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Volunteer shortage causes budget problem for Girl Scouts

6:04 PM, Jul 30, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - The state organization of Girl Scouts in Colorado is responding to a budget crisis, making more than $3 million in cuts this year.

"We have cut about a third of our staff statewide," said Stephanie Foote, CEO of the state organization.

You can blame the problem slumping cookie sales, but that doesn't tell the whole story. To get at the problem, you have understand why cookie sales are down.

It's not that the girls are doing a bad job of selling; it's that there are fewer Girl Scouts in the program to go out and raise money.

"We have girls signed up and waiting to be in troops, but we need more volunteers to help us," Foote said.

Without adult volunteers to supervise, there can't be Scout troops. Foote says parents are finding it increasingly difficult to take the time to help run a Girl Scout troop.

"A lot more people are working and they just don't have as much time as they used to," said Foote.

It's part of the reason the group has seen the number of Girl Scouts in Colorado dwindle from 34,000 a decade ago to 27,000 today.

The organization is adapting to make ends meet. This will be the last summer that paid staffers will be hired to run day camps. Starting next year, they'll all be run by volunteers.

The Girl Scouts are also trying to make it easier for people to volunteer, providing guidance and training to start new troops.

"I'm a single mom with four kids and I find time," said Alli Oswandel of Fort Collins.

It takes a couple hours of otherwise free time each week, but it's an investment she's seen pay off.

"My oldest daughter is very shy and she now thinks she wants to be maybe a teacher," Oswandel said. "She's talking about being a biologist and I don't think she would have had that had she not done some of the things she's done with Girl Scouts."

To keep stories like that coming, the Scouts say they just need a little more help from parents.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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