Their visit fulfills the new building’s mission of making a girl-centric safe space, and the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, available to every Southern Arizona girl
SAFFORD – In far-flung Graham and Greenlee counties, there is no dedicated space for girls. Local Girl Scout troops meet in churches, libraries, schools, and, most creatively, a Comfort Inn, but accessing girl-focused, leadership-oriented facilities can be hard to do in rural Arizona. That changed this weekend, however, when 22 Girl Scouts from Graham and Greenlee counties took a historic trip to the new Angel Charity Place for Girls, located on the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona campus in Tucson. They are the first – but certainly not the last – Girl Scouts from Graham and Greenlee to benefit from the Place for Girls’ mission to provide all girls greater access to the tools, safe space, and support they need to unleash their potential.
A generous grant from the United Way of Graham & Greenlee Counties enabled the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona Council to cover the cost of the experience for each participating Girl Scout, who ranged in age from 7 to 14, and hailed from cities and towns such as Safford, Thatcher, Morenci, Duncan, and Clifton. Their jam-packed day at the Place for Girls included outdoor skill-building in the health-and-wellness center, where the girls pitched tents, learned to use backpacking gear, and climbed the rock wall; a STEM activity building light puppets in the laboratory; and lunch in the spacious new kitchen, which the girls prepared and cooked themselves. The day ended with a campfire, s’mores, and songs at the Girl Scouts’ Tucson campground, the Hacienda Program Center, where the girls spent the night before heading back to Safford in the morning.
Rosi Southee, Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona’s Membership Manager for Graham and Greenlee counties, organized and facilitated the trip, along with Xitlaly Reyes, the council’s outdoor specialist, who delivered the outdoor and STEM portions of the program. When the Angel Charity Place for Girls opened in August, Southee explains, “I know some in Graham and Greenlee were thinking, ‘but it’s in Tucson, so we won’t use it.’ I was so excited to say, ‘Ready for some good news? We’ve put together a program that is specifically for Girl Scouts from Graham and Greenlee, that will give the girls a chance to try all aspects of the building.’”
For some girls, the trip was their first visit to Tucson, and for many, it was their first time attending a program on a Girl Scout property. A few had even donated cookie funds to the building’s construction and visited their commemorative tiles on the wall. All were excited to explore the new space and discover what it had to offer their leadership journey.
“I’ve been a Girl Scout for 9 years,” shared 13-year-old Tymber of Safford, as she reflected on the day’s activities. “My favorite part about Girl Scouts is the campouts, and my favorite part of today was the rock wall.”
Both activities are proven to help girls develop their leadership skills, by encouraging persistence, risk-taking, how to learn from mistakes, and teamwork. And Tymbr was not alone: Roni, 8, from Duncan, agreed that the most fun part of her day had been rock climbing, too. Summer, 10, from Thatcher, loves working on badges and had the opportunity to work on her engineering skills during the STEM activity – fulfilling another Girl Scout priority to help girls develop 21st-century skillsets and abilities.
Regardless of their favorite activity, all the girls hoped to come back to the Angel Charity Place for Girls soon.
“I have stayed in Girl Scouts because it teaches you leadership skills,” Tymber said.
Now she and her sister Girl Scouts have access to a new home base designed to do just that. As this weekend proves, the Place for Girls, though located in central Tucson, belongs to all girls in Southern Arizona; and its construction and recent debut marks a new stage in the council’s ability to deliver the full Girl Scouting experience to every girl, regardless of her age, hometown, or background.
We’re Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona
Comprised of Girl Scouts from Pima, Cochise, Santa Cruz, Pinal, Graham, Greenlee and Yuma counties, Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona is one of 112 Girl Scouts of the USA Councils. Nationwide, Girl Scouts is 2.6 million strong – 1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go- getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)TM to change the world. The extraordinary Girl Scout journey began more than 100 years ago with the original G.I.R.L., Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low. On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, she organized the very first Girl Scout troop and every year since, Girl Scouts has honored her vision and legacy by building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. The preeminent leadership development organization for girls, with programs from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success. To learn more, volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join Girl Scouts, contact the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona at 520-327-2288, or visit www.girlscoutssoaz.org.