At 220 acre Camp Dorothy Thomas, Florida Girl Scouts learn life lessons

This article is part of a paid partnership with the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida

The Girl Scouts of West Central Florida serve a huge population of young minds here in the Tampa Bay region. This nonprofit is about so much more than just cookies, camp, and crafts. The Girl Scouts offer opportunities to excel and grow in areas that these ambitious kids are passionate about. Additionally, these girls attain leadership skills you wouldn’t be able to cultivate anywhere else. It’s at the 220 acre Camp Dorothy Thomas that so many Girl Scouts begin their journey.

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Before I continue, if you are currently on the hunt for Girl Scout Cookies, our friends at I Love the ‘Burg broke down where you can find them in St. Petersburg, and throughout the Tampa Bay region. We highly recommend you treat yourself to Thin Mints, Lemon Ups (an excelsior tea cookie) and the brand new Adventurfuls (chocolate, caramel, yes, please).

An outdoor amphitheater at Camp Dorothy Thomas

Girl Scouts craft the ultimate education at Camp Dorothy Thomas

Camp Dorothy Thomas offers more than 220 acres of beautiful campgrounds. The Challenge Course at the camp features the longest zipline in west central Florida (and possibly the longest in the state). There’s also space for archery, and an observation deck constructed entirely of reclaimed wood crafted by the visiting Girl Scouts. Campers can also enjoy opportunities for pottery (kilns are available on site), fire safety and fire building, and rock climbing.

Girl Scouts are taught proper first aid procedures at Camp Dorothy Thomas

On our visit lifelong Girl Scout Ayla Yebba described her commitment to Girl Scouts, and what being a Girl Scout has taught her. “The goal of the program is build girls up and give them opportunities,” said Yebba. “Right now it’s helping me figure out my passions in life for broadcast journalism and communications.” Yebba is currently part of the GSWCF’s Media Girls Group.

A selection of Girl Scout Cookies displayed inside a Yurt at Camp Dorothy Thomas

Gaining leadership, entrepreneurship skills at camp

“The number one thing I would have to take away from the Girl Scouts is definitely the friendships I’ve made,” said Yebba. In addition to Girl Scouts, Yebba has also served in student government all throughout her high school experience, and she is now class president.

“The Girl Scout Organization has helped me step out of my comfort zone, and helped me get the most out of everyone who serves on the council.” In short, Girl Scouts teaches you how to get things done.

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These programs teach young girls soft skills that wind up having a lifelong impact on their lives. Those interested in learning more about what Girl Scouts offers can visit the GSWCF’s official website. Let’s not forget, those cookies we mentioned earlier don’t sell themselves. Girl Scout Troops gain experience in entrepreneurship as they operate booths, handle inventory, manage sales (cash and card) and figure out how to best use those revenues once the season is over.

Native Plant scavenger hunt books created by Girl Scout Troops

Where to get Girl Scout Cookies in Tampa

Reminder: Cookie Booths open February 18. Here’s where you can find Girl Scout Cookies in Tampa:

  • Feb 18: Walmart Neighborhood Market #5760, 1601 W. Kennedy Blvd
  • Feb 19: Publix #0628, 243 Bayshore Blvd
  • Feb 19: Walmart Neighborhood Market #5760, 1601 W. Kennedy Blvd
  • Feb 20: Publix #0628, 243 Bayshore Blvd

The GCFW also operates The Tampa Leadership Center, located off Hillsborough Ave and Eisenhower Blvd, just across from the Tampa Airport. You can explore the Girl Zone, check out books and more from the resource center, and even get the latest gear at the Girl Scout Store.

Follow Girl Scouts of West Central Florida on Facebook and Instagram.

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