The Girl Scouts have set a goal of increasing membership by 1 million in the next five years, said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO for Girl Scouts of the USA. Hispanic membership, which has risen 55 percent in the past decade, would be a key driver of that growth.
“To be here today to talk about where we are now as a movement brings me almost to tears, because for 100 years, we have taken our mission to heart,” Chávez told about 300 people gathered at SeaWorld for a Hispanic community breakfast.
Before her speech, Chávez chatted with a group of scouts who served as color guard during the morning event. Chávez gave each girl her personal patch, which bears her name and nickname, “Eagle 1.” The girls said they couldn’t wait to add them to their uniforms.
“She said that only the girls who meet her get the patch,” said Melanie Kellis, 10, of Troop 5260.
Just a week ago, Chávez was in Washington, D.C., where thousands gathered on the National Mall to celebrate the Girl Scouts centennial.
She also met with President Barack Obama in the White House. Chávez pointed out to him that several Cabinet members and 70 percent of the women in Congress had been Girl Scouts. She also told him that the U.S. currently has 59 million Girl Scouts alumni, a number that seemed to surprise him.
“Absolutely, Mr. President. Not only that, they vote,” Chávez remembered saying to Obama.