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Soon, a summer job with the Girl Scouts will offer other job training, too

four women on a high ropes course
Marie Cordes
/
Girl Scouts of Western Ohio
Counselors from Camp Whip Poor Will during summer 2022.

Girl Scouts of Western Ohio is one of six councils nationwide receiving a federal grant to expand employment and training opportunities to historically marginalized communities. The $2.5 million shared grant from the Department of Labor aims to provide on-the-job training to underserved young people.

"The grant is to create workforce pathways for targeted demographics: rural individuals, low income, minority, disabled, LGBTQ+," explains Rhonda Starghill, chief development and marketing officer for Girl Scouts of Western Ohio.

"We want to provide additional support to young people between the ages of 18 and 21, who are working at our camps as counselors. We want to enhance the camp counseling job with other skills — things like resume writing, interview skills, networking — so people can understand that working at camp is more than just a job, it can really lead to a career in camp or other things as well."

Other job skills training will include conflict resolution, interpersonal communication, creativity and problem solving, time management and prioritization, and leadership, the council says.

The council hires more than 60 employees to staff its two overnight summer camps: Camp Whip Poor Will in Morrow and Camp Libbey in Defiance. Staff live on-site. The camp season runs eight weeks (non-concurrently and the same employees staff both locations) with two weeks of training.

Starghill says they're committed to recruiting 15 counselors from the targeted areas, though all employees will undergo the enhanced training.

Starghill views the program as an extension on the Girl Scouts' mission since most of the camp counselors are women.

"It's important for us because we need to make sure that we have (a) sufficient number of counselors to meet the demand for summer camps. But, also, we want to make sure that our counselors reflect our girls and reflect our communities."

She says the council is working with agencies, universities, and other organizations like OhioMeansJobs and Cincinnati Works to find and recruit the employees they're hoping to serve.

Information about summer camp employment can be found at www.gswo.org/careers.

Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Prior to joining Cincinnati Public Radio, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She enjoys snow skiing, soccer and dogs.