Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas Receives $1 Million Grant from the Harold Simmons Foundation

Grant to benefit the Girl Scout Leadership Experience at Camp Whispering Cedars – STEM Center of Excellence

Camp Whispering Cedars rendering

Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas (GSNETX) today announced that it received a $1 million grant from the Harold Simmons Foundation. The grant will allow GSNETX to further develop leadership programs and outdoor camp activities at Camp Whispering Cedars – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Center of Excellence. This is the second $1 million gift GSNETX has received benefiting Camp Whispering Cedars.  In honor of their gift, GSNETX will be recognizing their generosity by naming the Serena Connelly Archery Range and the Lisa K. Simmons Amphitheater.

The Harold Simmons Foundation gift will help transform Camp Whispering Cedars into a premier Outdoor Leadership Center and STEM Center of Excellence for girls.  The grant will also be used to build infrastructure and improve the existing facilities for the 21st century to better meet current and future programmatic needs. The camp is being redesigned as a “living laboratory” to provide girls the unique opportunity to explore the world of STEM, a strategic focus area for GSENTX, and associated careers in the outdoor arena with enhanced program offerings.  

 “This generous grant from the Harold Simmons Foundation will allow us to further provide Girl Scouts with a safe outdoor learning environment to develop leadership skills, confidence, and access to STEM mentors and opportunities,” said Colleen Walker, chief executive officer for the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas. “With more than 80 percent of future jobs requiring a background in STEM, it is important that we provide hands-on activities, showcase successful females in STEM careers, and develop confidence and problem-solving skills needed by our future leaders.”

Camp Whispering Cedars, a 96-acre camp located 20 minutes south of downtown Dallas, is the oldest and largest urban camp for girls in the Dallas area. The STEM Center of Excellence at Camp Whispering Cedars will provide an area where girls can interact with STEM professionals and explore all aspects of science, technology, engineering and math.

Studies show that girls lack role models and mentors, especially in high-paying STEM careers, which negatively impacts their college choices. Girls aspire to become leaders of their lives, but lack the confidence to do so. GSNETX creates an environment through Camp Whispering Cedars where girls can realize their full leadership potential and reach a successful future.

“It is an honor to award this grant to the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas as it will empower thousands of girls and provide them with much needed leadership development opportunities,” said president of the Harold Simmons Foundation, Lisa K. Simmons. “Our focus to improve the quality of life for girls is directly supported by the Girl Scouts and it is critical that we continue to develop the pipeline for female leadership.”

In 2010, GSNETX began a Master Property Plan to strategically outline the renovation of their four legacy Girl Scout camps into Centers of Excellence: Camp Bette Perot, Camp Whispering Cedars, Camp Gambill and Camp K. The four camps will be transformed to provide outdoor leadership development to girls in innovative ways and prepare girls to lead in the 21st century.

For information on how to join, volunteer, donate or reconnect to the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, call (800) 442-2260 or visit

About Harold Simmons Foundation

The Harold Simmons Foundation, established in 1988, is based in Dallas Texas and is funded primarily by Contran Corporation, a company controlled by Harold Clark Simmons. The Harold Simmons Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life of all members of our community. We support programs that promote human dignity, a safe and enriching environment, and comprehensive support systems for individuals, children, and families.

About Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas 

Girl Scouts is the premiere leadership organization and is the largest pipeline for female leadership. Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas serves nearly 33,000 girls and 17,000 adults in 32 northeast Texas counties. For information on how to join, volunteer, donate or reconnect to the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, call (800) 442-2260 or visit

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