Presidential Medal of Freedom to be Awarded to the Founder of Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low

The White House announced today that President Obama is posthumously awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to the founder of Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low. The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, recognizes individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors”.

“Juliette Gordon Low was a visionary, whose legacy lives on in the 59 million American women who have been part of Girl Scouting at some point in their lives,” said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “She believed that all girls should be given the opportunity to develop physically, mentally and spiritually, and in founding the Girl Scouts in 1912, she made an indelible and enduring contribution to the lives of girls and to our nation. It is so fitting that on our 100th anniversary, she should be honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

From the beginning, the Girl Scouts has insisted on being a voice for all girls. Juliette Gordon Low’s first 18 Girl Scouts included girls from influential Savannah families, as well as girls from the Female Orphan Asylum and Congregation Mickve Israel. As early as 1917 the first African-American troops were established, as well as troops for disabled girls. One of the earliest Latina troops was formed in 1922; Girl Scout troops supported Japanese-American girls in internment camps in the 1940s, and by the 1950s, Girl Scouts was leading the charge to fully integrate all of its troops. In 1956, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called Girl Scouts “a force for desegregation.”

Low’s exemplary life, work, and legacy have received many forms of recognition in the past. In 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill authorizing a stamp in honor of Low. On October 28, 1979, Low was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and on December 2, 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill naming a new federal building in Savannah in honor of her. It was the second federal building in history to be named after a woman. A bust of Low is displayed in the State Capitol of Georgia.

In receiving The Presidential Medal of Freedom, Low joins the ranks of Frances Hesselbein, who in 1998 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work with the Girl Scouts of the USA. Hesselbein served as the CEO for the Girl Scouts of the USA, and is credited with increasing minority membership and establishing the Daisy Scout program for the youngest girls accepted into Girl Scouts.

(from the GSUSA blog)

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GSMH Interim CEO Announcement

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Anne Soots, Chief Operating Officer for Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland, has been appointed Interim CEO effective December 1.   We will be conducting a national CEO search over the next several months and will keep you informed of the process as we progress.  I look forward to working with Anne as we begin our 100th year as a Girl Scout Movement.

Tina Stillwell
GSMH Board Chair

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GSMH CEO Resignation Announcement

Jennifer M. Orban, who has served as the Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland for over three years, has announced she will resign effective November 30th to pursue avenues outside of Girl Scouting.

During her time as CEO, Jennifer led the organization through a time of change as five Girl Scout Councils merged to establish Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland. In its third year of existence, GSMH achieved record growth with an 18% increase in girl membership and a 1.4% increase in adult membership. Out of 112 councils, this positions Missouri Heartland third in overall membership growth across the country.

“Partnering with Jennifer during the past three years to develop a high performing council and board of directors has been a pleasure,” said Tina Stillwell, board chair. “Under Jennifer’s leadership GSMH has completed a Strategic Learning process which resulted in new strategic priorities for the council; was awarded a new three-year charter from Girl Scouts of the USA; and has laid the foundation for a successful 100th Anniversary Campaign and Celebration in 2012. On behalf of the board, I thank Jennifer for her advocacy for Girl Scouting and her service and dedication to the over 17,000 girls and 4,900 volunteers in southern and central Missouri, southeast Kansas, and northeast Oklahoma.”

An interim CEO will be appointed, and we hope to make that announcement very soon.

Yours in Girl Scouting,
Tina Stillwell, Chair of the Board
Girl Scouts of the Missouri Heartland

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Competition & STEM Program Opportunity for Girls

Girl Scouts of the USA is proud to be an outreach partner with the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media to introduce the second annual National STEM Video Game Challenge open to Girl Scouts! This challenge invites game makers to show their passion for playing and making video games and aims to motivate children’s interests in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Up for grabs is almost $200,000 in cash and prizes, with multiple ways to win! The entry period is open through March 12th, 2012. Finalists will be selected by a distinguished panel of judges and winners will be announced in the spring of 2012 at a major public event.

For more information on how Girl Scouts can enter the Youth Prize competition (middle school & high school) look here!

Challenges like this support Girl Scouts’ already strong commitment to STEM activities that are relevant to everyday life. Whether they’re discovering how a car’s engine runs, becoming math whizzes, or learning about careers in STEM fields, girls are moving forward into the future. Please look here for more information on all of our science offerings.

This challenge also compliments the Entertainment Technology Badge, where girls can dig into video game development! If you have girls earning this badge, encourage them to enter the STEM Video Challenge as well!

(originally posted by Joshua at GSUSA)

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New CEO Anna Maria Chávez Speaks to Girl Scouts

 

Girl Scouts of the USA celebrated 100 years of history and welcomed its new chief executive officer, Anna Maria Chávez, at its National Council Session/52nd Convention in Houston from November 10-13.
The historic convention, titled Renewing the Promise: Girl Scouts in a New Century, drew some 15,000 girl and adult members, as well as noted celebrities, such as ABC News journalist Katie Couric; Soledad O’Brien, host of CNN’s In America; Robin Roberts, co-anchor of Good Morning America; three-time Grammy-nominated recording artist Sarah Bareilles; Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker; actress and philanthropist Marlee Martin; gospel singer Yolanda Adams; and actress Monique Coleman, who starred in the High School Musical films.
Below is the speech delivered by Anna Maria Chávez. Enjoy!

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