Girl Scout councils to consolidate

2008-09-10T00:00:00Z Girl Scout councils to consolidateBy KYLE ODEGARD
Gazette-Times reporter
Corvallis Gazette Times
September 10, 2008 12:00 am  • 

Saturday event celebrates Santiam Council

As of Oct. 1, the Girl Scouts of the Santiam Council will be no more.

The Girls Scouts of the USA are undertaking a consolidation effort, and the local council is being absorbed into a new group that will cover nearly all of Oregon and parts of southwest Washington.

Scouts and volunteers from the mid-Willamette Valley won't immediately notice much of a difference, however, and Camp Whispering Winds in Kings Valley should get more statewide attention, said Sarah Johnson, director of program services for the Girl Scouts of the Santiam Council.

"This is going to be a great opportunity for Camp Whispering Winds," she said. "I think we'll get more girls."

On Saturday, at the Linn County Fairgrounds in Albany, the Girl Scouts of Santiam Council will hold a celebration of its 61 years and the upcoming consolidation.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will include activities and displays of historical uniforms, handbooks, scrapbooks, and historical pictures.

Attendees also will be able to create a tile for an art project that will be used to decorate the dining hall at Camp Whispering Winds. Last year, more than 350 girls stayed at the camp.

This isn't the first merger for the Girl Scouts of Santiam Council, which is headquartered in Salem. The council was created in 1947, when several local troops joined forces.

The Girl Scouts of Santiam Council serves Benton, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Polk and Yamhill counties, and includes about 3,000 girls and more than 1,100 adult members.

Properties include program centers in Albany and Lebanon, which will continue to operate.

The Santiam Council and three other Oregon councils, as well as parts of other councils, will combine to create the new Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington Council.

Nationwide, the plan is for about 310 councils to combine and form about 110 new councils by the end of 2009.

"The new councils will have higher capacity to effectively use their resources, gain increased community support and offer an expanded array of program activities for girls," Stephanie Smetana, executive director of Girl Scouts of the Santiam Council, said in a news release.

Johnson said staff members will be able to specialize, as well.

The consolidation also will create business efficiencies, though Smetana said that wasn't the main goal.

"The economy of scale itself is going to be financially advantageous to the new council," Smetana said. No Oregon jobs are planned to be cut, and some may be added in the future.

Kyle Odegard can be contacted at kyle.odegard@lee.net or 758-9523.

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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