Neil M. Stamps, the new CEO of the Girl Scouts of Rhode Island Inc., has taken the job at a time of declining enrollment nationally, with girls not identifying with the leadership role historically associated with the organization.
The Rhode Island affiliate and about 2,600 volunteers serve thousands of girls not only locally but in Pawcatuck, Conn., and 13 Massachusetts towns: Attleboro, Bellingham, Blackstone, Fall River, Millville, North Attleboro, Plainville, Rehoboth, Seekonk, Somerset, Swansea, Westport and Wrentham. The Girl Scouts’ response to shrinking enrollment is to expand instead of contract.
Stamps explains that strategy and his role in it.
PBN: The Girl Scouts are planning to expand. Tell us about the new location in Warwick.
STAMPS: We moved here in the old ski-market building at 500 Greenwich Ave. in June of last year. The main reason for the move was because the old facility in Providence did not have space for programming for girls, it was strictly administrative.
For more than 100 years, Girl Scouts has been the organization that develops the future talent of our country. We feel America’s most-accomplished women are Girl Scout alumni. Lately, however the tide has been turning and more and more girls are opting out of pursuing leadership roles. Only one in five thinks she has what it takes to be a leader and that’s a trend that should alarm everybody.
According to a study published by Girl Scout Research Institute, only about one-third (39 percent) say they want to be a leader and only one girl in five believes she has what it takes to lead. So with our recent move, we have an opportunity to do something really big to turn things around.