Office Doors: A Day with Christina Spicer

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Posted By on April 29, 2021
Christina Spicer, deputy director of Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-Pine Council

5 a.m. >> THE UNIFORM WITH INTERCHANGEABLE HATS

I am an early riser and love mornings as that is my space and time. I have three friends I walk with some mornings as I have found it is a great way during these times to focus on friendship and fill the “love cup” while still being socially distant. When I get home, I set everything up on our dining room table as it turns into preschool for my son, who is being homeschooled, and then get our daughter ready for school as well. At 8 a.m., I transition from the space

of caretaking and mom into starting my workday.

8:30 a.m. >> A CENTURY-OLD SPECIAL RECIPE

Every morning, I have a conversation with my partner in crime and fellow deputy director, Mary Mitchell. One of the unique reasons our council has thrived during the pandemic is because we practice shared leadership all the way down to the troop level. Part of strong feminine leadership is the ability to have a larger capacity of shared leadership. Mary and I have two distinct jobs yet have equal authority, and we have each other. This gives us an opportunity for friendship, mentorship and real care and love for each other and the organization. Regardless of how long you had been in your career, everybody was a rookie and learning when the pandemic hit. We needed each other to be in shared leadership and decision-making so we could best serve our membership.

Girl Scouts has been around for 109 years. Throughout that time, women got the right to vote, and we have seen multiple wars and experienced depression. We as an organization have seen a lot and thrived, so when the pandemic hit, our leaders and our girls did what Girl Scouts always do, which is to go into action and respond to the unknown. The secret ingredients to our success as an organization are shared leadership, our volunteers, and the fact that we are a learning organization. We believe in the idea of “put it out there, learn from it and reflect on it.” It is OK to take a risk because you’re learning.

We also want to teach our girls the same concept of taking healthy risks and having courage, confidence and character.

11 a.m. >> EQUITY IS THE SECRET INGREDIENT

We are coming out of a successful cookie season and I’m proud of our team because it was a really tough year. Our goal was to sell 2.1 million packages of cookies. We fell 11,000 packages short, but consider it an amazing year for not having access to booths the way we typically do. It was a year of figuring out how to unlock invention and creativity on a day-to-day basis in this Zoom space, when this used to happen in different places, such as someone’s office, where you would start drawing on a whiteboard. One of the roles I get to play is helping coordinate synergies between the different teams throughout the organization, such as the fund development and cookie teams working together to allow the community to work with the girls and the girls to work with the community.

Part of our story and why the cookie program continues to be so successful is the existence of an even playing field for everybody. Half of our membership lives at or below the self-sufficiency annual income, which is $68,000 for a family of four or more. There is a view that if you have more affluence, you are going to sell more cookies. But that’s not what we see in the data. The data show us that girls who come from families with fewer resources sell more cookies than girls who come from families with affluence. The cookie program creates equity, because for every $5 box of cookies, $1 goes to the bakery, 90 cents support the troop and $3.10 comes to the council to support the girl. The girl has the reward card for her sales, and there are things on that reward card a family would never be able to do otherwise. This year, $1.8 million is going back into our troops to make decisions about how to use those resources. And what we know about our girls is that they put the money back into themselves, the troops and into their communities. We need to ensure that every girl has an opportunity to try on passion and get to see themselves. And I think that’s the job.

2:15 p.m. >> PLANNING FOR HAPPY CAMPERS

The program side of Girl Scouts will be fun to watch, because I don’t think the virtual space is going anywhere. My day is spent figuring out how we open in-person space, support our troops in delivering programs and what the virtual component will look like moving forward. Camp is fast approaching, and we are in the process of opening all four camp properties at 50 percent capacity this year, ensuring our staff is safe and parents know this will be a safe and fun experience for their girl. Our camp at South Mountain will be a day camp and the other three in Prescott and Payson will be residential camps.                                  

5 p.m. >> PROUDLY DISPLAYING THE “MOM” BADGE

Everything kind of shuts down and we try to focus on the kiddos and the family. We eat dinner and play, and then the kids go to bed around 8:30 p.m. I’m usually back online doing work I couldn’t do earlier because I was in Zoom meetings. One of the unique things that happened for me during COVID is that I went from being a working mom to a mom who works. That switch has been powerful for me and created a sense of connection to family that I haven’t had in so many ways because you were able to waffle your life a little bit and everything had its nice little container. Now everything is very spaghetti; everybody knows each other’s kids and pets. It’s hard to hide anything!

To learn more, go to girlscoutsaz.org.

About Julie Coleman

Julie Coleman is a contributing writer for Frontdoors Media.