A young girl named Janet began her scouting journey as a Girl Guide in Ontario, Canada in 1961 and later as a Junior in Southern California in 1963. It wasn’t long before she discovered the meaning of “bleeding green” as she filled her days and subsequent years with awesome trips, selling cookies, getting outdoors, engaging in community service projects, and earning badges. Soon after her time as a Girl Scout came to an end, she became a Troop Leader, eager to help girls develop essential life skills and confidence necessary to transform into strong, capable women. As she was helping to prepare girls for a lifetime of leadership, she would soon find out she was pregnant with a little girl of her own.
In 1973, Sarah Betts - whom you may know as GSEWNI’s Troop Support, Leadership & Training Coordinator – was born into a household accustomed to embracing the exciting array of opportunities available to young and adolescent minds. Her mother was bold, honest, and determined. She thought outside the box, embraced the unfamiliar, and found creative ways to take action. These traits define girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. It was inevitable - Sarah was destined to be a Girl Scout.
Sarah attended her first Girl Scout Day Camp at the age of two in June of 1975. Her Girl Scout family grew even bigger, stronger, and more unified in the mentality of Girl Scout sisterhood when siblings, Lisa and Jessica, joined the family troop in 1976 and 1978. They later welcomed brother, Matt, into the family in 1980. He too, developed a strong interest in leadership development when he became a Boy Scout.
Sarah was finally able to enroll in Girl Scouts as an officially registered member when she entered first grade. She continued through the program to earn her Silver Award and had no plans to stop there. From the beginning, she had her sights set on the most prestigious award a Girl Scout can earn: The Gold Award.
The 1980’s Girl Scout Gold Award description instructed potential recipients to “identify your personal talents and strengths that can be put into action” and “decide on an area that you care about in which you would like to do something to demonstrate your commitment to yourself, your community, and the future.” Sarah had no trouble at all identifying a need within her community and focusing her efforts on bettering an issue in which she cared about. She quickly partnered with the Women's Recovery unit at Anna Ogden Hall, which aims to provide warm, welcoming, home-like shelters for families of women who participate in their free, grace-based recovery program. With Sarah’s background in Girl Scouts, it’s no surprise she gravitated to an organization that offers women and children a safe place to thrive, while fostering dignity and personal growth. During her work at Anna Ogden Hall, Sarah taught various parts of Girl Scout programming to the unit’s young residents. In addition to this partnership, she also taught the Girl Scout Basic 8 Outdoor Skills to girls within her community, hoping to spread the joy of outdoor experiences to her peers. In 1989, Sarah Betts became a Gold Award Girl Scout.
“As a result of Girl Scouts and my Gold Award project, I followed my passions into college and my future career in Girl Scouting. I majored in social work at EWU, with a particular interest in at-risk youth, and had the opportunity of completing an internship at Hutton Settlement Children’s Home - a safe and stable home for children and a fantastic alternative to foster care,” said Sarah. “I spent 12 summers at Camp Four Echoes,” she continued, “five as the Camp Director and another two overseeing the camp program. I have been with GSEWNI since 2000, in various positions all with the same goal of inspiring girls and volunteers to not only become the best leaders they can be, but to also enjoy their journey in Girl Scouts.”
As a Gold Award Girl Scout, Sarah shows what it means to live in a girl’s world – a place where girls can be and do anything they put their hearts, minds, and energy into. She believed in herself, nurtured her potential, discovered her inner WOW, and worked to make the world a better place. She did it all while having a lot of fun, building a lifetime of skills, and making lasting friendships.
Speaking of friendships, in June of 1991 - Sarah arrived to her first day of staff training at Camp Four Echoes, ready to start her journey as a camp counselor so she could continue her and her mother’s work of making it possible for girls to enjoy the outdoors. “I was so nervous. I knew Girl Scouts, I knew Camp Four Echoes, but I didn’t know any of the other camp staff. As I was getting out of the car, a super bubbly, energetic, friendly camp greeter came running over to me and said, “Welcome to Camp Four Echoes!” Little did I know she was going to become one of my future co-workers at GSEWNI and more significantly, a lifelong best friend.”
Stay tuned for part two of our three-part series of “Gold Award Girl Scouts on staff at GSEWNI…” debuting in next month’s newsletter.