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Continued: Amid an overhaul, Girl Scouts cope with fiscal woes, declining membership, grassroots dismay

  • Article by: DAVID CRARY , AP National Writer
  • Last update: June 24, 2013 - 9:45 AM

"The leadership has taken on this for-profit mentality, and let go of the not-for-profit service," Duax said. "Maybe they can get a do-over on the pension plan, but there's no do-over with the land. Once it's gone, it's gone."

Joni Kinsey, an art historian at the University of Iowa, credits her Girl Scout experience with kindling her interest in Western art. Now, as a troop leader, she's dismayed at how changes to the organization have unfolded.

"Part of Girl Scout culture was that we make decisions collaboratively," she said. "Suddenly it's become an adversarial relationship where it's us against them."

"To those of us who dearly love this organization, having to resort to protest mode is not what we want to do," said Kinsey, 54. "We've been marginalized as this small, discontented group of dowdy older women trying to live in their memories."

The unease is shared by many younger employees, volunteers and alumnae — dozens of whom have joined a group called The Future is Ours.

The group's chair, Amanda Kremer from the Heart of Michigan Council, posted a letter to Chavez online, proposing a dialogue on how to improve the Girl Scouts' finances, boost youth membership and attract top-notch staff.

"We want to make sure that we inherit a financially sound organization poised to last another 100 years," the letter says. "We do not think things are headed in that direction currently."

Since posting the letter, Kremer, 26, says she's had two substantive phone conversations with GSUSA chief of staff Nhadine Leung. Kremer described the conversations as positive, saying the national leadership seemed to recognize the severity of the challenges.

"What we want is for everyone to feel they have a say — so girls can continue to have the wonderful experiences that we had," Kremer said.

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Online:

http://www.girlscouts.org/

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Follow David Crary on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/craryap

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