Happy summer! With school done for the season, Girl Scouts are out and about traveling, camping, exploring the outdoors, and connecting with their communities. I’m excited to welcome the many new members who took advantage of our extended year registration program to start Girl Scouting this summer. As the premiere leadership organization for girls and gender-expansive youth, Girl Scouts offers important safe spaces to grow, thrive, and belong. I’m particularly proud of our programs that create affirming spaces for our members of marginalized identities and opportunities for Girl Scouts to lead in the global community.
This year, we launched Umoja Camp, which offered day and overnight options for Girl Scout families with Black or African American members to visit Camp River Ranch and experience outdoor camp activities in a safe, inclusive environment. 47 participants came to Umoja Day Camp, and 94 participants joined us for the overnight Umoja Weekend Camp. Hiking around our beautiful property and creating personalized tie-dye shirts were both big hits with the families who attended. I’m excited to watch this program grow and create a stronger sense of belonging for our Black and African American members in Girl Scouting and in outdoor recreation.
“During the weekend of May 19-21, Girl Scouts of Western Washington had the privilege of hosting over 100 people with Black/African American identifying family members at Camp River Ranch! This amazing opportunity was our inaugural Umoja Family Camp! Attendees participated in the traditional camp activities (tie-dye, archery, canoeing, etc.), a super fun toddler area equipped with water tables, coloring, and various outdoor play activities for families, and experienced a theatre program put on by Beyond the Stage Youth. We are excited for next year and years to come!”
Ayrion Shields, Community Development Manager
Africa Diaspora Employee Resource Group Member
Our council has a strong history of LGBTQ+ support, and I’ve been excited to see us get even louder and prouder. In June, members across our council represented Girl Scouts at Pride festivities in Bellingham, Snohomish, and Olympia. We also increased our presence at Seattle Pride, with Girl Scout youth participating in the color guard and a van added to our group in the parade—Seattle Times coverage of the parade even featured our Girl Scouts (see photos 15 and 25)! In addition to Pride events, our LGBTQ+ camp experience continues this summer, providing a vital, affirming space where Girl Scouts can be themselves.
I am immensely proud of the progress our council is making in visibility, inclusivity, and advocacy for our members, and I’m excited to see us continue to grow. In every program and Girl Scout-led undertaking, our Girl Scouts themselves continue to be positive forces of change. Girl Scout Troop 41653 helped pass a King County ordinance requiring uniform equity for 16,000 employees, earning their Bronze Awards in the process. At this year’s Global Action Summit, Cadette Girl Scout participants learned from their older Girl Scout peers how to be digital leaders. It’s our honor and responsibility to keep up with their vision for the world.
As the end of our fiscal year approaches, we’re getting closer and closer to finalizing our strategic plan for the next three years. Along with everyone at the council, I’m excited to continue growing our membership, increasing our members’ sense of belonging, and moving toward our bright future. Thank you for coming along with us.
Yours in Girl Scouting,
Andrea Anderson, CEO
Girl Scouts of Western Washington