Girl Scouts, Girl Scout History Project
Name tag from 1930s convention

The 56th Girl Scout National Convention is just six months away–July 18-20. Delegates, alternates, and visitors should use the time to prepare.

Starting with the 2017 convention in Columbus, Ohio, there have been two distinct components to the convention–business and pleasure. The National Council Session is one half of the convention, the other is one big Girl Scout party.

What Happens at a National Council Session?

The National Council is the primary governing body of Girl Scouts of the USA. Only the Council can amend the Girl Scout Constitution. With representatives elected from each council, it resembles a congress or parliament. The size of the council determines the number of delegates, but the total cannot exceed 1,500 delegates. There were 1,058 voting members at the 2017 session.

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Cover from GSUSA Stewardship Report 2022

Every three years the Girl Scouts’ National Council convenes to vote on proposals that affect the entire movement, such as dues, and elect members of the national board of directors. (For a detailed look on governance, hop over to the Unofficial Girl Scout Governance resource page.) National officers report on membership levels (the Stewardship Report), budgets, and announce new programs and other initiatives.

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Rare patch from virtual convention

Councils draft and circulate proposals to be placed on the agenda. In other words, councils believe the topics should be open to discussion by representatives of the membership.

Any proposal endorsed by at least 15 percent of councils (17) goes to the National Board of Directors, which selects what proposals are presented to the National Council.

(Almost) On the Agenda

Five of the ten proposals up for consideration this year are summarized below.

Which ones do you believe are worthy of debate?

Revise wording of the Girl Scout Promise and Law, changing “will try to” into simply “will.” Endorsed by 32 councils.

Clearly state the Movement’s anti-racism stance by adding words to the GS Constitution: “Girl Scouts advances diversity, pluralism, and anti-racism in our Movement and in the communities in which we live.”

Allow councils … to exercise their responsibility to make operational and financial decisions that are in the best interest of their members and their unique jurisdictions. Endorsed by 27 councils.

Allocate delegates according to council membership levels on September 30 of the year prior to the National Council Session. Endorsed by 21 councils.

Reserve three seats on the GSUSA Board of Directors for council executives. Endorsed by 33 councils.

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So it’s up to me, huh? Well, I’ll tell you, in all my years, I never seen, heard, nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn’t be talked about. Hell yes, I’m for debating anything! 

Stephen Hopkins, delegate from Rhode Island, on considering independence (from 1776)

Roy Poole as Stephen Hopkins

Once the GSUSA Board of Directors determines the final slate, the final agenda will be announced.

Stay Tuned

Upcoming posts will examine the final agenda, key voted from past conventions, and the fun happening between business sessions.

Note: Opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.

© 2023 Ann Robertson, writer, editor, Girl Scout historian

2 responses to “2023 Girl Scout Convention Preview #1”

  1. There’s a kicker to the 15% requirement – only the GSUSA board determines if constitutional amendments go in the NCS Agenda, regardless of the number of council endorsements. This is unfortunate but true.

  2. How can this be changed

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