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Vitamin CH Chocolate: that substance without which we would get nothing done

I am a lifetime Girl Scout. My mother was a Girl Scout before me. My sisters were both Girl Scouts. Bruce is a lifetime member too.

When I was growing up, it was usual for there to be four troops attached to the household at times, one for each of us girls and my mother's troop. That means that Girl Scout Leader magazine in many of its incarnations have passed through my hands at least a time or two.

It hasn't always been the highest quality thing. It is a magazine put together by the national office to share resources and ideas with leaders and volunteers. Pay your dues as an adult, get a magazine a few times a year. That's the way it goes.

Today, the latest issue of Leader magazine landed in my mailbox. At first, I didn't realize it was a copy of Leader. The first thing I saw was the back cover: an ad for Dove soap. Thinking I had been added to someone's magazine list again, I flipped the magazine over and flipped. It was Leader Magazine. Calming myself down, I thought... OK, Dove does a big self-esteem building program with Girl Scouts. Maybe that is what is going on.

Open to the first page. Left side: Ad for Dick's Shoes and Reebok's and the Avon breast cancer walk. I think, "Maybe they are just giving some placement to some worthy causes. I can live with that." Right side: regular column from the CEO and the Chair of the National BOD. It says they are re-launching with a new "publishing partner" SPOT ON media. Hmmm... not looking good.

I flip through the magazine. Before I tell you what I found, please realize that the magazine goes to all adults registered as Girl Scouts and all girls over the age of 13 who are registered. The idea has always been that since the girls are doing leadership work with the younger girls, they should have access to the magazine.

I flipped. And I started reading. And writing this post. Because there are now ads. Lots of ads. Through out the magazine. Vacation and trip ads. A Cheetah Girls movie ad. Furniture ads. A Dell ad. A ProActive ad. But the one that really got my blood boiling?

An ad for "Work at Home - Be a Medical Billing Specialist" Yes! US Career Institute is advertising in Leader magazine. What does this tell our girls? Reach for the sky - pay a company you don't know to learn to be a medical billing specialist.

I don't have any problems with US Career Institute or the field of medical billing. I do have a BIG problem with them advertising in a magazine aimed at volunteers who are already over worked and under appreciated.

What do the ads say to the volunteers? What this volunteer heard loud and clear was "Here's your resource. Support our advertisers so we can keep sending it to you."

Was that what they meant to say? Reserving judgment on that. But, come on! Don't the volunteers in an organization the size of Girl Scouts deserve to get what they have always gotten? An ad free, somewhat balanced, resource with information they can feel safe sharing with the girls in the troop. Or is that just too much to ask. This volunteer hopes not.

Posted on Tuesday, June 3, 2008 6:28 PM | Back to top


Comments on this post: One frustrated GS volunteer

# re: One frustrated GS volunteer
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Haven't seen GS Leader Magazine in years. I stopped being a GS volunteer after not being appreciated for my hours of work; specifically for not being invited to the local Council Thanks Luncheon the year I was Cookie Chairman for my County, and for not being awarded my 20 year GS pin that same year. When I commented about this they said I could still pick up my pin at the local Council headquarters. They're available to whomever asks for them. I had expected to have to give some kind of proof of membership; but to be told anyone can get one made me decide not to bother.
I did use the Leader Magazine often, especially for help with programs, etc. involving older GS girls. I wonder how many issues will now be trashed unread, or recycled unread, because recipients are turned off by "Glitzy" style & partner. I believed that GS were above selling their image. It would have been better to have reduced size and/or scope of the magazine rather than cheapen this magazine, and, resultingly, cheapening GS's image in the public and to its members.
I wonder how much effect this will have on either individual, or corporate giving? It sure has changed my ideas & attitudes regarding GS's image.
Left by msjunkin on Jun 07, 2008 8:08 AM

# re: One frustrated GS volunteer
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Was this magazine a small sized magazine? I MIGHT have seen it. I personally think they need to stop partnering with groups that really don't have a lot to do with Girl Scouting. I totally agree that too many ads and too many "partnerships" are not doing Girl Scouting a favor. The "image" and "branding" of Girl Scouting need to have more to do with Sisterhood, saving the environment, saving the camps, (and not selling them to developers!) and embracing the values and official Outdoor Program that Juliette Low did. Does that make Girl Scouting "nerdy"? Well, that's A-OK with me. Bring on the Girl Scout nerds, and let's get back to basics. That's my two cents. Check out the Outdoor Journey Project and many more Take Action Girl Scout groups for more info. on Taking Action about this. GREAT posting. I am sharing it.
Left by Elizabeth Sheppard on Jan 18, 2014 3:05 PM

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