Dear GSCSNJ Members:
The 2021 Membership Year is upon us, and there is no doubt that this will be a challenging, pivotal year for Girl Scouting and the Girl Scouts of Central and Southern New Jersey.
The global pandemic and civil unrest in our nation have affected and changed us. We’ve adapted in so many ways, as we long for the days we can gather in peace and civility, and for life to return to “normal”.
As Girl Scouts, our mission challenges us “to make the world a better place” and we pledge to “help people at all times.” Those words carry great weight and responsibility and inspire us with strength as we continue to adapt our lives in response to COVID and denounce institutional racism, violence, injustice, and inequity.
Adaptation to the pandemic will continue throughout this Girl Scout year, and we ask you to be patient, open-minded and in touch with us as we go through this year together. Our Council team commits to communicate with you candidly and often, as we see what unfolds with the pandemic and health/safety guidelines for girls throughout the year. Our focus is to ensure that all Girl Scout activities and events are conducted in accordance with public health guidelines to protect the health of our volunteers, girls and staff, while we ensure that girls receive as many of the fun, impactful opportunities of the Girl Scout program as possible.
With no less conviction, we will take action and lend our voices as advocates to ensure a world in which no girl grows up defined by racial inequities or trauma. Our Girl Scout promise and law inspire us to move beyond words as strive to create a more inclusive and anti-racist organization.
In order to develop that specific, action-oriented plan for our Council, we are seeking girls and adults to serve on a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Council for GSCSNJ. This Advisory Council will be chaired by Rachel Holland of our Council’s Board of Directors and will be charged with coming up with a strategic plan to drive diversity, equity and inclusion within our Council. If you’d like to be part of this group, please send an email to DEIAction@gscsnj.org to express your interest.
As the Advisory Council undertakes this work, know that there are a variety of resources already available within the movement to support you. If you are looking for resources to talk to your girl(s) about racism, we recommend Girl Scouts’ blog and Raising Awesome Girls platform, which have resources including, Why Tolerance Isn’t Working and How to Talk to Your Girl About Scary News . In addition, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture launched Talking About Race, an online portal providing tools and resources on the topics of race, racial identity, and how they influence every aspect of society.
Like you, we don’t have all the answers. But we are committed to navigating this path with you as an ally and advocate for all members of our community. For more than 100 years, we have stood for making the world a better place, and we encourage you to speak out, as Girl Scouts do, for what is right. We will listen, learn, and leverage our resources to affect change. Please join us.
Yours in Girl Scouting,
Chief Executive Officer
Girl Scouts of Central & Southern New Jersey