NEW YORK (AP) — The Girl Scouts of the USA faces an array of problems at present. Here's a summary of major issues, and what the organization had to say about them in a statement to The Associated Press:
— A decline in youth membership, which has dropped by more than 20 percent in 10 years.
"We have waiting lists of girls around the country who want to be Girl Scouts. The issue is that we simply do not have enough adult volunteers... In addition, girls have many more options in terms of activities than they once did. And some of the communities in which the girl population is growing do not have family or historical ties to Girl Scouting."
— A national pension plan with a deficit of $347 million.
"It's a difficult time for all pension plans and we are seeking legislative relief to ease the burden."
— Reports of tension at the national office:
"There is no question change is difficult and reflected in the tension you mention. Yet we believe the future is bright. We are changing and building toward that future."
— Discontent among some grass-roots members over plans by local councils to sell off old summer camps.
"A council's decision to ... sell a camp is not made lightly, and it is done with input from community members... We understand it can be emotional for some members in terms of loss of a camp, but we want to assure them that we are focused on enabling girls to have similar experiences as they did through other camp venues and programs."
— Concerns that the Girl Scouts have gone too far in de-emphasizing traditional outdoor activities in favor of new programs.
"Camping is an important part of Girl Scouting and always will be, but there are many more ways for girls to be involved in Girl Scouting today... The girls we've spoken to love the new activities, and Girl Scouting remains every bit as fun as it has always been."