The Weitz Company and Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council (GSACPC) are pleased to announce the completion of The Bob & Renee Parsons Leadership Center for Girls and Women at Camp South Mountain, which is an $18 million, year-round urban program center with camp appeal. Located on 14.5 acres in the South Mountain community in Phoenix, this fully ADA accessible complex increases the local council’s capacity to serve more girls with relevant programming, from aquatics to STEM, all year long.
“Our decision to transform our almost 70-year-old camp property in South Mountain into a leadership center emerged from our desire to expand our capacity to serve more girls, especially underserved populations, and better serve our existing members, of whom 85 percent live in the metro-Phoenix area,” said Tamara Woodbury, CEO of GSACPC. “This is extremely important to our mission, as 3-in-4 girls who participate in Girl Scouts say they became a leader in other parts of their lives because of Girl Scouting.”
The Parsons Leadership Center (formally Camp Sombrero) offers spaces for large and small meetings and trainings; tent and cabin camping; a demonstration kitchen and kitchen garden; two pools; a Girl Scout museum and shop; staff offices; a playing field and archery range; campfire circle; and labyrinths. Adult leaders and volunteers will also benefit from the leadership and skill-building training offered at the center, and the local council sees it helping to facilitate partnerships with surrounding community groups, local organizations and schools.
The lead architect on the project was Marlene Imirzian, who was a Girl Scout in her youth and understands the impact Girl Scouting has on girls’ lives. Weitz served as the construction partner on the project and supported GSACPC in other ways.
“Prior to construction, Weitz hosted two golf tournaments raising nearly $50,000 for the building fund,” said Chris Harrison, executive vice president and general manager for The Weitz Company. “Once construction began, we continued to support their fundraising efforts, including on-site tours throughout construction with current and potential donors to see first-hand the impact of their investment.
The project is pursuing LEED certification due to its sustainable construction and design qualities, including recycled building materials; the conservation of the native trees and plants on the property; xeriscaping; low-water-use fixtures; and abundant natural lighting from windows and skylights.
“The Parsons Leadership Center will have a lasting positive impact on Girl Scouts and the greater community for today and future generations,” Harrison said.