In far-flung Graham and Greenlee Counties, our Southern Arizona 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, when 22 Girl Scouts from Graham and Greenlee Counties took a historic trip to our new Angel Charity Place for Girls in Tucson. They are the first — but certainly not the last — Girl Scouts from outside Pima County 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.
Thanks to a generous grant from the United Way of Graham & Greenlee Counties, the experience was free for each participating Girl Scout, whose hometowns include Safford, Thatcher, Morenci, Duncan, and Clifton, AZ.
Their jam-packed day included outdoor skill-building in the health-and-wellness center, where they 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 Hacienda Program Center, where our Girl Scouts spent the night before heading back to Safford in the morning.
As Rosi Southee, Membership Manager for the area, explained, "I know some in Graham and Greenlee were thinking, ‘but the Place for Girls 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 made a Cookies for Change donation to the building’s construction, and were able to visit their commemorative tiles on the wall! All were excited to explore the new space and discover what it has to offer their leadership journey.
“I’ve been a Girl Scout for 9 years,” shared 13-year-old Tymber of Safford. “My favorite part about Girl Scouts is the campouts, and my favorite part of today was the rock wall.” Eight-year-old Roni from Duncan agreed that the most fun part of her day had been rock climbing. 10-year-old Summer, from Thatcher, loves working on badges, and got to develop her engineering skills during the STEM activity. Regardless of their favorite part of the day, all the girls hope to come back to the Angel Charity Place for Girls soon.
“I have stayed in Girl Scouts because it teaches you leadership skills,” Tymber explained—and 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 marks a brand-new stage in our ability as a council to deliver the full Girl Scouting experience to every girl, regardless of her age, hometown, or background. We couldn't be more excited!