Erin, left, enjoying one of her Tomahawk adventures.
Girl Scout spirit of gratitude and generosity shines
Erin had experienced the magic of Girl Scout summer overnight camp for several years when a family financial crisis stood in the way of her being able to attend again in 2011. Career transitions and mounting major medical bills created budget strain and dried up the family’s expendable income. Ten-year-old Erin’s family was not tremendously outdoorsy, and she had developed a true love of the outdoors at her summers at Tomahawk Ranch. She begged her parents to go again; but there was no money to send her. Erin sold cookies, but Cookie Credits were not enough to pay her way. Reluctantly, the family applied for and received a grant from Girl Scouts of Colorado (GSCO).
Over the next three summers, Erin was able to get away from the stress caused by financial issues and medical conditions that affected the whole family and be a normal girl having grand adventures with other girls at camp, gaining independence and confidence.
“Girl Scout camp has always been the best part of summer to me. Driving up the dirt road to lush green mountain tops would never fail to bring a smile to my face. My favorite memories are of hiking, riding horses and meeting new people that would soon grow to be dear friends to me,” said Erin, now 13. ” I was always worried that maybe next year would be the year that we weren’t able to get a scholarship to be able to go to Girl Scout camp, but that never happened. Year after year, I was able to continue seeing old friends, meeting new ones, and trying new activities. I am so grateful for the scholarship we got so I could experience the excitement and adventure of Girl Scout camp.”
Fast forward to 2014, when Erin’s dad landed a great job in New Jersey, and the family moved to the East Coast. Now, the family is doing well financially, and they’re in a position where they can help Girl Scouts of Colorado to make camping dreams come true for another girl whose family needs help paying for camp. The GSCO staff was so touched to receive a generous donation from Erin’s family, and news that her father’s company would triple the gift with their matching program.
“We were able to provide time for our daughter to just be a girl and have a fun summer through the generosity of Girl Scouts of Colorado, and we can’t thank you enough,” said Erin’s mother, Seana. “The way I was brought up and how I’m bringing up my kids is that when someone helps you and you’re in a better place, you pay it back to thank people for what they’ve done.”
Seana remarked about how easy and comfortable GSCO made the process and that no one treated Erin differently because it was all done confidentially in the office. No one at camp knew that Erin was there on a grant.
Girl Scouts of Colorado awards more than $100,000 every year in opportunity grants, including grants to help families with up to 80 percent of a summer camp fee, no matter what their financial struggles are. If your family needs some help this year, don’t be afraid to ask. You will be asked to contribute what you can, but we are here to help make sure every girl can have a Girl Scout summer camp leadership experience. For more info on camp grants and other financial assistance, visit http://www.girlscoutsofcolorado.org/financial-assistance.