Letter to the editor: Cookie boycott

By: Sarah Prosek

Girl Scouts is a non-profit organization founded on the idea of helping girls become outstanding members of society through exploration of careers and the outdoors. However, some people are losing sight of what Juliette Low originally intended when she founded Girl Scouts.

By the end of January, Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio will have accepted offers to sell four out of seven camps. They claim that the money collected from selling over half of the camps to the highest bidder will go toward creating “Premier Leadership Camps” because they claim this is what the membership wants. In being a member myself, I took the liberty of doing some research; what I found is simply horrifying.

First off, the statistics the GS council used on which to base this decision were poorly worded and easily misconstrued by the girls and adults polled. For example, the girls were asked to number a list of important camp components. Things such as toilets were on the list. Naturally, this means that if the properties have mostly outhouses/latrines, the girls don’t want go there, or so GSNEO made it seem.

The information gathered was then spun to support the decision to slate four camps for closure, despite the questionnaire was not pertaining to the issue of closures at all. Since a 2007 council merger, paid positions within the council have increased from 55 to 110. Creating more positions was supposed to save money, but instead it increased the number of people that required paychecks.

In 2010, $11 million dollars was earned, $8.5 million coming from cookie sales alone. This means the girls provide over 80 percent of the income. The shocking part is that $5.5 million dollars go toward the salaries of those who work for GSNEO, while the total cost of running all seven camps is around $990,000 collectively. The girls are raising more than enough funds for all the camps to remain open.

In addition, CEO Daisy Alford-Smith has given out false information on the matter. She told the media that of the 40,000 members only 10-15 percent use the camps. The truth is 10-15 percent participate in council-sponsored camp programming while over 50 percent of members actively use the camps. Unfortunately, some troops cannot afford the increased prices to use the camps, a strategy by the council.

In October 2011, members requested to halt the selling of the camps until GSNEO provided accurate numbers and sound reasons to selling the properties. The lies continued.

In fall 2010, the council said it would take approximately $1.9 million to repair all the camps (stated in Vision 2012) and get them up to American Camp Association standards. Since then, the number the council floated has increased to $30 million, and recently it was quoted to take $18 million to renovate all the camps. So which is it? Why are there so many statistics floating around while the council is not doing anything to clarify them?

In response to the ridiculous actions of the GS council, many people and troops are boycotting the selling and buying of GS cookies this year. Instead, they are donating to a legal fund. The council is blatantly refusing to listen to the girls that were hired to lead and inspire.

How can girls truly gain an experience in business and the outdoors if their leaders are more interested in running GS like a profit-making company? Girl scouts is supposed to be about growing as an individual, not generating revenue for a CEO’s paycheck.

Everyone should be encouraged to supporting the real girls of girl scouts as opposed to the financial interests of the council. Those interested in helping the girls can visit trefoilintegrity.org for more information.