Girl Scouts is cookies, camp, and crafts — and now, smartphones. The chief executive of Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, Patricia Parcellin, said the organization has to teach its scouts how to use smartphones safely and responsibly while it also embraces technologies. She spoke about how the organization is adapting to increasing digital maturity among its ranks.
Because it’s cookie time, maybe the first question should be, how are the online cookie sales going?
Last year, we offered ‘Digital Cookie’ for the first time, which allows girls to sell cookies from an online Web page. This year, with Digital Cookie 2.0, customers can order and pay for cookies online and through a mobile app. Girls can set their cookie goals, manage orders and inventory, learn Internet safety skills, and earn a Cookie Business badge. Customers can go onto a cookie locator, type in their ZIP code, and find out where to buy cookies.
What’s the Girl Scout cellphone policy?
It’s up to every individual troop leader to set the policy for their meetings. But I can tell you that if a girl is texting or on her phone and is not fully engaged in the discussion, this is definitely not a good thing. There’s a time and place for everything. At our camp, there’s a definite no cellphone policy — they’re busy learning how to build a fire or doing high rope challenges.
What Girl Scout photos are on your phone?
I have a designated iPhone for work only, and there are so many scout-related photos on it. For example, last weekend I was a judge in Newton for a girl’s car derby — the girls built and decorated the cars, then raced them. I took photos, and then with their permission, posted them online.
The Girl Scouts rolled out a new website in December. What other changes are in store?
Girl Scouts USA has invested tens of millions of dollars in technology and is rolling out the changes council by council. It used to be the volunteer or scout sign-up process was paper and pencil or by laptop at a meeting.
Now in April, for the first time, registering can be done through phones or online. In the fall, volunteers will be able to access a tool kit of information, a planning and curriculum tool. All these changes will allow us to work quicker and more efficiently. We want to focus on the work that is most important: Building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.