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Girl Scouts Council marks centennial year with a new HQ

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Girl Scouts Council

Carol Boncelet, vice president of the capital campaign, and Anne T. Hogan, CEO of Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay, stand in front of the Northern Resource Center on Old Baltimore Pike. GSCB will move into the $6.5 million building at the end of the year.

By Christi Milligan

It’s been a banner year for Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay (GSCB) Council. The venerable nonprofit celebrates its centennial this year as a fixture on the Delmarva Peninsula. The Council in December will move from its longtime office space on the grounds of the University of Delaware into a new building on Old Baltimore Pike.

And earlier this month, GSCB Council was recognized by its peers as a Superstar in Business by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce.

“The recognition of receiving that award – that our peers recognize the impact and importance of Girl scouts on community – that was amazing,” said GSCB Executive Director Anne T. Hogan. “And our staff and volunteers got a pat on the back.”

The kudos are fitting for an organization that serves 11,600 girls and 4,300 volunteers, and more than 700 troops. Like other longtime nonprofits, the Girl Scouts has sought innovative ways to stay relevant while meeting the needs of its members.

“The picture of Girl Scouting is different today,” said Hogan, who touted how the cookie program has evolved into a digital space while staying true to it’s educational thrusts of goal setting; money management; people skills and business etiquette.

The Council’s programs include a strong STEM offering, from its digital media center at the Lynn W. Williams Science and Tech Lodge in Hockessin to its 25-year partnership with female DuPont engineers and scientists.

Nearly 40 percent of their membership is served through community outreach, said Hogan.

But the organization is still hoping to draw additional volunteers. Currently more than 300 girls are on a waiting list at GSCB, while the organization tries to engage additional volunteers, or drums up a creative alternative.

“Maybe we’ll have to hire troop leaders, or combine troop leaders and meet here at the offices,” said Hogan. “But the board has been phenomenal to look at new ways to bring girls and volunteers in.”

The move to the Northern Resource Center comes after the University of Delaware chose not to renew the ground lease of GSCB’s building on South College Avenue. The council looked at more than 84 properties in New Castle County before deciding to build a new facility on Old Baltimore Pike and launch a capital campaign.

The GSCB has raised $4.5 million of its $6.5 million goal. While its current headquarters offers more square footage, the new building, at 17,000 square feet, will be energy-efficient and include a reception area, multipurpose room, space for troop meetings and cubicles rather than stand-alone offices.

The Girl Scout Bay Shop will also be located in the new space.

Outside, the space will feature nature trails in its seven acres of wooded space.

“We can’t wait and we can’t get there soon enough,” said Hogan. “When we invest in girls we are investing in our future,” said Hogan. “Those young ladies will be the leaders of tomorrow.”

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