10/30/06 — Girl Scout councils discuss merger plan

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Girl Scout councils discuss merger plan

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on October 30, 2006 1:45 PM

Girl Scouts in Goldsboro could belong to a much larger council this time next year if all goes according to plan.

But Coastal Carolina Council director Debbie McDowell-Tate says the only changes local troops will see are more opportunities for the girls and more flexibility for the adult volunteers.

The Coastal Carolina Girl Scout Council includes about 9,000 Scouts in Wayne and 24 other counties. The council will merge with the Pines of Carolina, which serves 23,000 girls in 20 counties. The Pines Council area goes from Person and Warren counties to the north and includes Richmond and Bladen at the south edge.

Ms. McDowell-Tate has been coordinating the change with Pines director Pat Wright since July. She said the transition will take at least a year. Legal requirements like new by-laws, articles of incorporation and personnel policies have to come first.

And after all the details have been ironed out, a group of volunteers will do a search for a new chief executive officer for the merged council and a nominating committee will come up with a new board of directors.

And once the steps are completed, the membership of both Girl Scout councils will have to vote whether to dissolve their councils and then whether to accept the merger. Each council has a membership consisting of adult volunteers and girls age 14 and up. Delegates are sent to an annual meeting. This year, those delegates will vote on the merger.

After the vote, Ms. McDowell-Tate said, it will take another year for actual changes to begin.

The merger is part of a plan adopted in August during a meeting of the Girl Scouts of the USA's national board of directors. The plan is to reduce the number of councils from 312 to 109.

If the councils decide to merge, they will begin phasing in the changes in 2008.

The new council will serve 35,000 girls by the time realignment is finished in 2009.

Some of the changes local girls and volunteers might notice will be a different configuration of age levels and some new options in programming. The girls might find they have more experiences to choose from, and volunteers might find they have more flexibility in time commitments.

To become a Girl Scout or a volunteer or to donate money to the council, call 734-6231 locally, or 800-558-9297 for out-of-towners.

You can also visit www.gscoastalnc.org, where Ms. McDowell-Tate has explained some of the coming changes under the heading "Transforming the Movement."