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Girl Scouts of the South Jersey Pines

Girl Scouts of the South Jersey Pines
Girl Scouts of the South Jersey Pines is the premier organization serving over 13,000 girls in southern New Jersey. They are dedicated to encouraging all girls to reach their fullest potential in keeping with the values and ideals of the Girl Scout Promise and Law.

The Girl Scouts of the South Jersey Pines was established in September 1996. The council was formed when the former Holly Shores Girl Scout Council and the former Burlington County Girl Scout Council voted to become one council which would include all Girl Scouts troops in Atlantic, Burlington, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties. The purpose of coming together was to improve services to girls and volunteers throughout the area and to allocate resources so Girl Scouting could be more accessible for more girls. The vision for the council is to empower girls and prepare them for the future through a wide array of programs and services.

The vote which established Girl Scouts of the South Jersey Pines capped a two-year period which began with a strategic planning process involving community members, volunteers, Girl Scouts and staff. The councils termed the process “Blending Boundaries” to signify a mutual coming together. The new council was the result of thousands of hours of task group planning by hundreds of volunteers in southern New Jersey.

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The model for the new council called for out-based satellite offices -- accessible to all members within a 45-minute drive -- and increased program offerings for girls. A “hub” office was designated at the former Newfield office of the Holly Shores council, and a commitment to state-of-the-art technology was made. Within a year of the “Blending,” satellite offices were established to meet the objective of the model, and an innovative staffing pattern was implemented to meet the needs of each satellite area. Jane E. Crosby was selected as the Executive Director/CEO of the new council.

In evaluating the methods of service delivery since then, the board and management determined that more cost effective, customer friendly systems were needed. Coupled with the fact that rents for the satellite offices continued to escalate, it was decided to phase them out and replace them with 2 Mobile Resource Centers. In 2004, their first Mobile Resource Center hit the road. This “Office on Wheels” travels throughout South Jersey, bringing Girl Scout services directly into our communities. A second one was added in the spring of 2005. Since its inception, Girl Scouts of the South Jersey Pines has been awarded three charters from Girl Scouts of the USA. Their latest charter was awarded in 2004.

Over 13,000 girls between the ages of five and seventeen are involved with the Girl Scouts of the South Jersey Pines. Nearly 5,000 adult volunteers are serving as troop leaders, committee members and in administrative positions. The levels of Girl Scouting include the following: Kindergarten – Daisies, Grades 1-3 – Brownies, Grades 4-6 – Juniors, and Grades 7-12 - Cadettes, Seniors, STUDIO 2Bsm.

Fun, exciting, and challenging recreational and educational activities include: Career Exploration - Programs such as “Walk-A-Day-In-My-Shoes” offer an insight into a future career by shadowing a professional for a day. Introduction to the Arts -Theater programs provide a unique look at backstage operations. “Girl Scout College of the Arts” brings art to life. Involvement in Sports and Fitness – ‘GirlSports’ encompasses not only our Girls Golf Club and Soccer Series, but many other opportunities as well. Acquisition of Life Skills and Values –“S'More Money” shows girls how to make their money grow and work for them. Program Aide training strengthens individuals' leadership skills. Acceptance of Diversity - Girls experience life with various disabilities through “Include Me Too!” Outdoor Education and Conservation – “Eco-Exploration" and "Rocks Rock” combine life cycles, recycling, Earth Day and more. Introduction to Community Service - Troops collect new baby items, package them in attractive bundles and deliver them to various special service agencies in their neighborhood as ‘Baby Bundles’. Prevention and Outreach Services - Through ‘Girl Scouts in the School Day’ many girls, most from low-income families, are able to participate in Girl Scouts. Destinations - Girls travel around the country experiencing different activities, such as dog sledding, scuba diving, singing and more. International friendships are also established through the “Celebration” program.

Year round Outdoor Education Centers are open to Community Organizations, Schools and Private Groups. The Girl Scouts of the South Jersey Pines also participate in exciting camps. Camp Kettle Run - 287 acres in the Pinelands of Burlington County, boasting a beautiful 11 - acre lake, 3 heated buildings, modern toilet and shower facilities and outdoor living units. The camp is accredited by the American Camping Association. Camp Sacajawea - Handicapped - accessible site on 475 acres in Gloucester County, complete with a lake for canoeing, Olympic-sized swimming pool, two lodges, modern toilet and shower facilities, dining hall and outdoor living units. The American Camping Association accredits site and Program. Sheppard's Mill - 400 forested acres in Cumberland County, highlighted by a scenic cedar lake, five platform tents sites and a multipurpose lodge.

GSSJP welcomes Brilliant Moves Music and Dance Workshops. Come dance with the Girl Scouts! This is an eight week dance program for girls ages 6-17. Earn your dance patch/Celebrate and Perform. Cost is $60 for non-Girl Scout members and $50 for Girl Scout members. For more info, download the flyer on their website, or contact Brilliant Moves at (609) 645-2656 or email brilliantmovesnj@comcast.net.

GSSJP is a non-profit, 501(c) (3) organization. Their main support comes from program fees, foundation grants, cookie and nut sale proceeds, the United Way and the generosity of family and community members. It costs about $250 per girl to provide programs, recruit girls and adults, and maintain and upgrade the property and equipment. They need the support of their members and friends to help them be a financially sound organization that can grow to meet the needs of every girl, everywhere in South Jersey. Individuals, businesses, private foundations, and civic and community organizations can all make that dream a reality.

Your contributions help provide quality programs and services including camping, training for leaders and publications to spread the word about Girl Scouting to girls and their families. It also goes towards financial assistance for girls whose families cannot afford their Girl Scout experience. Please consider making a gift to help them bring the wonderful benefits of Girl Scouting to any girl or family who wants it. You can donate online by clicking the Commit to a Girl button on the website, or learn more about ways you can contribute by visiting the Financial Contributions page online.

Consider donating your time by becoming a volunteer. First, complete the Volunteer Application or call (856) 697-3900 to request an application form. Then, you will have an interview with one of the Administrative Volunteers or Membership Staff.

There is something of interest for every girl, every where. All girls between the ages of 5 and 17 are welcome to join the Girl Scout movement. Membership is granted to any girl or adult who has made the Girl Scout Promise and accepts the Girl Scout Law and has paid the annual membership dues of $10. Uniforms are encouraged but are not required for membership. For more information, please call 1-800-582-7692.

Girl Scouts of the South Jersey Pines is located on 2944 Victoria Avenue in Newfield, NJ 08344. For more information call (856) 697-3900 or (800) 582-7692. Reach them by fax at (856) 697-2119. If you have general questions send an email to girlscouts@gssjp.org. Their office hours are as follows: Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, from 9am - 4:30pm; Wed from 9am - 7pm. For additional information about upcoming events and how you can get involved visit them online at www.gssjp.org.

For more on local Organizations, visit our South Jersey Organizations page.


Author: Margo Harvey

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