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Issue Date: January 2012


Most Interesting People 2012: Daisy Alford-Smith

Daisy Alford-Smith

CEO of Girl Scouts of North east Ohio, 66

Comments:
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 6:32:57 PM by Anonymous
Obviously the folks voting Alford-Smith have never been involved in scouting. There is no focus on camping as stated above since GSNEO plans to accomodate 40,000 people with 3 camps. Part of scouting IS camp, where girls learn to tie knots, cook over a fire, and be independant when modern amenities aren't available. Alford-Smith has ignored membership of a "girl-led organization" and moved forward with her plans and has not exactly told the truth to the media. As part of membership and a troop leader, (who will not put my name out because of the cookie controversy and the minor children in my troop) I am seriously disappointed in this article.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 7:41:53 PM by Anonymous
This woman shouldn't be on any top ten list. Sorry. sHE HAS MERGED 5 COUNCILS INTO 1 HUGE COUNCIL AND SELLING CAMPS MAKING THE NORTHEAST OHIO GIRL SCOUTS GO DOWN 2 3 CAMPS THIS IS A HUGE MISTAKE SORRY
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 8:53:55 PM by Anonymous
Interesting? Yes, it is interesting how she can close down 4 of our 7 remaining camps against the majority of actual Girl Scouts. It is interesting how her and her board won't listen to any proposals actual Girl Scouts come up with to try to save our camps. Interesting how many lifetime members have quit working for her since she took over. Interesting how she and her board have their own ajenda when it comes to creating "Premire Camps" that no one wants. Premire camps where they will destroy forestry to build big beautiful buildings filled with electronics, electronics that the girls get all the time at home and school. Interesting how she can close our camps and build a half empty multi million dollar building. Ya, I consider her interesting...
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 9:13:29 PM by Anonymous
The delegates voted to stop the sale of camps, but they won't. I guess DAS thinks her resume is more important than what the membership wants.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012 6:08:45 PM by wildabeast
Figures she never camped. In charge of a camping based organization and never camped. Good by girl scouts.
Thursday, January 12, 2012 7:35:02 AM by Angela Reese
As someone who was an active girl scout for decades, I'm insulted by the comment that "GSNEO now offers programming in leadership, financial literacy, entrepreneurship and more." Now offers? As if we never included any of that until recently? This is the kind of thinking that has led to Alford-Smith and the current council trying to eliminate campground and replace them with schoolrooms. We learned & taught plenty about leadership (by taking turns as patrol leaders and helping the troop leaders), financial literacy (through taking responsibility for planning budgets for outings & campouts, and sticking to them), and entrepreneurship (through not just cookie sales, but planning and participating in additional fundraisers such as cookbooks). If Daisy Alford-Smith has decided that camping is no fun and that girl scouts don't need campground any more, she needs to either a) listen to the thousands of girl that she works for who are telling her that YES they want to camp, or b) work for a different organization.
Sorry, but I think a much better choice for Interesting People of 2012 would be any of the girls and young ladies - some as young as 7 or 8 - who are standing up for the Girl Scouts that they believe in, and who are refusing to allow their council to simply ignore the girls it supposedly works for.
Thursday, January 12, 2012 10:49:00 AM by Anonymous
Daisy is indeed interesting. What is interesting is how she has taken an organization who prides itself on the principles of our founder, Juliette Low, and has warped, and is trying to continue to warp the very essence of Girl 'Scouting" (which means to explore) into girls who turn their noses to camping-she admits herself how much she disliked camping-and has turned our beautiful GSNEO into a financial money making machine. We peddle product half of the year. Girl Scouts should be protecting our environment and our camps, not proud that we downsized them from 14 to 3 (that is truly SHAMEFUL) and are selling them to land developers. We should be teaching others to value resources. Girl Scouts has always taught financial literacy-we were responsible for bringing weekly dues, and budgeting for every craft, project and camping trip. We shopped for our food and supplies, and we fundraised by making crafts and food at big events like World Thinking Day.

I think that while Daisy is an "interesting person", you could have shone a spotlight on someone who VOLUNTEERS their time because they believe in something. Daisy works for a corporation. Her focus isn't on what we Scouts are passionate about it's on making money. There are Service Unit Directors, Camp Directors, and Friend of Crowell-Hilaka who give 110% of their time purely for the girls. They want nothing back, and get no money or notoriety. They do it because they just care-they care about the girls, about the land, the wildlife and land. They care about causes. True Girl Scouts are empowered to stand up for what they believe in and volunteer to help at all times. That is most impressive, especially in today's society.

I wish you had ed a more worthy recipient, but you've definitely published at a time where you'll be getting quite a bit of attention. The media has already spotlighted how Girl Scouts are unhappy and boycotting our cookie sales. It will prove very interesting, you got that part right.
Friday, January 13, 2012 6:31:12 PM by Anonymous
DAS needs to resign. THERE IS NO HONOR IN WHAT SHE IS DOING.
I wonder what the total revenue is that has been taken in since the
merger from land sales, gas and oil leases, timber sales,etc....just
what was made off the properties VS what that new office costs plus
salary/staff increases.
Also factor in the increase in board memebers and their VOTE,
WHAT DO YOU GET?
You get a group that found a situation ripe for the picking, where
they MAY have ( hypothetically), premeditatedly created a voting
block, liquidated your assets to pay for their new office ( that the
girls can't even use), created jobs for their friends, hoped to create
a legacy for themselves, and then leave after the Anniversary with a
feather in their cap and a fatter resume' , and a divided, plundered
organization. WHILE OUR GIRLS PAY FOR IT!!
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 7:38:33 AM by Anonymous
DAS was not the person who decided to merge 18 counties into one council, she is not the one who decided to sell camps. Those were decisions that came down from GSUSA just before DAS was ed for the CEO position.
Technology now encompasses all aspects of life but some girls do not go to schools where they can experience that. Girl Scouts offers opportunities for all girls from everywhere to experience all that they may need to be courteous and courageous a place where they can learn the skills needed to develop their full character potential. Camping and cookies are still here!
The 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts affords the movement the opportunity to evolve into one that will capture the attention of a savier, tech saturated, speedier generation. While we may not all agree that DAS is herself one of the most interesting people, we should applaud her ability to get our organization positive press during a time when it will maximize the girls' ability to sell cookies!
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 9:52:25 AM by Anonymous
Daisy Alford-Smith, INTERESTING?? GOOD INTERESTING OR BAD INTERESTING ???? INTERESTING in that she is C.E.O. of Northeast Ohio Girl Scouts, 40,000 girls. INTERESTING that she does not like camping, but is C.E.O. of this organization, camping is an essential part of Girl Scouts. INTERESTING that she intends to take the camps in Northeast Ohio down to 3 camps, 40,000 girls 3 camps. how about that ? INTERESTING that she is turning her back on the kids wishes, because she doesnt like to camp she does not understand. She most likely is comfortable in her indoor situations, and would like the new generation of girl scouts to like and dislike what she likes and dislikes. If she has children were they in scouts....i am betting not!! INTERESTING GOOD OR INTERESTING BAD? You be the judge of that one.. CLEVELAND MAGAZINE, perhaps you should look into this further, she is destroying the very core of girl scouting..there is a story here, dig deeper, you will find it !! I think the REAL STORY would be of interest to all readers .
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 7:16:03 PM by Anonymous
I was a Girl Scout in my youth, and now a new Girl Scout leader. I am so frustrated by the fact that Daisy Alford-Smith was never a Girl Scout herself and dislikes camping. Not a good role model for the CEO of GSNEO.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 9:12:57 PM by Anonymous
Interesting - arousing curiosity- Yes, I am very curious who the land that GS families raised money to purchase will go to while DAS is in charge. Curious as to who will get the mineral rights, the use of the water of both lovely lakes. It is of great interest to the members who voted to halt the sales of the remaining camps and the Board of Directors and DAS have turned a deaf ear to the cry of the girls they are supposed to represent. There is not a cookie boycott- There is a protest. Search for the truth and you will find it very INTERESTING.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012 9:01:58 AM by Anonymous
I understand being concerned about EVERY girl in Northeast Ohio, but of the 40,000 active members, we need to remain focused on what these girls need. Yes, many children unfotunately do not have everything in the classroom that other children do. But that is an entirely different cause. Just because girls in, let's say-Cleveland City Schools-do not have science labs, does not mean we (Girl Scouts) should veer off course and change our traditions. GSNEO wants to build "premier centers" without ever even having tried having a small computer lab. A better idea would be to 1. Try setting up a computer lab at that huge Macedonia office and see if troops would use it, or 2. work in conjunction with the Metroparks to see if troops could work with educated naturalists at these big nature centers all over Cleveland. It makes much more sense than just diving into something headfirst without checking out everything thoroughly. "Premier centers" is just an excuse they are feeding us-the membership. It just doesn't make sense.

If Council would stop worrying soooo much about Fall Sales and Cookie Sales and take the time to truly recruit dedicated leaders (I'm not saying we aren't, but the way they beg moms to take on troops is ridiculous) and TRAIN them instead of worrying about SALES-we could easily solve the crisis we have-crisis meaning the girls in the cities who do not have what other grls have at school. Use Resources Wisely is part of our GS Law, and if we all put our heads together, there is an awful lot that could be done to "develop girls' full character potential"-and this could be done without sacrificing land that was put into the hands of Girl Scouts because it was thought that Girl Scouts was an organization that respected nature and wildlife and would protect these lands.

Daisy herself said for this article that she did not like camping-all the more reason she should realize how important it is to provide our young women POSITIVE outdoor camping experiences-absolutely there are many girls that probably cringe at the word camping-but introduced properly, camping can be a lifelong activity that provides not only enjoyment, but endless learning opportunities and growth. I believe the outdoors is something more important than technology that is missing from so many young children's lives.

It would be interesting if Cleveland Magazine would do an in-depth, unbiased story on Girl Scouting in Northeast Ohio-think about it.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012 9:03:00 AM by Anonymous
I understand being concerned about EVERY girl in Northeast Ohio, but of the 40,000 active members, we need to remain focused on what these girls need. Yes, many children unfotunately do not have everything in the classroom that other children do. But that is an entirely different cause. Just because girls in, let's say-Cleveland City Schools-do not have science labs, does not mean we (Girl Scouts) should veer off course and change our traditions. GSNEO wants to build "premier centers" without ever even having tried having a small computer lab. A better idea would be to 1. Try setting up a computer lab at that huge Macedonia office and see if troops would use it, or 2. work in conjunction with the Metroparks to see if troops could work with educated naturalists at these big nature centers all over Cleveland. It makes much more sense than just diving into something headfirst without checking out everything thoroughly. "Premier centers" is just an excuse they are feeding us-the membership. It just doesn't make sense.

If Council would stop worrying soooo much about Fall Sales and Cookie Sales and take the time to truly recruit dedicated leaders (I'm not saying we aren't, but the way they beg moms to take on troops is ridiculous) and TRAIN them instead of worrying about SALES-we could easily solve the crisis we have-crisis meaning the girls in the cities who do not have what other grls have at school. Use Resources Wisely is part of our GS Law, and if we all put our heads together, there is an awful lot that could be done to "develop girls' full character potential"-and this could be done without sacrificing land that was put into the hands of Girl Scouts because it was thought that Girl Scouts was an organization that respected nature and wildlife and would protect these lands.

Daisy herself said for this article that she did not like camping-all the more reason she should realize how important it is to provide our young women POSITIVE outdoor camping experiences-absolutely there are many girls that probably cringe at the word camping-but introduced properly, camping can be a lifelong activity that provides not only enjoyment, but endless learning opportunities and growth. I believe the outdoors is something more important than technology that is missing from so many young children's lives.

It would be interesting if Cleveland Magazine would do an in-depth, unbiased story on Girl Scouting in Northeast Ohio-think about it.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012 10:17:20 AM by Corey Ann
Positive press during cookie sales? Is it all about the cookie sale? I remember scouting being about adventure and independence through living in the out of doors. Cookies was just a fundraiser to help you get there. It really seems like priorities have changed. I've been an adult Girl Scout for just under ten years. Can you really tell me girls have changed that much in less than a decade. Certainly not the girls I work with every weekend.

I think the best positive press would to acknowledge the delegate vote to re-evaluate the property decision. The membership already voted on this. 60% of the General Assembly said to re-evaluate. That's with 25% being the Board, so really 80% of the membership is against the sale of the camps.

My guess is anonymous 1/17/2012 7:38:33AM is not familiar with GSNEO as GSUSA did not suggest to sell the properties. Glenn Chin's suggested highlighting each camp's specialities, not to sell properties. GSNEO Board of Directors is going rouge. They have literally high jacked the program from the majority.

Yes, she's in a tough spot. No one likes the management during a merger, but they appreciate the end product when there is a more streamlined operation for the end user. Unfortunately, since Daisy was brought in as CEO, she's doubled the staff and drastically reduced the amenities for the membership. What kind of successful merger doubles the overhead while cutting the amenities from 14 camps to 3 camps?!
Wednesday, January 18, 2012 11:53:11 AM by Anonymous
to this poster- Tuesday, January 17, 2012 7:38:33 AM by Anonymous:

Clearly you are speaking for GSNEO. Good for you! Now, when do you speak for the girls of GSNEO? Oh tough question, right? That's because Ms Interesting Daisy Alford Smith has not given staff license to speak for the girl component of GIRL Scouting...How do I know this? Simple. If DAS cared one whit for the girls (and behind them the leaders, volunteers, Service Unit Directors, delegates) then she would actually be listening, and HEARING, all the rhetoric surrounding the closure of 4/7 GSNEO camps. So what if the decision, such that it was, predates her tenure? She knew upon accepting this position that is the path national set forth. She completely had it within her power to CHANGE that path- nay, the delegates spoke loudly about the desire to change that path, and DAS along with the board, chose to counter that delegate vote.

Is DAS interesting? Only if you buy the arguments set forth about her life. Do *I* find her interesting? No, and I've never met the woman. What I DO know is that camping, rustic or not, is crucial to girl development. We have premier camps already. Girls need to be taught how to use them they need to be taught how to respect their environment they need to be taught to play in them they need to be taught to love them- just like generations of girls have already done. Boo Hoo... some girls don't have access to technology at school. They do have access to the SAME technology- for free- at the local public library. Are they using that resource? How about teaching our girls to use resources wisely? To find those resources within their realm? Girls sit in class for up to 7 hours daily, 5 days a week. The absolute last thing they need on the weekend, or praise god if it happens, on a full week "camping experience", is MORE classroom.

When I was a leader, and could only have meetings in the evening, the FIRST thing we did was run around- jump-play kick ball- jump rope. Something. Anything to get the willy's out of the girls. They didn't need more sit time than they had already obtained. Sure, our meetings looked chaotic, but in the end, after running that troop for 9 years, I had a number of girls bridge to adults. I also had that same number become Gold Award. How? By understanding and listening to my girls. I talked to them. *I* was their leader/teacher/mentor/confidant/financial advisor/technical consultant. My girls are all deep into their adulthood now, and they are still... my girls. I love them dearly.

Can DAS say that about the girls she supposedly is serving by being such an "interesting person"?
Thursday, January 19, 2012 10:23:15 AM by Anonymous
How can people judge so harshly what they don't really know? Obviously these people don't know that DAS is a mother and grandmother, rose beyond her peers to earn a PhD, and uses her personal and professional connections to better GSNEO. Why do adult women feel the need to tear down other women who are strong, business focused, educated, and driven?
She was ed by the Board to play hardball during the merger of 5 councils, to negotiate with the Macedonia City Council to move the GSNEO office to a central location, and to play nice with the press during an extremely difficult transition that was dictated by the corporate office in New York. DAS has done those duties well.
So she doesn't camp, DAS has always been open about that-again she isn't the one making the decision to close properties-that was dictated by National.
So many are quick to judge harshly and complain but where are they when it's time to volunteer for delegate positions? Nowhere to be found! Delegate elections happen in February and the application deadline is January 23. Council staff is campaigning to get members to step up. Again, where are the voices when it matters? If you can't be part of the solution, then back off the judgement!
Thursday, January 19, 2012 6:45:21 PM by Anonymous
My mom showed me this and I wanted to comment. My troop of over 20 girls have been trying to schedule a camping trip but closing the one camp that would hold our troop is almost impossible. DAS is not someone I look up to, and she should be. I am embarrassed to say I am a GS. Thanks.
Thursday, January 19, 2012 11:59:57 PM by Laura Williams, Girl Scout Leader 18+ yrs
Part of a letter from a 16 yr old Girl Scout in my troop.....

Have you ever stayed at a Girl Scout camp? Probably not. Have you ever grown up going to the same camp every year? Probably not. Have you ever experienced the fun in camping? Probably not. Do you care about the letter? Probably not. If you think sitting in front of a computer in a "premier leadership camp" is camping, than you shouldn't be doing this job.
Sunday, January 22, 2012 3:15:04 PM by Anonymous
to this poster: Thursday, January 19, 2012 10:23:15 AM by Anonymous

I am glad, once again, to see someone from council step to the plate, and attempt to salvage the sale of camps from the decision of the board, irrevocable as you might want it to seem. Yes, to support DAS, she was put in an untenable position when helming the newly formed council- HOWEVER, she knew that going in. Was the transition difficult? I'm sure it was. BUT, some of us were run out on rails before the transition occurred, and have no desire to come back to the fold (so to speak) and be maligned or treated poorly as we were in the past by any GS administration. So, that means some of us won't be stepping up to serve as delegates. Some of us would prefer to not bask in the public limelight. Some of us would prefer to remain anonymous, but mighty, working behind the scenes to do the one thing we CAN do- fight the closure of our beloved camps.

It is incumbent upon DAS and the Board of Directors to actually listen to their constituency. I write this just after Gabrielle Giffords has announced her resignation from Arizona's congressional seat she fought hard to obtain, but which was so rudely and terribly taken away from her just one year ago. Gabby (as she's known) LISTENED, and still does listen, to her constituents, and weighs all the facts before forming a decision that might be harmful to the thousands of people she has been elected to serve. Gabby has paid the ultimate price for her patience, understanding and willingness to be flexible. Can we say that about the GSNEO board?

Are Board members willing to step up, admit that their constituency, represented by that 60% delegate vote, might, just might, be right? Are Board members up to this challenge? Sometimes, the bigger person is the one who actually caves in to the little guy, and everyone benefits.

Are YOU up to that challenge GSNEO?

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