Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey is a member-driven organization with Girl Scouts, caregivers, and volunteers actively engaged in creating strategic direction that influences governance and operations.
GSHNJ Service Unit Delegates are the conduit between the members of our service units and our Board of Directors. Delegates have a responsibility to be knowledgeable about the community they represent, actively engage with their constituents, and liaise with GSHNJ staff and Board of Directors to influence the strategic direction of our council.
Service Unit Delegates report to Service Unit Managers and are voting members of the council. They serve a term of two years and may serve for no more than three consecutive terms. Service units hold elections or select their delegates in the fall, so they may begin their terms in January. Each service unit is entitled to two delegates, at least one of whom must be 18 years or older.
Leadership Forums are hosted prior to Annual Meeting to facilitate an open dialogue with council leadership and service unit volunteers. The Forums are SU Delegates’ opportunity to share community concerns, understand council-wide strategic decisions, engage with other service units, and interact with the Board of Directors and council executives.
SU Delegates are expected to attend at least one Forum per year. Advance registration is required so delegates have adequate time to review the agenda and prepare for discussions by reflecting with their communities.
SUs are encouraged to offer discussion topics at a Leadership Forums, do so by submitting a Discussion Topic Proposal during the appropriate window.
GSHNJ’s Bylaws require an annual meeting of the Corporation Membership, which is comprised of our Board of Directors, Board Development Committee, Service Unit Delegates, and National Delegates. Any member of Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey who is 14 years or older may attend as guests.
The Fourteenth Annual Meeting consisted of two virtual segments: on March 29, 2022 we heard Natasha Hemmings reflect on the challenges, successes, and innovations of GSHNJ in 2021 through her CEO Report. The formal business of the Annual Meeting occurred on April 6, 2022. Voting members may request a copy of the slide deck from firstname.lastname@example.org.
As voting members of the Corporation, the current Board of Directors, Board Development Committee, Service Unit Delegates, and National Council Delegates are expected to attend and actively participate in Annual Meeting as representatives of the interests of their communities. Voting members must register their virtual attendance in advance of the meetings to ensure that quorum will be met, as quorum is required to advance the agenda and perform the business of the meeting.
National Council Delegates represent GSHNJ at GSUSA’s triennial National Council Session adjacent to the national convention. They also serve as delegates-at-large at GSHNJ’s Annual Meeting, and those over 18 years old are voting members of the Corporation.
National Council Delegates serve a term of three years, are selected by GSHNJ’s Board Development Committee, and are elected at the Annual Meeting in the year prior to the triennial National Council Session.
The current delegation’s term expires in the spring of 2025.
Jamie Cridge, alternate
Liza Davis, alternate
Andrea Steffens, alternate
Adele Tanini, alternate
GSHNJ’s Board of Directors has proposed to the National Board that the Preamble of the Constitution of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America be amended to reflect the following updates to the Promise and Law:
The Girl Scout Promise
The Girl Scout Law
On my honor, I will try:
To Serve God and my country,
To Help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.
I will do my best to be
Honest and fair,
Friendly and helpful,
Considerate and caring,
Courageous and strong, and
Responsible for what I say and do,
And to will
Respect myself and others,
Use resources wisely,
Make the world a better place, and
Be a sister to every Girl Scout.
Underline = words to be added/modified; Bold = words to be deleted
We look forward to a determination of whether this proposal will be accepted for debate at the 2023 National Council Session. We expect to hear in October 2022.
Girl Scouts is an organization committed to providing a safe space for young people while encouraging sampling, civil discourse, social-emotional growth, and grit, all to produce sensitive, successful change makers of the next generation. Yet Generation Z, current teens and young adults, is the most cynical generation of our lifetime according to The New York Times. Growing up in social turmoil--unrepentant mass shootings in schools, racially motivated violence, alarming climate change, a bungled response to global pandemic, unprecedented uncertainty--Gen Z’s disaffection for legacy institutions is justified. As Sofia Chang was welcomed as National CEO, she noted that “as Girl Scouts [enters] its 110th year of service, the mission to develop and create opportunities for all girls is more critical than ever.” If Girl Scouts wishes to “grow, become more inclusive, and positively impact the lives of all girls and young women,” then the Movement must take bold steps to modernize—beginning with our core values: the Promise and Law.
The proposed change to the Girl Scout Promise and Law is inspired by Troop 20923 when they learned of the teachings of Dr. Cindy Wahler, a psychologist and expert in human behavior. Dr. Wahler posits that individuals who use more potent, actionable language are more successful. In her lecture, Dr. Wahler points out that American women tend to diminish the power of their own communication through word choices like “It’s just my opinion, but…” Further, women’s habitual resistance to self-promote leads them to interject phrases like “I hope to…” or “I would like to…” as opposed to using declarative, deliberate language like “I will…” Individuals who use impactful language to clearly articulate ideas and goals are more likely to receive an interview, be promoted, and find success. Troop 20923 instinctively understood this, noticing that even in their fifth-grade class differences in behavior—and resulting outcomes—were a reflection of divergent communication styles. If the line between childhood self-identity and future ambition is clear, then Girl Scouts plays a key role in teaching one million of tomorrow’s leaders to express themselves with authority and assurance.
Girl Scouts’ recent rebrand is already demonstrating impactful communication principles: “To move our story forward, we use a voice that’s encouraging, emotive, thoughtful, inclusive, and bold. As Girl Scouts, we speak and show up distinctly.” Our brand tenets include being emotive and substantive, speaking thoughtfully but unreservedly, with bold determination. Removing “try” from the Promise and Law is all that is necessary to transform them into potent, motivating calls to action, fully embracing and internalizing Girl Scouts’ aspirational brand. Removing “try” signals Girl Scouts’ willingness to examine traditions, remaining faithful to customs that serve our members and doing away with those that are no longer relevant to this generation.
“Trying” remains the key inspiration for Girl Scout programming at all levels: exploring, experimenting, failing, innovating, growing. The Girl Scout Law, however, describes foundational behaviors—a moral compass—instilled into every member who promises to live by them. They are universal values, evolving over time, meant to affirm every Girl Scout’s potential and ambition regardless of culture, religion, or family history. There is no space for “trying” when it comes to morality or core values.
In the increasingly competitive youth development market, there is no space for disregarding the impact of today’s social chaos on our youth. Over the four years that Troop 20923 has been advocating for this change, they’ve discovered an increasing appetite for participating in traditions while adapting them for modern self-expression. A national survey following national delegates’ discussion of this topic during the 2020 National Council Session suggests a high tolerance for this change, and an agreement on its timeliness within the context of our current political and social climate.
Gen Z is a nuanced, politically motivated group, seething with moral passion and ready to create cultural transformation. Girl Scouts can lead the charge. Girl Scouts will lead the charge.