorsement. The sharing of the article was not to endorse any of the women featured, but to highlight the source's acknowledgement of women who made a mark in 2013.
Girl Scouting aims to empower all girls to have the courage to make their voices heard and welcome respectful discourse about what qualities a woman of the year should have. GSUSA issued an apology on the Girl Scout Blog, which can be read here.
Why were Girl Scouts pictured in a photograph with State Sen. Wendy Davis in the San Antonio Express-News?
On Friday, Feb. 14, the San Antonio Express-News published a story about gubernatorial candidate and state senator Wendy Davis discussing her proposal to improve early childhood education at Leal Middle School in Harlandale Independent School District. Davis is pictured with a group of Gamma Sigma Pearls wearing their Girl Scout T-shirts in the accompanying photograph, which is an implied endorsement. Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas did not host, sponsor, endorse, nor have prior knowledge of the event. Girls attended in their capacity as students of Leal, who also happen to be Gamma Sigma Pearls. We consider the use of this photograph by the Express-News to be inappropriate in light of the controversy that is having a negative impact on innocent girls who are in the community selling cookies. We have since asked the newspaper to print a clarification of the photo’s context.
Where exactly do proceeds from the Girl Scout Cookie Program go?
One hundred percent of the money that a council and its troops raise through the Girl Scout Cookie Program stays with that council and its troops. All of the revenue from cookie activities—every penny after paying the baker—stays with the Girl Scout council. Girl Scout councils offer a wide variety of recognition items, program- and store-related credits and travel experiences that girls are eligible to earn individually based on their sales. Girl Scout councils do not provide any portion of their cookie revenue to Girl Scouts of the USA.
Should people be concerned about where the money goes?
Absolutely not. Girl Scout cookie sales fund the amazing work that Girl Scouts do to improve communities nationwide—including yours. Through Girl Scouting, including the beloved Girl Scout Cookie Program, girls discover the fun and friendship that life holds, developing to their full potential and gaining values that will guide their actions along the way.
Should I buy Girl Scout Cookies?
Yes! When a Girl Scout sells you cookies, she’s building a lifetime of skills and confidence. Through Girl Scouting and the Girl Scout Cookie Program, girls learn they can be and do anything they set their minds to. And why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that? Learn more about the Girl Scout Cookie Program at www.girlscoutcookies.org.
What is Girl Scouts’ process for reviewing materials?
Girl Scouts constantly reviews our materials based on feedback and suggestions we receive from our members, and we update our materials on a regular basis. As a result of this process, upcoming reprints of Journeys materials will not include playwright Josefina Lopez or links to the Women’s Media Center or Media Matters. Councils will be notified of changes that are made in the future, and information on changes will be posted on our corporate website. We also are making changes on our corporate website to ensure appropriateness of content.
It is important to note that our materials feature more than 200 women and girls from many walks of life who have worked to make a difference in the world, and while we may not agree with the opinion of everyone featured, we believe they embody the commitment to leadership that we strive to teach our girls.
What is Girl Scouts’ position on serving transgender youth?
Girl Scouts is proud to be the premiere leadership organization for girls in the country. While we do allow men to participate in our program as volunteers and staff members, the program is developed specifically for girls. GSSWT has not had cause to address the issue of accommodating transgender youth. The organization remains focused on providing a quality leadership experience for all girls in grades K-12 and believes there are other organizations better suited to provide a leadership experience for boys. Acceptance of transgender youth is handled on a case-by-case basis, with the welfare and best interests of the child and the members of the troop/group in question a top priority.
Does Girl Scouting support families of faith?
Yes. Girl Scouting supports girls from all backgrounds and beliefs. While we are a secular organization that refrains from teaching religious or spiritual beliefs or practices, we believe that the motivating force in Girl Scouting is a spiritual one, and we greatly value our longstanding partnerships with religious organizations across many faiths that share the values of the Girl Scout Promise and Law.
We encourage girls to develop connections to their own spiritual and religious beliefs by earning recognitions provided by their faith communities and by earning the new My Promise, My Faith pin, which helps a girl deepen the connection between the Girl Scout Law and her faith. GSSWT has partnered with the Archdiocese of San Antonio to create and support the earning of six more religious awards for the Catholic community that are only available in our 21-county service area.
Girl Scouts welcomes faith leaders to verify that program delivered to girls in their places of worship is consistent with their faith’s teachings.
What is GSUSA’s relationship with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts?
The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) comprises 145 member organizations that promote mutual understanding and cross-cultural opportunities for girls around the world. Girl Scouts of the USA is one of the 145 member organizations.
Each member organization creates its own programs and pursues advocacy efforts based on the needs and issues affecting girls in its individual country. GSUSA does not always take the same positions or endorse the same programs as WAGGGS. GSUSA's relationship with WAGGGS is akin to the United States’ relationship with the United Nations (UN). The United States may not agree with every position the UN takes, but values having a seat at the table.
Does GSUSA have a financial relationship with WAGGGS?
Every Girl Scout and Girl Guide organization is a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts—and each Member Organization, including Girl Scouts of the USA, pays dues. WAGGGS operates in much the same way as the United Nations: Each Member Organization pays dues based on the size of its membership and the per capita income of the country in which the organization resides.
Are girl membership dues used to pay the WAGGGS quota? Membership dues from girls and from adults are not used to pay the WAGGGS quota. All dues collected from Girl Scout members are used to pay for services that directly impact the development and delivery of Girl Scouting to girls in the USA and girls who are involved in USA Girl Scouts Overseas, our program that brings Girl Scouting to American families who live and work abroad.
Is any money from Girl Scout cookie activities used to pay the WAGGGS quota?
No, all of the money from Girl Scout cookie activities stays at councils. The national funds that GSUSA sends to WAGGGS come solely from investment income.
Are girls individual members of WAGGGS?
No, individual girls are not members of WAGGGS. Girl Scouts of the USA is a Member Organization of WAGGGS.
Do girls have to wear a WAGGGS pin?
Girls wear the WAGGGS pin to represent their connection to the worldwide sisterhood of Girl Scouting and Girl Guiding. For a girl to be in uniform, the only requirement is that she wears her Girl Scout pin.
Donations may be dropped off any time during regular office hours at the Sally Cheever Girl Scout Leadership Center, or you may bring donations to the History Committee meetings. A special thanks to the OST for its generous contribution to the History Committee to help purchase supplies.
Upcoming Special Events
Institute of Texan Cultures Girl Power!, an exhibition heralding the next century of Girl Scouting -- Friday, February 22 to Sunday, September 29
Experience the enduring values and traditions of this iconic organization as told through personal stories, photographs, artifacts and memorabilia. Visit ITCs website for the most up-to-date information.
Trefoil 2013 -- September 26
For 26 years, Girl Scouts has selected an outstanding woman and dedicated community leader who embodies the beliefs and principles of the Girl Scout Movement and has presented her with the Trefoil Award. Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas will honor Carri Baker Wells in recognition of her lifelong achievements, particularly her contributions to the community on Thursday, September 26, 2013. Get details and purchase your tickets here.
If you have a history in Girl Scouting, we welcome you to join our Girl Scout Alumnae Association. Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout is our motto. As Girl Scouts and Girl Guides, we came to understand the value of sisterhood, and that belief continues in our lives as women in today's world.
Tell us your story behind the sash!
To stay up to date on the latest happenings, be sure to stay connected and sign up for the Alumnae Connection e-newsletter.
Order of the Silver Trefoil (OST)
An 18-year history in Girl Scouts (as a girl and/or adult) qualifies you as a member of the Order of the Silver Trefoil (OST), which is the service arm of the Girl Scout Alumnae Association and the group spearheading the council's historical preservation efforts.
OST meets four times a year: September, December, March, and June. The group meets to socialize, work on service projects, and help the council where needed. For more information, call volunteers Geri Simms (830-779-2308) or Ella Carrasco (210-653-7429).
Can you guess what 1 in 2 women have in common? They have all benefitted from the nation's premier leadership program for girls ... Girl Scouts.
Studies show that Girl Scout alumnae are women of courage, confidence and character, who are making the world a better place right now. They are in your community and are teachers, mothers, business executives, and scientists who credit Girl Scouting as the place where they found their voice.
The Girl Scout Alumnae Association brings these women together and continues the positive impact of Girl Scouting by encouraging new volunteers, promoting business and social opportunities among alumnae, and increasing financial and human resources.
A great way to reconnect with Girl Scouts is to help the girls of today become the women leaders of tomorrow. Learn more about how you can support Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas by visiting the Support Us Area.
To commemorate Girl Scouting's 100th anniversary, Girl Scout alumnae are being celebrated as Girl Scout Greats. Girl Scout Greats are former Girl Scouts who have achieved success in their area of expertise and who will advocate on behalf of all girls.
Every leader has a story, and we are proud to feature Southwest Texas women in leadership roles who are former Girl Scouts and serve as inspiration to us all. Just like these women, we know there are many more out there who got their start as leaders being a Girl Scout.
Fine Artist & Founder, Gentileschi Aegis Gallery Association
Jelynne Leblanc Burley
The Honorable Leticia Van de Putte
Dr. Lee S. Carlisle
Janie Martinez Gonalzez
Carri Baker Wells
Ana Margarita "Cha" Guzman, Ph.D.
Whatever your Girl Scout role may have been - Brownie, Junior, Cadette, troop leader, camp volunteer, staff member, or dozens of others - count yourself among the 59 million women who are today's Girl Scout Greats. Whether you've started a business, you're a doctor or a community activist, tell us your story about where you are today and how your Girl Scout experience helped to get you there.
Tell us your story behind the sash today!
Local Girl Scouts begin taking orders for America’s much-anticipated sweet treats on January 1, 2012 and this year’s cookie season has historic significance.
For the first-time in history, Girl Scouts from San Antonio are pictured on the iconic packaging of Girl Scout cookies. Members of Troop 7775 from Northside ISD’s Linton Elementary were photographed in Market Square and are featured on the box of this year’s new cookie, Savannah Smiles. The lemon cookie is a tribute to Girl Scouting’s 100th anniversary and the city where the organization was founded in 1912.
This will be the ONLY year Girl Scouts from San Antonio will appear on more than 8 million boxes of Savannah Smiles nationwide. Five foot replicas of the cookie boxes were unveiled at a special event attended by Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and Mayor Julian Castro earlier this year.
To benefit the girls participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, each year’s sale has a programmatic theme. This year’s theme asks, “What can a cookie do?” and answers, “More than you see,” telling the world that a Girl Scout cookie can help girls dream more. Have more opportunities. Give more to their communities and do more than they ever thought possible.
Serving as the regional council’s Honorary CEO – or Cookie Entrepreneur Officer – for the 2012 Girl Scout Cookie Program is Girl Scout alumna, Janie M. Gonzalez (Chief Executive Officer, Webhead). Ms. Gonzalez will lead thousands of girls as they learn essential skills and become young entrepreneurs and social innovators through the Girl Scout Cookie Program.
A nationally recognized industry leader in Internet operations and technologies for new industries, Ms. Gonzalez leads a team of cyber warriors contributing to the federal government’s national defense efforts. She is the recipient of the E-Myth Entrepreneur of the Year, Compass Bank Latina Business Excellence Award, Accion Texas Microlender Entrepreneur of the Year, San Antonio Business Journal’s “40 under 40” Rising Star and National Association of Women Business Owners Visionary Award.
“I feel privileged to have the opportunity to lead, inspire, and catapult a diverse group of girls and young women in San Antonio and the surrounding areas, applying technology, innovation, and tools to a well established program,” says Janie M. Gonzalez about being named as the 2012 Honorary CEO for Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas.
Order taking for Girl Scout cookies begins January 1, so keep an eye out for girls selling door to door, visiting the workplace or sending an email asking for a “promise” to purchase Girl Scout cookies. Girl Scouts will continue their sales beginning the first week of February in front of neighborhood stores. Offering eight varieties, each box of Girl Scout cookies is priced at $3.50.
No university has produced as many female business leaders as the Girl Scout Cookie Program. The program has helped girls grow into leaders by developing five essential skills: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics. These skills allow girls to acquire the talent and resources to make the world a better place.
The Girl Scout Cookie Program not only helps girls fulfill their goals, but also helps communities grow. All proceeds from selling Girl Scout cookies stay within the region to provide direct services to girls and adult volunteers and girls get to decide where the money goes. Your purchase of Girl Scout cookies helps girls do great things, such as pay for a fresh change of clothes for an abused victim or cheer up a soldier far from home.
• View the “What can a cookie do?” Video
• Find Girl Scout cookies on your mobile phone.
Download the free app on iTunes, Android Marketplace or
• View Troop 1123 Taking Action to Help at Haven for Hope
• View Video of a Parent from Troop 7775 Discuss Value of Cookie Program
Diversity was the founding idea of Girl Scouting in 1912. Today we serve girls in every U.S. zip code, from the inner city to the praire. We serve girls in urban community centers and girls incarcerated in detention centers. We serve girls in churches, temples and mosques.
Across income and demographic groups, our membership virtually mirrors the U.S population.
We look like America, and we change with America: Latinas in Girl Scouts have surged by 44% in the last five years. Locally, 59% of girls and 36% of adult volunteers are Latina.
Wherever girls live, whatever their circumstance, we help them learn to be safe, think for themselves, and lead the way for others.
For nearly a century, Girl Scouts has produced leaders who have excelled in every segment of our American life. Through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, girls age 5-17 discover themselves and their values, connect with other girls, and take action to make the world a better place.
Today's girls represent humanity's largest untapped talent pool. Too many urgent challenges go unmet because too few girls become leaders. Yet only one girl in five believes that she has what it takes to lead the way for others.
Simple things can be barriers: 41% of girls are uncomfortable speaking to a group, many girls feel embarrassed in a leadership role, and 39% have been put down by peers when they've tried to lead.
As a society, we lose something every time a girl doesn't raise her hand in school. We are poorer every time she doesn't say what's on her mind. Our future is a little bit smaller every time a girl chooses not to lead.
We help every girl discover who she can be and what she can do, wherever she chooses to put her energies. The journey begins with the Girl Scout environment itself. A girl's leadership potential blooms among other girls -- away from school pressures, social cliques, and boys -- where she can be herself and try new things. Among Girl Scouts, activities are girl-led. She learns by doing, and the learning is cooperative, not competitive.
To discover who she can be, she needs access to wise adults who both inspire her and respect her. Our more than 8,000 adult volunteers do this every day.
To discover what she can do, she needs participation opportunities as varied as the world -- so she can "try on" different leadership roles and grow into the ones that fit her best.