Lifelong Adventure and Friendship

“We… love that we, as members of Troop 218, have a Girl Scouting foundation that will unify us for the rest of our days!”

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Troop 218 visit Olvera Street in 1957, the year the troop formed.

Girl Scouts brings together girls with different backgrounds, interests, and personalities as part of one big family. Like all families, Girl Scouts form bonds that last a lifetime—which is why many alumnae stay friends and continue to meet as a troop, long after they’ve grown out of Girl Scouts. Local alumna Dinah Raful shares her sisterhood story.

This past October, 16 members of Girl Scout Troop 218 met in Nashville, Tennessee, for our 60th Girl Scout “Gratitude” Reunion. The troop originated under the guidance of [longtime GSGLA supporter] Bernie Horst. We have had four previous gatherings in Los Angeles, but this time we decided to venture out to a new destination.

What a great time we had in Nashville! We experienced a lovely Jubilee Day Celebration at Fisk University; had a lovely tour of the Belle Meade Plantation and a long beautiful walk at The Warner Park Nature Center; and to top it off, we checked off an item on our bucket list: a musical evening at the Grand Ole’ Opry! We also got a quick tour of Honky Tonk downtown and even the amazing Parthenon!

Throughout our sightseeing, we had very special personal moments and reconnected as we walked and talked about what we were grateful for every day. We planned Girl Scout activities like getting-to-know-each-other games, a Scouts’ Own, singing, and sharing food. We were overwhelmed again with tremendous gratitude for our leader, Bernie Horst, for all that she gave us. We adore her and love that we, as members of Troop 218, have a Girl Scouting foundation that will unify us for the rest of our days!

60-year reunion in 2017.

Thank you for sharing your reunion experience, Dinah!

Fewer things bring happier moments than witnessing lifelong friendships and knowing that it started with just a few girls in a Girl Scout troop. Staying connected with one another is as important as staying connected with GSGLA. To find out more about connecting with our alumnae team, email

50 Years of Marine Landing

“There is no better place to spend the summer than at Marine Landing, on the beach, overlooking the water.”

For 50 years, Marine Landing has held a special place in the hearts of generations of Girl Scouts, for many reasons. As Girl Scouts go from one summer camp activity to another, they’re learning what interests them most, trying new things, and taking risks in a safe, all-girl environment—which is why summer camp is more than just a beloved Girl Scout tradition, it’s an important one.

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Marine Landing in 1967. Courtesy: Jo Murray

Marine Landing, our waterfront property on Alamitos Bay in Long Beach, has served as the setting for thousands of girls’ summer memories and experiences. After the formation of the Greater Long Beach Girl Scout Council in the early 1960s, construction began on Marine Landing. The Mariner Scout program thrived in Long Beach in the early days, but suitable facilities were hard to find for Girl Scouts. The City of Long Beach leased a strip of land to the new council along the marina, just north of the 2nd Street Bridge. Construction began in 1966, and finally in 1967, Marine Landing was dedicated. The rest, as they say, is history.

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Courtesy: Jo Murray

Betty “Dani” Homan was the first camp director. She remembers that first summer well, with the girls being organized into groups called patrols:

“The day camp was wildly successful. After each day, the patrol would meet and decide what they wanted to eat for lunch the next day. They’d turn in their menu and we had volunteer shoppers (parents of Girl Scouts or other volunteers)… come and get the food orders and go over to the local Ralph’s across the bay, do the shopping, and bring it back. The girls would cook their lunch, then the patrols would plan the next day’s lunch and repeat this every day… So it wasn’t all peanut butter and jelly, they actually cooked lunches. At that time, we had designated fire rings, so each patrol had its own little place to fix lunch. This made it a camping program as well as waterfront.”

Karen “Rocky” Ramsey, who served as camp director at Marine Landing in the ’70s, recalls other ways the girls stayed active:

“The girls would do rowing, canoeing, basic sailing, and intermediate sailing… We had to clean the equipment every day—each boat had to be thoroughly cleaned because of the salt water. The sense of responsibility, the sense of accomplishment as you learned each of the skills—those things are invaluable.”

Four generations of Marine Landing camp directors: Sporty Spice, Peaches, Rocky, and Dani.

Today, girls not only learn canoeing and sailing at Marine Landing, but also kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. Current GSGLA Program Specialist and former Marine Landing Camp Director Lisa “Sporty Spice” Axelrod explains how things have changed:

“When all the councils in LA County merged in 2008, I had no idea what was going to be in store for me. I had never run a day camp. It ended up becoming one of the greatest things I’ve done in my 13.5 years working for Girl Scouts. I am so proud of what [Marine Landing] has become and the experiences that girls have there: They now have stand-up paddleboards, permanent shade coverings, an office, new kayaks, and so much more. The program has evolved over the years, but one thing remains the same: There is no better place to spend the summer than at Marine Landing, on the beach, overlooking the water. It truly became my happy place thanks to the amazing staff and girls who have come and gone over the years. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for this amazing camp.”

Girls learn how to do stand-up paddleboarding.

Recent Marine Landing counselor Barbara “Summer” Kennedywho also camped there— says the waterfront property was a huge part of her childhood: 

“Memories from when I was a camper include making lanyards and ending the summer with about 50 of them attached to my camp bag, being able to get the popsicles for the counselors, finding ways to avoid taking down boats and then getting upset when the girls did it when I was a counselor, the trips to the other beaches… As a counselor, I remember the dance parties after lunch, showing the girls the hidden gargoyle, getting in the water to do swim tests at 9 a.m., and the late afternoons when just a few girls were left and everything was quiet and I could look out over the water and think about what an awesome summer job I had.”

Girls make arts and crafts at Marine Landing.

Decades later, Ms. Homan reflects on her 16-year tenure as a Girl Scout program director, saying she treasures her time at Marine Landing the most:

It never felt like a job, it was just the best thing I ever did… I can’t believe it’s been 50 years, that’s the most remarkable thing to me. I’m very happy they’ve kept it up over these years and even advanced the program far beyond [what] I imagined back in the beginning.”

To everyone who has canoed, swam, kayaked, sailed, rowed, played, cooked, sang, and danced at Marine Landing: Thank you for the memories! We’re so appreciative of your support, and look forward to providing the girls of Greater LA with exciting activities and unique opportunities for years to come.

We want to know…

  • Did you ever camp or work at Marine Landing? Leave a comment and share your memories.
  • Did your girl attend Marine Landing or our other camps this summer? See if you can spot her in our Facebook album.
  • Do you want to register your girl for Marine Landing or our other camps? Visit our website and subscribe to our summer camp news for more information.
  • Are you interested in ensuring future generations of girls can enjoy GSGLA summer camp? Make a gift and help more girls participate in this beloved Girl Scouting tradition.

Proud to Be an Emerging Leader Girl Scout

“I am the one who will seek change confidently, quietly making a difference in the lives of those around me.”

Our Emerging Leader Girl Scouts represent the values for which our organization stands: They embody leadership with courage, confidence, and character and show exceptional promise for their futures. As part of this selective program, Emerging Leaders attend the ToGetHerThere Luncheon, our annual gathering of civic and business leaders committed to empowering girls to reach their greatest potential. Ambassador Girl Scout Cora J. participated as an Emerging Leader last year, and shares how the program inspired her.

Being an Emerging Leader was a once-in-a-lifetime experience! From the interview process to the trainings to the ToGetHerThere Luncheon, I learned a lot about myself.

At the luncheon, I had the opportunity to meet many women business leaders and learn about their fields. I also enjoyed sharing with them what Girl Scouts means to me. It led to several discussions about how what I am doing now can help me in the future.

Cora received her Emerging Leader pin at the 2016 ToGetHerThere Luncheon.

The most important piece of advice I received from one of the mentors was not to give up and to keep trying when faced with obstacles. It is very encouraging to meet women leaders who have succeeded—I learned that it might not always be easy, but my dreams are possible.

Karen Ideno, Toyota Financial Services VP and 2016 ToGetHerThere Honoree, said during her speech that “the sum total of all your experiences make you who you are today.” This quote means a lot to me. Girl Scouts has provided me with so many different experiences like learning how to manage finances, helping people, gaining useful skills, and even traveling around the world. Outside of Girl Scouts, I’m constantly pulling from skills I’ve picked up in Girl Scouting—whether I’m answering a question, completing a task, or overcoming an obstacle.

I used to be extremely shy and unconfident—I don’t just mean not willing to answer a question in class. I mean that in every area of my life I would be quiet and sit back afraid to speak up. Girl Scouts not only gave me the courage to learn to speak up but also, and more importantly I think, the confidence in myself to do so.

At ToGetHerThere, Ms. Ideno said that you don’t need to be the loudest person in the room to make a change. This is so true for me: I am not the loudest, funniest, or “whateverist” in the room. However, I am the one who will seek change confidently, quietly making a difference in the lives of those around me. That’s why I’m proud to be an Emerging Leader Girl Scout.

Thank you, Cora! Will you join us in supporting our girls’ future? Meet our 2017 Emerging Leaders at the ToGetHerThere Luncheon on Monday, Oct. 30. Click here for details.

Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts will have the opportunity to apply for next year’s Emerging Leader program in late spring. Bookmark this link and stay tuned for announcements.

Girl Scout Power for Middle School

“It’s all about who you are as a person, and your Girl Scout power will help you develop into an amazing person for the future.”

Middle school is a tough time for a lot of people, with so much going on personally and academically. Girl Scouts helps girls of all ages find their inner strength, develop confidence, and persevere through difficult situations—which is especially critical for middle schoolers who need extra support. G.I.R.L. and Cadette Katelyn R. tells us how she’s leveraged her “Girl Scout power” and shares her advice with other girls in middle school.

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Cadette Girl Scout Katelyn R.

Most of us can say that joining Girl Scouts has helped us come out of our shells. But have you ever thought about how much your inner Girl Scout power can help you in an awkward or tough situation?

I am a part of the GSGLA Color Guard. When I was invited to join the color guard, I was very nervous (I used to be shy) and now I have a great group of friends who encourage my love for Girl Scouting and I am able to participate in amazing things. I’ve had the opportunity to meet interesting people and perform in front of thousands of people—which has helped my confidence emerge and enabled me to be myself!

When I started middle school this past year, I took the confidence I’d gained from Girl Scouts and applied it to my daily routine. I spoke up in class, joined a garden club, took a risk by joining the cross-country team, and sang my heart out in the choir group.

katelyn 9Middle school may seem simple, but the challenges were quite different from others I had encountered in the past. Girl Scouts encouraged me to persevere and address things I wanted to change about myself. For instance, cross country—I was not a seven-minute mile runner or even better, but I thought it would be cool to try a new sport. I joined the team not expecting much, but I found the challenge actually helped me accelerate my mile requirements in PE, and I met new people who became new friends—just like when we join a troop or interact with another troop during a council event.

So, my first piece of advice: Don’t be shy and introduce yourself to the many new faces you will meet. You never know where you will find your next BFF. My second piece of advice: Stay true to who you are and don’t give up the values that make you YOU!

There will be a lot of growing up in middle school. People may not understand why you do certain things or you might encounter some jealousy. Girls who I thought were my friends turned out not to be who they seemed before. You have to learn not to take things personally because you might drift away from current friendships. For the “Finding Common Ground” Girl Scout badge, we learned how to get to know someone different from us, to understand how to compromise, and to make decisions in a different group. These lessons allowed me to branch out to new groups in middle school. My new friends have stuck with me and supported the different activities I have joined.

katelyn 6Girl Scouts helped me persist through the rough times and hardships of trying new things. I’ve moved on and learned that it takes confidence, perseverance, and other traits to make a person strong. Girl Scouting helps us learn new things, challenge ourselves, and always find new paths: These experiences can all fuel your inner Girl Scout power and help you endure challenges in real life.

I got through sixth grade doing awesome things and getting excellent grades, which makes me proud. With Girl Scouts, I recently joined the Girl Advisory Bureau, experienced Camp Osito for the first time, and met yet another great group of girls. You may have a difficult experience in middle school or any grade you enter, but remember—it’s all about who you are as a person, and your Girl Scout power will help you develop into an amazing person for the future.

So don’t be shy, don’t be nervous, speak up, and try new things and new friendships; because after all, no matter how lonely you may feel at times, there is always someone out there just waiting to share your story and celebrate how wonderful you really are.

Thank you, Katelyn, for your inspiring—and useful—insight on how to channel your inner G.I.R.L. in middle school (and in any tough situation)!

Want to help girls become their best selves as a volunteer? Get more information here. Want to learn how to become a Girl Scout? Take the first step in joining our global sisterhood and click here.

A Day of Impact

As the premier leadership organization for girls, Girl Scouts is committed to providing girls with a myriad of opportunities to build their skills, develop courage, and try new things. We’re also committed to connecting with community partners who share the same goals.

Last month, our high-school Girl Scouts had an amazing chance to participate in mentor-guided workshops at Deloitte University Impact Day. Senior Genetha C. attended and shared her experience with us.

As Girl Scouts, when we see a problem, we find a solution. On June 9, I experienced an amazing day with other Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts, being mentored by employees of Deloitte University. We explored problem-solving in business and technology through a series of group activities and workshops—Finance 101, Introduction to Consulting, Technology in Business, Leadership in Business—and discussions with mentors on education and summer internships.

Genetha during presentation (second from left).

In Finance 101, we received an empty worksheet to create a budget. There was a Powerpoint that guided us in choosing which kind of home and car we want in the future, as well as other necessities we think are  important. We had to figure out how much we can save, taking fixed expenses, transportation, and more into consideration.

The workshop Introduction to Consulting covered management information, analytical applications, and record management and how to improve those functions; while Technology in Business taught us which devices you can use to be successful in a business.

IMG_0498One of my favorite workshops was Leadership in Business, where we watched cool videos about leaders in history. We learned that we are all leaders in our own way. I also learned the acronym “P.D.I.G.,” which stands for Pioneer, Driver, Integrator, and Guardian: The Pioneer loves exploring; the Driver loves a challenge; the Integrator is all about connecting; and the Guardian values stability and strives for accuracy. As Girl Scouts, we can relate these to the “G.I.R.L.” acronym. Which one are you?

IMG_0557In one of the mentoring sessions, we were challenged with a unique issue: One of the worker’s cousins has a known brand of shoes outside of the country—she wanted to know how we, as Girl Scouts, can make her brand more known in America: whether we liked the style, how they could improve sales, how they have problems with current exchange, and more. Together, we came up with questions to get to the root of the issues, such as: How many shoes has she sold over the year? How long does it take to make the shoes? What makes the shoe special?

Together, we were able to come up with solutions to help customize the shoes, make them seasonal, get experts to work on the website, and more. Groups presented their solutions to mentors who worked for Deloitte—and those who presented received cool Deloitte steel bottles.

IMG_0582I want to thank Deloitte for the advice on business and helping us develop more leadership skills. Also, I am happy GSGLA gives us fun and helpful programs that benefit us every day.

Thank you, Genetha! We also want to thank Deloitte for giving our girls the chance to develop their leadership and business skills during this exciting day of impact.

Interested in learning how your company can partner with GSGLA? Check out these ways to get involved or contact

Volunteer Spotlight: Risk-taker

“These girls are sisters, and should be treating each other like that, no matter what they’re able or not able to do.” 

Our volunteers are the backbone of our organization’s success—propelling our girls forward and guiding them through life-changing, skill-building programs. Since Girl Scouts is for all girls, we’re committed to fostering a diverse, inclusive environment where everyone can develop her inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader). That also pertains to volunteers, who serve as role models for our Girl Scouts.

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Troop leader and AbilityGS Go Team member Julia Montoya.

As risk-takers, our volunteers are courageous and strong, and embrace the unfamiliar while staying true to their values. This is certainly true with Julia Montoya, who is a member of the AbilityGS Go Team and a leader for Ambassador Troop 11965. The AbilityGS Go Team provides a forum for parents and volunteers to connect with one another about successfully integrating girls into troops, regardless of abilities. For Julia, whose daughter is a member of her troop and also on the autism spectrum, the group has proven invaluable: “It helps me to accommodate [my daughter] Valerie, because although I have to go along with the rules, maybe not everything goes well for her. Being part of the Go Team helps me see that, and work on accommodations for her.”

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Julia’s daughter Valerie (far right).

Girl Scouts has been an inclusive organization since its inception, offering a safe, welcoming, and fun space for every girl. For Julia’s daughter, the experience has helped her in many ways: “She’s become more independent and outspoken because she has to complete Journeys, and has to speak to people and ask them questions,” says Julia. Not only that—Girl Scouts has also opened doors for Valerie: “She completed a Journey on food and wants to take horticulture at school… She now knows the importance of eating organic food, and recently said, ‘You know what Mom, I want to try Veggie Grill.’ For Valerie to try something new, it’s very rare.”

Julia, along with the rest of the Go Team, want to ensure troop leaders are comfortable navigating their girls’ different levels of abilities: “While most leaders might not be scared, some worry about not being able to accommodate all girls.” Through the Go Team members’ various experiences, they’re able to provide advice and connect volunteers with resources. Together, they’re helping to build a community of leaders who empower girls to become independent—by being courageous themselves.

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Julia’s troop on a camping trip with another troop.

Plus, creating an environment of inclusiveness benefits all girls. During Julia’s first year as a troop leader, her girls accompanied another group on a camping trip. Throughout the experience, Julia was struck by the words of longtime GSGLA volunteer Ted Oyama, who kept saying, “help your sister.” At one point, Valerie stood apart from the group after climbing a hill overlooking the ocean. As she watched the girls, Julia noticed one of them go up to Valerie and ask what she enjoyed most about the weekend, sparking a conversation. The moment reinforced Ted’s mantra about the Girl Scout spirit: “These girls are sisters, and should be treating each other like that, no matter what they’re able or not able to do.”

Thank you to Julia and the rest of the AbilityGS Go Team for upholding Girl Scouts’ dedication to welcoming girls of all abilities. For more information about the Go Team, contact us.

Camp Life is the Best Life

“Girl Scout camp provides the right opportunities in a safe space and with the friendliest staff to help your daughter find her courage, confidence, and character.”

Editor’s note: Don’t wait! Register for GSGLA summer camp before we run out of space. 

With summer nearly upon us, our girls are gearing up for one of the most beloved aspects of the Girl Scout experience: camp! We’re fortunate to have so many natural settings in and around Greater LA for our Girl Scouts to enjoy—from the beach to the mountains, and everything in between.


Summer camp affords girls the opportunity to conquer fears, try new activities, and make lifelong friends. At GSGLA, we have a variety of modernized properties that provide safe, fun environments where girls can create lasting memories.

Want to know which camp best suits your girl’s needs? Or what makes the location nearest you unique? We spoke to our camp directors to learn more.

Marine Landing Day Camp – Long Beach

Paddleboarding at Marine Landing.

“Imagine your daughter overcoming her fears of being onstage or jumping off a kayak because she realized the fun waiting on the other side far exceeded her own fears. Imagine her wanting to work hard on a new art project because beautifying the walls of a place she loves so much has become that important to her. Imagine getting to see your daughter grow up more in one week of camp than in a whole year of school. Girl Scout camp provides the right opportunities in a safe space and with the friendliest staff to help your daughter find her courage, confidence, and character.” – Devin Niebrugge, Marine Landing Camp Director

Camp Osito Rancho – Big Bear

Ziplining at Osito Rancho.

“Resident camp gives campers the opportunity to grow in independence, courage, friendships, and new interests away from their normal setting and out from under the wings of their parents or caregivers. They grow in ways they can’t at home, by being out of their comfort zone, learning about themselves and others, finding wonders in nature, pride in individuality, and compassion in a camp community—all while having the time of their lives!” – Alicia Brown, Osito Rancho Camp Director

Mariposa Day Camp – Altadena

Getting creative at Mariposa.

“Mariposa is a safe space for girls to challenge themselves and learn new things, whether they are campaigning for camp president, writing a comic book, or designing a sustainable garden.” – Brianna Colomb, Mariposa Camp Director

El Ranchito Day Camp – Long Beach

Scaling the climbing wall at El Ranchito.

“At El Ranchito, we provide a space that is safe and encourages independence. This fosters character growth and lasting friendships—an opportunity for each girl to shine exactly for who they are while exploring the world through an outdoor lens.” – Randi Helgesen, El Ranchito Camp Director

We’re so excited to share the summer camp experience with your Girl Scout! To learn more about our programs and register, visit our website. You can also subscribe to our seasonal camp newsletters here.

Plus, make sure you don’t miss a moment this summer: Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, where we’ll be regularly posting camp photos—your camper could be featured! Use the hashtag #gsglaCamp or tag us (@GirlScoutsLA on Instagram and Twitter) to join the fun on social media.