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Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan makes Major Investment in Ypsilanti Township

YPSILANTI – While many businesses and non-profits are looking to downsize or consolidate operations, Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan is expanding.
Jan Barker, Chief Executive Officer for GSHOM, said today that the organization is relocating its Ann Arbor regional office to a 30,000-square-foot building on seven acres at 444 James L. Hart Parkway in Ypsilanti. She said the facility will officially open for business on January 28.
The decision to move was prompted by continued increases in the number of girls and adult volunteers GSHOM is currently serving, Barker said.
“In order to continue to provide a quality experience to our girls and our volunteers, particularly in the southeast area of our Council, we needed to find a larger space,” Barker said. “Our new building will enable us to expand our current programming and services and increase opportunities to tailor offerings which will play to the strengths of the Ypsilanti-Ann Arbor area.”
Brenda Stumbo, Ypsilanti Township Supervisor, said is very excited to have GSHOM as a new community partner.
“I think it will be a catalyst that will start something far-reaching in Ypsilanti Township because Girl Scouts is so well-respected,” Stumbo said. “To have the availability of Girl Scouts in our area is wonderful.”
The building which had served for more than 15 years as GSHOM’s Ann Arbor Regional office, at 1900 Manchester Road, was sold in November to Christian Memorial Church.
GSHOM’s new location will be temporarily known as the Ypsilanti-Ann Arbor Regional Center. The building, formerly housed an automobile dealership.
Barker said she expects the 17-member staff in Ann Arbor to be moved into their new offices by January 28. She said she plans to hire more staff as programming and service opportunities increase.
GSHOM currently serves more than 20,000 girls and 6,000 volunteers in a 34-county area. Barker said she expects the new regional center to attract not only girls and volunteers with GSHOM, but also members of the state’s other two Councils in addition to Council’s from throughout the United States.
In mid-February, the building will be the distribution point for more than 80,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies. On March 2 it will serve as the hub for the last of GSHOM’s Fab Five events commemorating the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts.
“The cookie distribution alone will generate the type of traffic that will showcase the beginning of a tremendous relationship between Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan and the township,” said Matthew Bates, Chief Information and Property Officer for GSHOM. “It’s no accident that we are widely recognized as the premier leadership organization for girls with a mission to build girls of courage, confidence and character who will make the world a better place.”
The Council’s move will be a three-phase process: getting staff moved in, involving girls and volunteers in designing the space, and making improvements to the building. There will be no disruption in services while the move takes place.
In addition to girl-lead and girl-driven services, Barker said the new headquarters will be available to the general public for events such as meetings, weddings and parties.
“While the new space is first and foremost for our girls and volunteers, we want the community to know that it’s their building too,” Barker said. “We have a responsibility to our stakeholders and donors to be good stewards of our resources.”
Barker said she hopes residents of the Ypsilanti-Ann Arbor community will stop by to check out their new neighbor Monday, January 28 through Friday, February 1.
“We have an incredible organization filled with amazing girls and volunteers and staff and we want the community to partner with us to make us even stronger,” Barker said.
For more information, visit our Ypsilanti-Ann Arbor Regional Center Web page at http://www.gshom.org/about/aamove.html.

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