Home > Who We Are > News and Updates

News and Updates

We are committed to keeping our volunteers, families, donors and Girl Scouts up-to-date on news throughout the council.
  • ​Dear Girl Scout volunteer,


    Thank you for your commitment and support of Girl Scouting! You help build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.


    On National Girl Scout Leader Appreciation Day—a day set aside to recognize and thank our volunteers—I want to personally thank you for the talents and gifts you share.  You teach girls something new, show them what’s possible, help them shine and watch what they will do next. You help girls reach their full potential. You are girls’ cheerleaders, their guides and their mentors. Anything is possible for girls with caring adults like you by their sides.


    Today, I want to take a little time out to thank you for the amazing time that you give.  Your efforts truly make a difference in the lives of girls.  The key to our success rests in you and words cannot express how grateful we are to have you as a volunteer.  I am humbled by your generosity of spirit and your compassion.  It is a pleasure to work with you.


    With much appreciation,


    Roni Luckenbill
    Chief Executive Officer

    Cookie season is always a time we receive a lot of press coverage. Generally, the coverage is positive and highlights the valuable impact Girl Scouting and the cookie program has on girls. However, there are groups who use the cookie sale as an opportunity for publicity, by attacking Girl Scouts. We have recently been alerted that an online article is calling for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies based on false information.  

     


    We find it unfortunate that anyone would boycott the Girl Scouts in a misguided effort to advance their own agenda at the expense of millions of girls throughout the country. Girl Scouts is a non-profit organization with a century-long history of providing girls with the skills they need to become our next generation of leaders.

     

    First and foremost, the mission of Girl Scout of Western Ohio is to build girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place.  Our focus is on building girls’ leadership, not a political agenda.


    We want to supply Girl Scout volunteers and families with accurate the information respond to questions they might receive.  Below are some key facts.

    • Girl Scouts does not and has not endorsed any political party or politician.
    • There is no relationship—past, present or planned—between Planned Parenthood and Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. In addition, Girl Scouts of the USA does not have a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood.
    • Girl Scouts does not take a position on reproductive issues. We believe these are matters that are best discussed within the family.
    • We feel our role is to help girls develop self-confidence and good decision-making skills that will help them make wise choices in all areas of their lives.
    • Girl Scouts of Western Ohio has a long standing, valued relationship with the Catholic Church, including the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Catholic Diocese of Toledo.
    • The Girl Scouts actively encourage every girl to become a stronger member of her faith community.

    Please read our Q & A document for additional answers regarding the false criticism and claims that have come to Girl Scouts from various sources.


    Please know that the safety and protection of our girls and adult volunteers is a top priority. We have received reports that some individuals are harassing girls as they sell cookies. Remember, if you or the girls should ever feel threatened, please don’t hesitate to call law enforcement. So that we can better protect girls in the future, please also inform your regional Girl Scout Center. 


    Click here to view a “Get the Facts about Girl Scout Cookies” flier that is available, if needed, to distribute accurate information about the Girl Scout Cookie Program.  We know a majority of cookie customers support the organization, as well as understand and appreciate the impact you make as a dedicated Girl Scout volunteer.  If you receive additional questions, please feel free to direct them to the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio website or council communications managers.

    Although girls in the United States have made substantial progress in the classroom and elsewhere, persistent disparities and challenges exist that could keep many girls from achieving their full potential. Black/African American and Hispanic/Latina girls are far more likely than their white counterparts to face an array of socioeconomic hurdles that range from growing up in poverty or a low-income household to dropping out of school and struggling with obesity, according to a report released recently by the Girl Scout Research Institute.

     

    The State of Girls: Unfinished Business charts the often-vast disparities that cleave the girl experience along racial and ethnic lines. The report also documents the fact that girls are now more likely than boys to graduate from high school and that the teen birthrate has reached its lowest recorded levels. Yet when researchers looked at the differences among girls in terms of race and ethnicity, it became clear that white girls fare much better than black/African American and Hispanic/Latina girls.

     

    Many girls have low reading and math proficiency, but when race is factored in, disparities in education are overwhelming. Eight out of 10 black/African American and Hispanic/Latina girls are considered “below proficient” in reading by fourth grade, whereas 5 out of 10 white girls are considered “below proficient” in reading by fourth grade.

     

    Obesity rates are high for girls. Nearly half of black/African American (44 percent) and Hispanic/Latina (41 percent) girls ages 5 to 17 are overweight or obese, as compared to 26 percent of white girls. Girls also struggle with emotional health. Thirty-four percent of high school girls had self-reported symptoms of depression during the past year. This percentage is highest for black/African American girls. Six out of 10 black/African American girls report symptoms of depression.

     

    “The key to keep in mind, though, is that data is not destiny,” said Judy Schoenberg, a lead researcher at the Girl Scout Research Institute. “As a society we can do something about this. At Girl Scouts of the USA, we are doing something about this, and will continue to develop programs that meet the needs of all today’s girls.”

     

    Written in conjunction with the Population Reference Bureau in Washington, D.C., The State of Girls: Unfinished Business is the first report of its kind to focus exclusively on girls, and it paints a detailed picture of the social and economic lives that the 26 million American girls ages 5 to 17 lead today. The report draws its findings from analyses of large national data sets, including the U.S. Census.

     

    For a full report on this study go the following link: http://www.girlscouts.org/research/pdf/sog_full_report.pdf

    Camp Greene has been rested since 2009. The Girl Scouts of Western Ohio Board of Directors, based on a 2011 Property Task Group Report, recommended that Camp Green be sold or investigated for other options for ownership, management or use of camp based on conditions or restrictions on the use/sale of the property.

     

    Girl Scouts of Western Ohio recently entered into a 15 month agreement with the Glen Helen Association that will allow Glen Helen to investigate the feasibility of purchasing Camp Greene as a land trust, if funding can be secured to purchase the property. This agreement allows Glen Helen to seek funding to purchase the camp with public and private funding, including the Clean Ohio Fund. This will also ensure that the camp continue to be used for public and educational purposes, including access for Girl Scouts and will protect the property as green space in perpetuity.
    Dear members and friends of Girl Scouts,

    The fourth weekend in June, an Associated Press (AP) story was released that focused on Girl Scouting and some of the challenges we face, including a national membership decline over the past decade, our now frozen national council pension plan with unfunded liabilities, the decision to sell camps by some councils, and a restructuring by our national Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) staff, headquartered in New York, which includes a reduction in paid staff at GSUSA. 

     


    The article while accurate, does not give the full picture of the facts about these issues and does not include the voices of the extraordinary girls, who through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, are building courage, confidence, and character, and making the world a better place.


    Here are some additional facts to keep in mind:
    Girl Scouts of Western Ohio also has experienced a downturn in membership—just like most youth servicing organizations across the nation. We have high hopes that we can turn this around, with the help from all our girl and adult members, new national programming and our recent, local restructuring to better serve girls and volunteers.


    Funding for our now frozen national Girl Scout Council Retirement Plan is something we share with most of our 112 sister councils and there are certain liabilities. Unlike many pension plans you may be reading about in the news, there are no cost of living increases and no medical benefits. The participating councils are required to bring the frozen plan to full funded status by 2023. There are a number of factors contributing to the underfunding. We would be helped if Congress passes legislation that allows us to use the same funding calculations as for-profit companies and to “smooth” out the required payments over the next 10 years. You can help by sending your member of the U.S. House of Representatives a letter urging their support of the Charitable Pension Flexibility Act (HR 2134). Here’s a sample letter to get you started.


    The media reports would lead you to believe that Girl Scout councils are selling all of our camps. This is not true. The top eight Girl Scout councils in size, including Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, collectively own 82 camps and only five are for sale. This represents only 6 percent of the council’s camps. In addition, camping is still an integral part of Girl Scouting. Camp use has remained fairly steady over the past couple of years at Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. There are many exciting options for girls interested in participating in summer camping opportunities, including resident and day camp for individual girls, Troop Adventure Camp for troops, and specialized programming for mothers and daughters. More than 4,200 girls have or will use our camps this summer through these opportunities.


    For those of you who wish additional information, I’ve included more facts below. Please feel free to contact me at council@girlscoutsofwesternohio.org, if you still have questions or ideas you’d like to share with me. 

     

    For more information and to read the full letter click here.


     

    After a day of cheerleading competition in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, March 10, 2012, several girls and their parents were relaxing at their hotel pool. Ashlyn, a fellow teammate drifted into the deep end and was unable to swim to safety. Makayla, then a Girl Scout Junior and another teammate swam to Ashlyn’s aid and pulled her to the side, where parents were able to safely pull Ashlyn from the pool.

     

    Because of Makayla heroism, Paula Crow, Girl Scout Troop 30039 leader, who has been Makayla’s leader for four and one half years, nominated Makayla for the award. Girl Scouts of Western Ohio and Girl Scouts of the USA then approved the nomination.

     

    Makayla received her award December 12, 2013, at a Xenia City Council Meeting.  Roni Luckenbill, CEO of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio bestowed the award to Makayla and the Honorable Marsha J. Bayless, Mayor of Xenia, presented Makayla with a city proclamation.

     

    The Girl Scout Bronze Cross award is a lifesaving award bestowed to girl members. This award has been a part of the Girl Scout program since the beginning of the Girl Scout Movement in the United States, 101 years ago. It is bestowed to girls who have saved a human life or attempted to save it under circumstances that indicate heroism or risk to their own lives, and who have performed heroic acts beyond the degree of maturity and training to be expected at their age. In 2012, only 13 girls across the country received the Bronze Cross award.


    A celebration in honor of the new partnership between the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Girl Scouts of Western Ohio was held November 3, 2013, at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Chains in Cincinnati. Over 200 Girl Scouts and their families were in attendance for this 2 p.m. service, with the Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer presiding. A solemn and sacred Liturgy of the Hours (midday prayer) consisting of hymns, prayers and scripture, culminated with the presentation of the Extraordinary Women of Faith Award to four outstanding women who have served both the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. The awardees were: Emily Beckman, Barbara J. Bonifas, Margie Houck and Mary Lou Straw.

     

    Followed by a reception, Girl Scouts and their families were able to learn more about the religious recognitions that Girl Scouts can complete, which help girls grow stronger in and learn more specifically about their faith.

     

    The partnership, formalized in May 2013 by the signing of a memorandum of understanding by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, acknowledges decades of mutual support and close cooperation.  It recognizes that Girl Scout troops have been a consistent presence in a great many of parishes and schools for generations, working in close cooperation with Catholic pastors, principals and other church leaders to nurture the healthy development of young women, and building faith through the Catholic religious awards programs. At the May signing ceremony, Archbishop Schnurr and Roni Luckenbill recognized that the relationship between the two organizations dates back to 1914.

     

    A similar memorandum of understanding is available to sign for local Girl Scout troops and the parishes where they are located. For more information, contact Erin Horsley (erinhorsley@girlscoutsofwesternohio.org) or Marcia Dowds (marciadowds@girlscoutsofwesternohio.org).
    Camp is the perfect place for girls to expand their Girl Scout Leadership Experience.  Through camp, girls learn to work together, make choices, take responsibility, build independence and gain confidence.  Girl Scouts of Western Ohio knows the importance of the camping experience in girls’ development, and we want to ensure that we are providing girls with quality and safe camping opportunities that are cost effective.

     

    With this in mind each year we have to make choices about what are the most important ways to provide safe and impactful experiences to girls.  Through this process we have made the difficult decision to cancel all horse riding sessions at Camp Libbey starting October 2013.  This decision was not taken lightly and was based on two main factors including:

     

    • Maintaining a safe program—we do not own any of the horses that are used for our horse riding sessions.  Each summer we lease 16 horses from a provider.  These horses require extensive training before they are ready for girls based on safety guidelines found in the Girl Scout Safety Activity Checkpoints.  We have had increased challenges in finding quality horses to meet our high standards. 
    • Budget—Participation in non-resident camp horseback riding has declined; facilitating the horse riding sessions has become a large budgetary expense.  Expenses include: horse leasing fee, horse feed, vet supplies and medical care, grooming, staff needed to run and maintain the program, replacement of equipment including helmets, saddles, bridles and training materials.  Many of these costs fluctuate with the changing economy which has made it a growing budgetary issue. 

     

    We recognize that this decision will affect several troops and individual Girl Scouts planning on attending horse riding sessions at Libbey.  However, this decision doesn’t mean that girls will not have access to horse programming through summer camp.  Girls will still have the opportunity to explore their interest in horse riding.  Please see the options below:

     

    • We will still offer horse riding sessions at Camp Whip Poor Will through Camp Kern, a year-round camp and horseback riding program for youth located close to Camp Whip Poor Will.
    • We are currently in the process of building relationships with other horse riding facilities in northwest Ohio to provide horse programming to girls on their sites.  These sessions may include day trips to a horse riding facility or an overnight adventure trip.  We are still working out the details but look for more information in the summer camp mailer in January 2014. 
    • Although the Wranglers-in-Training (WIT)/Ranch Hands sessions will not be available in the coming camp season, the Counselor-in-Training (CIT) program is still available and Wranglers-in-Training (WIT) and ranch hands will still be eligible to participate in this camp leadership opportunity.

     

    Thank you for understanding this decision and for continuing to support the development of girls.  If you have specific questions, please contact Vicki Proctor, Outdoor Program and Partnerships Team Leader.
    Camp Ladigrau - September 2013 On September 5, 2013 Girl Scouts of Western Ohio completed the sale of Camp Ladigrau. This camp has provided Girl Scouts with wonderful outdoor experiences for more than fifty years.  Usage of the camp had declined over the past twenty years with the expansion of other opportunities available to troops and increased interest in staff-supported summer and weekend opportunities that can be more readily supported at larger, centrally located Girl Scouts of Western Ohio camps.   Camp Ladigrau has been sold to a family for their personal use.  The board of directors will be looking at ways to improve our seven available camps to encourage increased usage and meet the needs of today’s (and tomorrow’s) girls.

     

    June 2013 – Camp Ladigrau Update
    In June 2011, the board voted to start marketing Ladigrau for sale, based on the 2011 Board Property Task Group Recommendations.  In the fall of 2011 a community discussion was held to follow up on the Ladigrau decision, with a personal invitation extended to all currently registered volunteers who had reserved Ladigrau in the eighteen months before the camp was rested.  All those in attendance agreed that they would treasure the many wonderful memories they had of Camp Ladigrau.  They also acknowledged that though it was sad to lose the camp, the low usage made it a reasonable decision when considering what is best for all of the girls of the council.

    April 4, 2014 Update - Camp Myeerah is Conserved as a Public Park
    Camp Myeerah has been permanently conserved as a new public park. For more than fifty years Camp Myeerah had an overnight camping destination for Girl Scouts and the local community.  In 2011, The Girl Scouts of Western Ohio Board of Directors commissioned a study to guide long term property planning.  The study recommended that the Girl Scouts investigate options to sell Camp Myeerah, focusing on those that allowed continued usage by Girl Scouts.  Working with the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society, The Trust for Public Land, and the City of Bellefontaine, the Girl Scouts were able to sell and conserve the 449-acre camp as a public recreation destination last month.
     
    Roni Luckenbill, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio CEO said, “We are very excited about this outcome for Camp Myeerah.  This will allow continued use of the property for the Girl Scouts.  It is a win for the Girl Scouts, for Bellefontaine and the surrounding communities and for the preservation of a unique and beautiful piece of property. “
     

    The property is now owned by The City of Bellefontaine, which will operate Camp Myeerah as a Joint Recreation District park. The District is developing a management plan for the public to enjoy Camp Myeerah for overnight camping, hiking, cross-country skiing, fishing, and bird-watching. Tri-Moraine Audubon Society is managing conservation easements over the entire property to help the District manage important birding habitat.

     

    September 4, 2013 Update Girl Scouts of Western Ohio moving forward to Protect Camp Myeerah through Agreement with Bellefontaine Park 
     
    Girl Scouts of Western Ohio has been successful in working with the Ohio Trust for Public Land, the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society and the Bellefontaine Park District to develop a long-term plan that transfers ownership of Camp Myeerah to the park district but will preserve the integrity of the camp and allow continued use of the camp property by the public, including Girl Scouts.  Roni Luckenbill, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio CEO said, “We are very encouraged about the progress of this agreement.  This is a win for the Girl Scouts, for the community and for the preservation of a unique and beautiful piece of property.”  Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s Board of Directors have made continued usage by Girl Scouts a priority in considering potential options for the camp.
     
    This long-term plan was put in motion late January, when Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s Board of Directors voted to consider an offer from the Ohio Trust for Public Land for the purchase of Camp Myeerah. The land trust was working in partnership with the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society, with whom the Girl Scouts have a long standing conservation easement partnership at Camp Myeerah. The land trust worked to secure funding through the Clean Ohio Fund and to develop a long-term plan that would preserve the integrity of the camp. The Tri-Moraine Audubon Society and the land trust were just recently awarded a Clean Ohio Grant which was an important step in moving this agreement forward. 
     
     

     

    January 22, 2013 Update
    During its January 22nd meeting, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s Board of Directors voted to consider an offer from a land trust for the purchase of Camp Myeerah. The land trust is partnering with the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society, with whom the Girl Scouts have a long standing conservation easement partnership at Camp Myeerah. The land trust is working to secure funding and to develop a long-term plan that will preserve the integrity of the camp. The Board is postponing a decision regarding selling Camp Myeerah pending the land trust’s securement of funding and submission of their long-term plan. Questions and comments may be emailed to council@girlscoutsofwesternohio.org.

     

    September 25, 2012 Update
    During its September 25th meeting, Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s Board of Directors discussed the pending, unsolicited offer to purchase Camp Myeerah.  Feedback from volunteers and community members concerning this offer was shared with the Board, as well as a request from the Tri-Moraine Audubon Society. The Board unanimously voted to delay any further decision regarding Camp Myeerah for at least 3 months. This will allow the board time to consider all its options and make the best decision possible, while considering all opportunities. Questions may be emailed to council@girlscoutsofwesternohio.org.

     

    July 2012

    Throughout our history, camping has been a core value of Girl Scouts, with the movement providing girls unmatched camping experiences since Juliette Gordon Low created the first troop on March 12, 1912. Girl Scouts of Western Ohio holds true to this value and we want as many girls as possible to have the opportunity to build friendships and learn leadership skills in the great outdoors.

     

    To help guide usages and maintenance of our camp properties, the Board of Directors of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio undertook a comprehensive study of our camps in 2011, resulting in camps being categorized into three tiers. Tier 3 camps, which include Camp Ladigrau, Camp Greene and Camp Myeerah, are those camps recommended for “other options for ownership, management or use of the camp.”

     

    The Board has recently received an unsolicited offer to purchase Camp Myeerah. The Board is currently considering the proposal, just as it would for any of our Tier 3 camp properties. At this time, the Board is reviewing the proposal and asking for comments from girls and volunteers; the proposal is set to be voted on at the September 2012 Board meeting.

     

     

     

     

    Camp Myeerah FAQ – Updated with Questions from Girl Scout Members and the Community.pdf

     

     

     

     

    FAQ .pdf Girl Scouts of Western Ohio map -- membership distribution - 2010.pdf

    CAMP MYEERAH Presentation.pdf

    Property task group report - June 2011.pdf

    Property Information Sheet.pdf