Girl Scouts awarded $2.25M grant to support outdoor programming
Girl Scouts—Arizona Cactus-Pine Council (GSACPC) has been awarded a $2.25 million grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation to support GSACPC’s initiative to expand outdoor programming throughout the year. While GSACPC has consistently provided outdoor summer programming at its multiple camp properties across northern and central Arizona, the organization’s three-year expansion plan will put an emphasis on leveraging these campsites and providing enhanced outdoor adventure opportunities for Girl Scouts throughout the year. This generous investment marks more than $10 million in total support that The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation has invested in local girls in the past 10 years alone.
“Girl Scouts—Arizona Cactus-Pine Council continues to think outside the box and create innovative programs that young women need,” says Renee Parsons, co-founder of The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation. “We believe in supporting the outdoor programming because we know it will help young women build self-confidence, improve overall well-being and become better leaders.”
“As girls and families continue to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, this investment from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation will allow us to grow and serve more girls in the outdoors. We are grateful for their continued belief in our mission and how we help to build girls of courage, confidence and character,” says Christina Spicer, co-CEO of GSACPC. “From swimming to hiking to horse-riding, year-round outdoor programming provides Girl Scouts with limitless possibilities to explore and build the Girl Scout sisterhood.”
With five camp properties across northern and central Arizona totaling about 330 acres, these properties offer unique facilities and endless opportunities for outdoor adventures and fun, no matter the season or environment. Located in some of the most beautiful forests, mountains and deserts Arizona has to offer, Girl Scouts are encouraged to explore nature through canoeing, paddle boarding, mountain biking, creek walking, zip lining and more.
These camp properties and facilities include:
• Camp Maripai, an 80-acre camp just outside of Prescott, offers specialized equine programs, an archery field and nature trails in addition to rustic cabins, fire-pits and covered program ramadas.
• Shadow Rim Ranch in Payson is in the shadow of the Mogollon Rim in the Tonto National Forest and boasts a climbing tower, zip line and even a “pake” (too big to be a pond and too little to be a lake!) for canoeing. Shadow Rim Ranch facilities include multi-use buildings, a ramada and four cabin units.
• Willow Springs Program Center located in Prescott’s National Forest contains hiking trails and ropes courses with facilities that include multi-use buildings, dormitories, tent units and a sports field.
• Camp Stephens near Kingman provides opportunities for primitive outdoor experiences through its mountainous terrain full of boulder fields, pine, walnut and oak trees and a wide variety of wildlife with facilities such as a program deck campfire area complete with bench seating.
• The Bob & Renee Parsons Leadership Center for Girls and Women at Camp South Mountain is a desert oasis in the heart of Phoenix featuring two pools, an archery and slingshot range, a field for sports and games and the recent additions of a climbing tower, bouldering wall and zip line.
“Our desire to improve girls’ access to the outdoors goes far beyond a Girl Scout tradition and brand promise — it is a social justice issue. GSACPC serves girls from every economic, racial, ethnic, and religious background, and girls of all abilities. Half of our current members come from households with incomes below $68,000 for a family of four, falling below the self-sufficiency line,” says Mary Mitchell, co-CEO of GSACPC. “As an organization founded on inclusivity, we want to use our programs to help girls have outdoor experiences, especially those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to spend time in nature.
“Nature has a way of centering and easing the mind. For me, this happens on the golf course; for others, it happens on the hiking trail,” says Bob Parsons, co-founder of The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation. “By making campsites available year-round, Girl Scouts—Arizona Cactus-Pine is ensuring girls from all backgrounds have greater access to Arizona’s beautiful outdoors, along with its many benefits.”
This donation comes as The Bob & Renee Parsons Leadership Center for Girls and Women at Camp South Mountain celebrates its five-year anniversary. Opened in 2017, The Bob & Renee Parsons Leadership Center for Girls and Women is an $18 million year-round urban program center with camp appeal, and fully ADA accessible. The decision to transform the then-70-year-old camp, which is located on 14.5 acres in the South Mountain community at 1611 E. Dobbins Road in Phoenix, into a leadership center emerged from GSACPC’s decision to expand its capacity to serve more girls, especially underserved populations, and better serve its existing members, of whom 85% live in the metro-Phoenix area. The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation made a donation of $5 million — the largest in the history of Girl Scouts of the USA at the time – during GSACPC’s Campaign for Girls in Arizona to help make the center a reality.