United Way Grant Allows GSAK to Reach More Girls in Southeast Alaska

Alaskans know that that travel within the state can be more complicated and expensive than travel to the Lower 48. This is especially true in Southeast Alaska where only three towns – Haines, Skagway, and Hyder – are connected to a railway to the Lower 48. The two most populous cities, Juneau and Ketchikan, are accessible only by air or sea.   

Girl Scouts of Alaska (GSAK) serves 26 communities in Southeast Alaska. With the help of more than 200 volunteers, Member Service Specialists Taralee Ellis and Sheila Miller deliver Girl Scout troops, camp, and year-round events to more than 600 girls. 

Taralee serves Juneau and the upper Southeast region, while Sheila's efforts are concentrated on Ketchikan and the lower Southeast region. 

Outdoor education in Ketchikan

"Travel costs are a big issue for us," Sheila said. "In order to deliver our programs, we need to be able to physically reach remote communities.”     

Thanks to a Community Impact Grant from United Way of Southeast Alaska, GSAK will be able to deliver education and health initiatives to Southeast Alaska. These initiatives include:

  • Women of Science events in five major Southeast communities;
  • Friendship, fun, and age-appropriate activities through troop membership;
  • The Girl Scout Leadership Experience, which engages girls in discovering themselves, connecting with others, and taking action to make the world a better place; and 
  • Camps and outdoor education. 

Sitka day camp

“It’s great to be working with United Way of Southeast Alaska,” Taralee said. “They have been continually supportive of youth in this area. The grant will help us offset travel costs and deliver programs and activities in our region." 

Girls involved in Girl Scouts contribute to the improvement of their communities through their abilities, leadership skills, and cooperation with others while making friends and having lots of fun. 

Mary Becker, chair of United Way of Southeast Alaska, said, “We always have more demand and requests for funding than we are able to give, but in this competitive grant process Girl Scouts of Alaska ranked high in meeting targeted needs in the community. We are happy to partner with Girl Scouts to meet community needs.”

United Way of Southeast Alaska is an independently governed, non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening lives, helping people, and improving community conditions in Southeast Alaska. For information, visit www.unitedwayseak.org.