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Looking for a wow-worthy story?

Look no further. At Girl Scouts, we always have a good story to tell! Read on for the latest Girl Scout news, or check out past stories from local and national media about girls in western Washington who are taking action to change the world!


Media inquiry? Email Stefanie Ellis

  • The Gifts of Inclusion

    NEW YORK TIMES | When a donor made a $100,000 gift to the Girl Scouts’ Western Washington Council last March, it was time to break out the hand-shaped clappers.

    “Our development office has these clapper doodads, like you use on New Year’s Eve, and we clap them whenever we get a success,” the Girl Scouts’ area chief executive, Megan Ferland, recalled with a chuckle. That day, she said, “the clappers were going crazy.”

    One hundred thousand dollars was a big donation for the council, which represents about 25,500 girls in 17 counties in the western part of Washington State.

    But in late April, after the funds were in hand, Ms. Ferland received a letter from the donor. This was around the time that Caitlyn Jenner, the former Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner who changed her name and gender, was in the news.

    “I will characterize the letter as saying essentially that they had seen news coverage of the Girl Scouts allowing transgender girls to participate in their programs,” says Ms. Ferland, who declined to identify the donor. “They wanted assurance that their funds would not help support transgender girls participating and if I couldn’t give that assurance they wanted the money returned.” Before she even finished reading the letter, “I thought to myself, ‘The money’s going back.’”

    Since its founding in 1912 by the philanthropist Juliette Gordon Low ... ...

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  • 114-Year-Old Emma Otis Knew a Thing or Two about the Secrets of Life

    SEATTLE TIMES | it sounds a little cheesy to say I loved a 114-year-old woman whom I met only twice, but it’s true.

    I work for the Girl Scouts. The supercentenarian whose smile is draped across my heart like a well-worn sash was our country’s oldest living Girl Scout. Emma Otis, who also held the title of the oldest Washingtonian, died in her sleep Oct. 25 just three days after she officially became the second oldest person in the country and 10th oldest person in the world. When they found her, she was holding a Girl Scout doll.

    If you sleep with a Girl Scout doll you’ve had for more than nine decades, you probably managed to soak up a lot of Girl Scout honor. In fact, you likely invented the term. Emma saw our organization in its infancy, and dedicated her life to introducing girls to powerful leadership and confidence-building opportunities that weren’t widely available at the time. She also helped found in Belfair 80 years ago one of our most beloved camps.

    Truly, it was impossible not to instantly love this woman. I first met her in 2012, when she was a spry 110-year-old in pink pants. Her hair was sprinkled in baby’s breath and her voice was both tiny and big, excited and frustrated, pouring out of her throat in cracked prepubescent crescendos and timid whispers. She was like a sweet, wrinkled child, peering up at me through glasses nearly as big as her face. “Everything about Girl Scouts makes me so happy!” she said, clapping. “Everything!” ...&...

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  • Invite a Friend to Start a Girl Scout Troop and Everybody Wins!

    As a Girl Scout volunteer, you introduce girls to fun new experiences every day. You’re their biggest fan, their guide, and their hero, and we need more amazing mentors just like you to impact even more girls.

    This November, invite a friend to start a new Girl Scout Daisy, Brownie, or Junior troop, and get $50 to shop ‘til you drop at our online store. Your friend gets a Volunteer Resource Pack to help kickstart their Girl Scout experience, too!

    Plus, when you double the friends, you double your prize … $100 for you and a Volunteer Resource Pack for each friend—awesome!

    Once your friend joins Girl Scouts as a troop leader, completes the volunteer application, and starts a new Girl Scout Daisy, Brownie, or Junior troop, head on over to to claim your prize.

    Offer ends 12/1/15—so don't delay!

    Questions? We’re here for you. Get answers at Please review official Terms & Conditions.

  • Customer Engagement Initiative—Get Ready for a New and Improved Experience!

    Imagine a world where girls and volunteers join Girl Scouts with ease, the process of becoming a troop leader is completed in a few days (instead of weeks!) and volunteers and families can easily get the support they need, in ways that best fit their schedules and lives.

    Can you imagine it? We can too, and we’re ready to make it a reality!

    That’s why we’re introducing the Customer Engagement Initiative (CEI), an interactive and user-friendly new way to connect with Girl Scouts and support the girls in your life. From a faster and easier joining and renewal process, to improved resources for volunteers, the Customer Engagement Initiative is all about serving you better.

    The Customer Engagement Initiative will include:

      New Girl Scout Website: We’ve streamlined our website to make it faster to find exactly what you’re looking for—whether you’re on a computer, tablet or phone! Online Volunteer Toolkit: The Volunteer Toolkit is a digital resource designed to make it much easier for K-5 troop leaders to manage troops, prepare for and lead meetings, and connect with other volunteers. Volunteer Systems: Systems is behind-the-scenes technology that will make it easier and quicker for our members to join Girl Scouts, serve as a volunteer, register for programs, get up-to-date information and so much more. My GS Member Community: The My GS Member Community w...

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  • Meadowdale High Grad Earns Girl Scouts’ Highest Honor for Science Project

    EDMONDS NEWS | A 19-year-old Meadowdale High School graduate recently received the Girl Scouts’ highest honor for her work to engage Edmonds School District fourth- and fifth-grade students in hands-on science.

    Jessica Dyck was honored in June with the Girl Scout Gold Award, given to Girl Scouts who have changed their communities—and the world—in a way that has a sustainable impact.

    The award recognized Dyck’s efforts to develop special STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) kits for students in Bob Shepard’s class at Seaview Elementary. The kits, each containing nine activities, were formulated using Next Generation Science Standards, which are the new guidelines regarding science curriculum in the Edmonds School District.

    But the impact of her work didn’t stop with Seaview Elementary. The kits can now be found in all fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms in the Edmonds School District.

    Science has been a passion for Dyck since a young age. “Science has always just clicked with me,” she said. “It’s like a big puzzle that I can solve.” It’s this enthusiasm that pushed her to teach elementary school students in the way that she learned: hands-on science.

    “When I can physically do science instead of studying it, I absolutely love it, ” said Dyck, who is now pursuing a double major in molecular and cellular biology – in addition to classical studies – at the University of Puget Sound. Since standardized testing starts at fourth and fi...

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  • Eastside Girl Scout Troop Reunites 20 Years Later at Camp

    SEATTLE TIMES | You can imagine them back then, tromping around Camp River Ranch in jeans and vests covered with badges. A little gawky, a little loud, but up for anything because they were together. They were one. They were Girl Scout Troop 1718 of the Eastside.

    Twenty years later, they are accomplished, educated women with well-punched passports and 30-year mortgages. Two are librarians. One is a lawyer. Another a public-relations account director and another a government analyst. Three stayed local, while three moved away to Portland, Phoenix and Washington, D.C.

    They were back at River Ranch for Glamp, a fundraising weekend sponsored by the Girl Scouts of Western Washington that invited anyone who had been a Girl Scout—or wished she had been—to spend the weekend in Carnation, doing what Scouts do, with the addition of massages and a fancy dinner with wine. Lots of wine.

    Kari Fugitt, 37, who lives in Washington, D.C., had read about Glamp online and reached out to everyone through Facebook. The group hadn’t been all together since high-school graduation.

    “I feel like sending Mark Zuckerberg a thank-you note,” said Erin Ostrander, 36, a children’s librarian for the King County Library System who lives in Seattle. “I thought it was ingenious,”

    Chrissy Vaughn, 36, said of using Glamp to reunite with her troopmates, who included Tami Wilkerson, 36, of Portland, and Sarah Monson, 37, who just moved to Kirkland. On Glamp weekend, the once-ga...

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  • Kent Girl Scout’s Project Leads the Way for Community Fitness

    KENT REPORTER | Becka Gately's love of fitness inspired her to organize and promote a health and fitness night at Kent's Panther Lake Elementary School.

    The 17-year-old was recognized for her efforts with the Girl Scout Gold Award, the organization's highest achievement, at the Gold Award Gala at the Tacoma Art Museum last month.

    The Gold Award, open only to Girl Scouts in high school who have received their Bronze and Silver awards, challenges candidates to improve their communities.

    Gately, who starts her senior year at Kentwood High School in the fall, has been involved in Girl Scouts since she was in kindergarten and completed her Bronze and Silver projects with her friends who were in her troop.

    "I like to make an impact and like to lead, so I decided to pursue it," Gately said of her decision to take on the Gold Award project.

    At the time Gately began researching her project, her mom, Kelley Gately, worked at Panther Lake Elementary, and connected Gately with Coleen Schlichte, physical eduction teacher at Panther Lake. Schlichte had been interested in organizing a fitness night for the school, and Gately decided to help lead the project.

    Gately said she knew she wanted her Gold Award project to involve helping kids and as a soccer player, she was interested in promoting fitness and healthy living, so organizing Panther Lake's fitness night was a perfect fit …...

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  • Taking a Lead on Transgender Rights—You Go, Girl Scouts!

    SEATTLE TIMES | “Girl Scouts is for every girl.” That’s not just an empty slogan. For the Girl Scouts of Western Washington, this message of inclusion really means something.

    Transgender rights became a marquee civil-rights issue after Olympic-gold-medalist-turned-reality-TV-star Caitlyn Jenner captivated the nation with her transformation last May.

    Since then, the local Girl Scouts chapter has proven itself a model for how old institutions can embrace diversity in the 21st century.

    The chapter recently turned down a $100,000 contribution after an unnamed donor requested a “guarantee that our gift will not be used to support transgender girls.”

    The organization said “no thanks” and started a month-long Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to make back the money that was pledged.

    Within three days, the chapter raised in excess of $297,000 from more than 6,000 donors. Proceeds will be used to ensure all girls can join a troop. About 2,000 would-be members request financial assistance each year.

    Girl Scouts of Western Washington Chief Executive Officer Megan Ferland’s unwavering leadership on this issue started in 2011. As then-head of Girl Scouts of Colorado, she helped welcome a 7-year-old transgender girl into the fold after the child was initially denied membership by a troop in Denver.

    Now in Seattle, Ferland presides over an organization that rejects discrimination. The council’s brave stance has created goodwill from all over...

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  • Girl Scouts Reject Anti-Transgender Gift, Then Triple the Money

    LA TIMES | The moral dilemma began with a $100,000 check to the Girl Scouts of Western Washington—enough to send 500 girls to summer camp, Scout leaders knew.

    But there was a catch. The anonymous donor stipulated in a letter: "Please guarantee that our gift will not be used to support transgender girls. If you can’t, please return the money."

    That caveat was a problem.

    "We're an organization dedicated to helping all girls become the best version of themselves and we don't want any barriers in place for their success," said Stefanie Ellis, public relations director of the Western Washington Girl Scouts Council, which counts more than 25,000 active members across 17 counties. "The stipulation attached to that would have been a barrier."

    The Scouts returned the money. 

    But $100,000 was hard to pass up. So on Monday, the council's online marketing manager launched a crowd-funding campaign on IndieGoGo to try to recoup it with donations.

    By Thursday evening, #ForEVERYGirl had raised more than $300,000 — triple the original goal.

    A video posted to the IndieGogo page says: "Girl Scouts empowers EVERY girl regardless of her gender identity, socioeconomic status, race, sexual orientation, to make the world a better place. We won't exclude ANY girl." It has been viewed tens of thousands of times.

    "Yesterday we thought it was a fluke, like, 'This is the best day of our lives and...

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  • Girl Scouts Choose Transgender Girls Over $100,000 Donation

    WASHINGTON POST | Megan Ferland told Seattle Metropolitan that the Girl Scouts of Western Washington were “thrilled” to pull in a $100,000 donation earlier this year.

    Thrilled! And who wouldn’t be? One hundred thousand dollars is quite the haul. So, yeah, the reaction was pretty big, too.

    “We have these little clapper thingies, and the clappers go mad when we get that kind of gift,” Ferland, the council’s chief executive, told the magazine.

    But then Ferland learned that the gift came with a stipulation, Seattle Met reported: The donor wanted a promise that the money wouldn’t be used to support transgender girls.

    So that donation—all $100,000 of it—went back to the donor.

    “Girl Scouts is for every girl,” Ferland told the magazine. “And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to.”

    This week, the Girl Scouts of Western Washington set about trying to recoup the funds they thought they once had. They didn’t try to hit up the original donor again but instead started an online fundraising campaign.

    “$100,000 is a lot of money,” their Indiegogo page states. “In fact, it’s almost a third of our entire financial assistance program for this year — and girls need this support now. That’s why losing this gift is such a big deal.”

    By midday Tuesday, the day-old campaign had already reached its goal. By Wednesday, the Girl Scouts had raised more than $250,000. “We’ve been blown away by the outpouring o...

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  • Girl Scouts Give Back $100K Gift to Stand for Transgender Girls

    SEATTLE MET | A $50,000 donation is cause for celebration at the Queen Anne offices of the Girl Scouts of Western Washington. “We have these little clapper thingies, and the clappers go mad when we get that kind of gift,” says the council’s CEO, Megan Ferland. So when Ferland came back to the office earlier this spring and announced that she’d just landed a $100,000 donation, the place went mad. Not only did it represent nearly a quarter of the council’s annual fundraising goal, it would pay to send 500 girls to camp. “We were thrilled,” Ferland says.

    Except there was a catch. In late May, as news of Caitlyn Jenner’s transition was blowing up your Facebook news feed, she received a letter from the donor with a brief request: Please guarantee that our gift will not be used to support transgender girls. If you can’t, please return the money.

    Ferland chooses her words carefully when discussing the donor, whose identity she won’t reveal out of respect for their privacy. “The relationship is complex,” is all she’ll say. But she does admit to being “very sad” upon receiving the letter. Shortly after that, though, she made up her mind about how to respond: In a short letter, she informed the donor that she would, in fact, be returning the money. Her reasoning was simple. “Girl Scouts is for every girl,” she says. “And every girl should have the opportunity to be a Girl Scout if she wants to.”

    This is the second time in less than five years that a Girl Scouts...

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  • 9-Year-Old Helping Kitsap County's Homeless

    KOMO NEWS | When most girls might be playing with dolls, Hailey Fort is wielding a nail gun. With the help of her parents, the Kitsap County nine-year-old is building her first "mobile sleeping shelter" to give the homeless a dry and safe place to rest.

    "I saw a man on the street and I wanted to help him," Hailey says. "I asked my mom if I could, and she said yes."

    That was four years ago. Along with her parents, Hailey planted a small garden. This year, she hopes to harvest more than 200 pounds of fresh vegetables to help feed Kitsap County's homeless.

    She also hand-delivers small toiletries to those she sees on the streets, men and women she comes to call her "friends."

    It's a bit overwhelming at times for Miranda Fort, who helps her daughter and shares her progress through the "Hailey's Harvest" Facebook page.

    "I think they're normally a bit taken aback," Miranda Fort says. "The fact that there's this little kid in their space asking, 'How can I help you?'"

    Hailey and her parents are supported by donors, including Lowes Home Improvement, who knocked 50 percent off the cost of supplies for Hailey's shelter. She hopes to build a dozen before the end of the year, but is still looking for locations in Kitsap County that will allow them.

    Hailey says she wants to be a philanthropist when she grows up; "someone who takes care of people," she says … <...

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  • Girl Scouts Invited to Hunker in for a Night at City Hall

    ISSAQUAH REPORTER | Girl Scouts from 4th through 12th grade have a chance to join Sammamish city officials to learn more about local government.

    About 45 Daisies and Brownies, girls from kindergarten through third grade, joined Sammamish council members Ramiro Valderrama-Aramayo and Bob Keller at the last meeting in Sammamish City Hall March 23 from 6-7:30 p.m.

    Brownies worked on completing their Celebrating Community badge. Daisies, girls in kindergarten and first grade, don’t earn badges.

    The goal of the event is to familiarize scouts with the rules and operations of government, as well as instilling the importance of community and fostering a sense of leadership among the girls.

    The first time Girl Scouts of Western Washington gathered for a night in city hall was in mid-November 2014. This event was for older girls, grades 4-12. Since that event went well, Girl Scouts of Western Washington Regional Program Manager Skylar O’Harrow said they decided to hold more events this spring.

    The next event, for girls 4-12, is April 22 in Sammamish City Hall from 6-7:30 p.m. Adults must attend. Registration is free.

    Juniors, fourth and fifth graders, can work on their Inside Government badge. Cadettes, sixth through eighth graders, can work on their Finding Common Ground badge. Seniors, ninth and 10th graders, can work toward their Behind the Ballot badge; and Ambassadors, 11th and 12th graders, can work toward their Public Policy badge … <...

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