When troop members promise to live according to Girl Scout law, they promise to “use resources wisely.” Tracy Coogle, who leads three local Girl Scout troops in her spare time, embodies that vow. As controller for the joint operations of Theatre IV and Barksdale Theatre companies, she's implemented efficiencies that have saved tens of thousands of dollars for the organization as it weathers the challenging economy of the past year. “This kind of work is my true passion,” Coogle says. “I love being part of a bigger mission.”
But Coogle's passion for nonprofit accounting has resulted in more excitement for her than the stereotypical bean counter. In 2005, less than a month after starting work at the National Kidney Foundation of the Virginias, she uncovered a $175,000 embezzlement scheme that led to an 18-month investigation and the ultimate conviction of the group's former accounting director.
While serving on the board of the Girl Scouts' Commonwealth Council of Virginia, she led the effort in 2007 to save 387-acre Camp Kittamaqund in Northumberland County from development. The dispute brought the usually low-key Girl Scouts into the limelight with scores of angry protesters gathering outside of council meetings. Today, Coogle's just proud that the youngest of her three daughters can say, “My mom saved Camp Kitty.”