A Delegate's Story
Times change. People's habits and concerns change. So she was not entirely surprised to hear at her first Delegate Forum that Girl Scouts of Smile County was proposing a smoking ban on grounds of Camp Happiness. The proposal came from the Board of Directors as part of a move to make Girl Scouts of Smile County more inline with their Healthy Living movement. However, before passing the proposal, the Board wanted the input of the Council Members. After a good deal of questions and discussions, the Delegate Communications Committee decided to start a task force to research the suggestions by talking to other camp programs and holding a few focus groups.
Two months later, Our Delegate found herself at her Association Meeting announcing the proposal to her fellow leaders and Service Team Members. She was almost overwhelmed at the conflicting responses she got from the group. She got a standing ovation from some of the members, while others swore that if they banned smoking at Camp Happiness, they would never bring their girls camping again. Our Delegate could understand. Even though she stopped smoking a few years ago, she could still recall lots of fond memories of sitting with co-leaders and friends in the night air, enjoying a cigarette after a long day of camping. She wasn't sure how she felt about it. Yes, smoking was bad for your health and a bad example for the girls. But, what good would it do, if leaders were no longer comfortable taking the girls to Camp Happiness?
Over the next few weeks, she found herself talking often about the proposal. Some people called her with questions, others just wanted to be heard. She took notes on the opinions that were voiced and reminded herself of the saying "vote informed, not instructed." Our Delegate recognized that no one could tell her how to vote, she had to listen to everyone from her Association, then attend the meeting and hear what the other delegates and council members have to say. After that, she will vote for what she feels is best for the entire Council.
May arrived, and along with it, the Annual Council Meeting. At first it looked like there would not be a quorum because there were not enough delegates present, but finally enough arrived to conduct business. The Board of Directors had decided to put the question to the delegates and there were delegates who presented the case for both sides of the question. The vote was close, but Our Delegate was confident that she voted in the best interest of the Council. Although the Board of Directors decided not to completely ban smoking at Camp Happiness, a compromise was reached and policy was changed to reflect the concern. When it was over, she marveled at how involved she felt in the process and how much the members' opinions mattered. Her time spent as a delegate had made a difference.
> About Governance
> Functions of Governance
> The Democratic Process
> The Process Continues
> Key Players
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> Policy Influencing
> A Delegate's Story
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