by Valarie Moseley, Chief Membership Services Officer
In 2010 and 2011, Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland embarked on an extensive process called Strategic Learning, where we comprehensively evaluated our internal and external realities. This evaluation brought us to an understanding that it was imperative that we, as an organization, align our internal systems to best support Girl Scouting at the local level. As a result of this process, several volunteers, parents, and girls participated in “Your Voice, Your Council” input sessions throughout the council during January of 2012. There were several topics discussed at each meeting, but the primary purpose and focus of these conversations was to evaluate the current service unit structure. The goal was to determine what changes were needed to best support volunteers in our local communities. Many participants felt that the service unit was essential, but that there needed to be some changes. Concerns regarding the current structure were focused on difficulty filling positions, difficulty in getting accurate and timely information, lack of local training, and challenges related to the differences in culture and geography across the council jurisdiction.
Based on this feedback, a task force comprising volunteers and staff was developed in each region. Task force groups were conducted in mid-June 2012 in each region of the council. Participants were asked to review four suggested volunteer structures from GSUSA and determine which would work best for our council, or develop a new structure if necessary.
The task force participants recognized that our council faces major challenges in relation to geography and felt that it would be beneficial to allow for both regional and local positions. They also thought that fewer layers in the service unit structure would increase communication between the council and volunteers. They believed that there should be avenues for allowing girls to participate in the service unit structure. And, finally, they concluded that there was a strong need for flexibility within the structure that would allow for communities to evaluate their needs and volunteer support.
The result of over two years of evaluation and input is a new volunteer position structure that will be rolled out across the council in the 2013–2014 membership year. Membership marketing specialists will be working with each district they serve to begin the dialogue about how to make this new structure work for their community. They will also begin transitioning current service team members to new positions. We have provided training for the new positions beginning with Learn 2 Lead events in August and October across the council. Training opportunities will continue throughout the year as we take a gradual approach to this exciting new change!
Please take a moment to look over the new structure and the new positions for volunteering with girls and volunteering with adults that are within the structure and feel free to contact us with any questions that you may have. While we know that this is a substantial change, we sincerely believe that this change will allow us to best support girls and volunteers across the council jurisdiction as they deliver and participate in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience!