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Latina CEO Leads Girl Scouts Down A New Path

Aired 6/15/12 on KPBS News.

As Girl Scouts of the USA celebrates its one hundredth anniversary, the organization is heading down what it hopes will be a new, more inclusive path. Leading the way is the Girl Scout’s first ever Latina CEO.

Anna Maria Chávez, an Arizona native, is the first Latina to serve as CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA.
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Above: Anna Maria Chávez, an Arizona native, is the first Latina to serve as CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA.

Anna Maria Chávez took over as the country’s chief Girl Scout last November. She's the first Latina to head the 3.2 million member organization.

Chávez grew up in the tiny town of Eloy, Ariz., between Phoenix and Tucson. And, of course, she was in a troop.

“I went away for the first time to go camping without my family. That was a huge thing," she recalled during a recent visit to San Diego. "And since that point it really charged me up to think about boundaries outside of Eloy.”

Chávez went to law school and later worked in the administration of former Arizona governor, Janet Napolitano, now U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.

Chávez said Girl Scouts of the USA is making a major effort to stay relevant to an increasingly diverse population of girls and their parents. They can still go camping, if they want, but the options for activities and learning have greatly diversified as girls have changed, she said.

“You know, nowadays girls are into technology. They’re figuring out how to be global citizens. They’re wondering how can they start their business at 10 years old,” she said.

Faced with lagging membership, the organization has also made a major effort to recruit more Latina girls and get their parents to volunteer.

Enrollment of Latinas has increased by more than 50 percent over the past decade. They now make up 12 percent of all Girl Scouts.

The goal, Chávez said, goes well beyond earning badges and learning the finer points of sidewalk bake sales.

“People when they hear 'Girl Scouts' the name, they smile, and sometimes think crafts, camping and cookies. But really it is the premiere leadership organization for girls in this country, if not this world,” she said.

The organization recently launched a campaign, dubbed "To Get Her There," to encourage community leaders, schools and governments to promote leadership among girls. Chávez said surveys have shown that only a small percentage of girls are interested in occupying leadership rolls.

Comments

Avatar for user 'DocKimble'

DocKimble | June 18, 2012 at 6 a.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

It's a path we've gone down before, and it's not working. The Girl Scouts once was wholesome and family-oriented; now it is unwholesome and oriented toward a globalist agenda. Choosing Chavez based on her race is an obvious choice for those in GSUSA leadership; she is attractive to those non-Anglo girls, who are hoped, by the leadership of GSUSA, to be the next generation of cookie-sellers to provide funds to promote globalist, anti-family agendas, and who will replace the Anglo girls who are leaving GSUSA in droves for family-oriented Scouting organizations.

It is impossible that any group or government will ever have perfect leadership; the best that can be done is to provide perfect ideals to which the group or government aspires. We've seen how Mr Obama has trashed American ideals, how he has trashed our Constitution. Chavez is trashing Girl Scout ideals. It is the worst kind of racism to use someone's race to attract followers to your cause or government for the purposes of destroying the high ideals of that group or government.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 18, 2012 at 11:26 a.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

With the knowledge that the Girl Scouts have hired a new CEO based on race and that the goal is to target a single race for membership, I will never buy girl scout cookies again.

Discrimination and racial preference are not values we should teach young girls.

I won't miss those fat-laden calorie bombs anyway. Bad for your health and now your sense of morality, too.

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