Girl Scouts Receives $150,000 Grant

With the help of a $150,000 grant, Girl Scouts-Dakota Horizons is creating a Girl Scout camp volunteer delivery program to reignite camping experiences for today’s busy girls.

Through the grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, Girl Scouts will create a new training platform for volunteers which will bring camp opportunities into the many communities served by the council.

The grant will benefit Valley City Girl Scouts, said Ann Metli, a spokeswoman for the Girl Scouts-Dakota Horizons council, which serves Girl Scouts in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.

With the help of the two-year grant, the council would bring in leaders to be trained in running Girl Scout camps “to bring their experiences to the girls,” Metli said.

For example, Metli said, Valley City Girl Scout leaders could take advantage of the training and meet with other nearby organizations or towns who would then provide camping experiences “for underserved groups of girls,” such as in a local park. “It would open the camping experience for more girls to participate.”

Girl Scouts-Dakota Horizons and the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation both want to engage more girls through camp experiences focusing on the environment and connecting them with the outdoors. Girl Scouts will embrace and build on its long-time tradition of camping through the new volunteer-led camp program.

“What’s most exciting for us,” Metli said, “was the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation saw the benefit of providing the camping experience to more girls.”

The two year pilot phase of the program will train 40 volunteers from communities across the council. Volunteer training will take place at the Tom and Danielle Aman Foundation Girl Scout camp outside of Aberdeen, S.D., on Richmond Lake. The current camp facility will undergo major technology upgrades to help deliver the training module to volunteers.

“We already have the curriculum,” Metli said.

Nationally, Girl Scouts of the USA is embracing volunteer-led program opportunities for members. According to Tami Haug-Davis, CEO of Girl Scouts-Dakota Horizons, “Volunteers are the best source for reaching girls in areas that may not otherwise have Girl Scout camps available. Girl Scouts is about building tomorrow’s leaders, and camp has always played an important role for girls to gain essential skills that will last a lifetime.”

Girl Scouts-Dakota Horizons serves about 15,000 girls in its four-state region.

Haug-Davis said, “The program module will focus on training new adult volunteers who can take camp programs to girls throughout the council.” The first group of volunteers will be ready to provide these camp programs for more girls in the summer of 2013.