Welcome to a new membership year—and another opportunity for Girl Scouts to connect, explore, and unleash their limitless potential. Lately, I’ve been reflecting a lot on what it means to belong. Finding belonging is central to the Girl Scout experience, and it’s a sentiment we all take to heart. When Girl Scouts feel welcomed, valued, and accepted, their confidence soars and they discover they can achieve anything.
One of our signature programs that exemplifies belonging is our camp programming. At Girl Scout camp, future leaders come into their own in spaces where they feel safety, community, and belonging. Girl Scout campers take risks, harness their strengths, and become stronger—physically, mentally, and emotionally. In doing so, they strengthen their connection with fellow campers, with their bodies, and with our beautiful land.
In the outdoors, at our camp properties and throughout the region, Girl Scouts discover themselves as much as their surroundings, facing challenges that shape them and gaining the confidence to trust in themselves and their peers. This is where their leadership skills begin to develop and shine.
Yet generations of girls and gender-expansive youth have missed out on the opportunity to experience the magic of camp due to racist and misogynistic exclusion to the outdoors. We continually strive to ensure that every Girl Scout who wants to experience camp has the opportunity to do so.
Since I joined Girl Scouts of Western Washington, we’ve launched Umoja Day and Weekend Overnight Family Camp programs, designed for Black, African-American, and multi-cultural families to enjoy camp and all its benefits. We also created an annual LGBTQIA+ overnight camp experience. I’m thrilled to share that we are able to expand both of these essential community-building opportunities in the coming years thanks to the generosity of our supporters. You can learn more about ways to support these programs on our website.
We’re also continuing to find ways to host some of our signature programming at our camp properties. As aviation and space science programs and our Global Action Team literally expand the horizons of Girl Scouts, we’re thrilled to bring these program offerings to our camp properties as a place where Girl Scouts can gather and grow together.
This October’s Great Cascadia Zombie Survival Challenge will bring together over 600 Girl Scouts to learn “how to be prepared, not scared” in the face of a natural disaster or emergency. I love that this program embodies everything Girl Scouts is about. Courage. Confidence. Character. All the things that help our youth grow up to be incredible humans.
Additionally, we’re excited to welcome Girl Scouts from across the country next summer for a Pacific Northwest Adventure Destination where they will spend 12 days at our primitive Camp Towhee in the shadows of Mt. Baker.
These programs are just a few ways that Girl Scouts opens new pathways to community and discovery within the outdoors.
As we enter this new membership year together, I’m honored to share with you this commitment to helping local Girl Scouts thrive in spaces where they authentically belong. You have my heartfelt gratitude.
In our hearts, our shared spaces, and our future, there’s plenty of room for all of us. Together, we’re forging a great future for all girls and gender-expansive youth who identify with the girl experience.
We’re all in this together, and we’re so happy you’re here.
Yours in Girl Scouting,
Andrea Anderson, CEO
Girl Scouts of Western Washington