Girl Scouts Unveil Camp Bette Perot Aquatic Center

Perot Foundation gift bolsters $13 million capital campaign

Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas (GSNETX), the largest pipeline for female leadership in North Texas, held a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 25 to celebrate the new Bette Perot Aquatic Center at Camp Bette Perot. The facility was made possible by a $1.2 million gift from the Perot Foundation, the largest gift in council history.

The Camp Bette Perot improvements are part of GSNETX’s $13 million capital campaign to begin the transformation of its four camps into 21st century Centers of Excellence that will best serve the girls of today. This is the largest investment in Girl Scouts in the history of the council and highlights the value of investing in girls to change our communities.

“The Bette Perot Aquatic Center is the first step in our vision to transform the Girl Scout Leadership Experience in our second century of serving girls, “ said Jennifer Bartkowski, CEO of Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas. “Girls today are spending less time outdoors, yet studies show that is where Girl Scouts can best teach leadership, resilience, teamwork and other important life skills. We have a responsibility to provide the best resources and facilities to the girls we serve and we are grateful that the Perot family wanted to invest in that work.”

Camp Bette Perot, a 1,400-acre property located in Palestine, Texas, was donated by Ross and Margot Perot in honor of his sister and lifetime Girl Scout, Bette Perot. Camp Bette Perot is the largest Girl Scout camp in Northeast Texas, serving more than 10,000 girls and adults each year. It is a Center of Excellence for equestrian activities, and is home to 70 horses, a ropes course, archery and many other camp activities. The new Aquatic Center, which opened to resident campers this month, includes a screened-in program pavilion and building that will not only provide a great swim center for the girls but will also provide the infrastructure to enhance the leadership experience on site.

This represents a larger vision to invest significantly in the outdoor leadership program in Northeast Texas, while ensuring that the camp experience is still affordable to the 95 percent of Girl Scouts who are part of low to moderate income families. In the future, Camp Bette Perot will be redesigned with additional amenities, updated facilities and more progressive programming for today’s Girl Scouts.

“We are so proud to support the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas in their work to provide girls with a safe outdoor learning environment to develop leadership skills and confidence,” said Margot Perot of the Perot family. “We hope the Aquatic Center will be a highlight for the thousands of young girls attending Camp Bette Perot each year.”

Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas’ commitment to the outdoor leadership experience extends next to Camp Whispering Cedars, a 96-acre camp located 20 minutes south of downtown Dallas. This camp is the oldest and largest urban camp for girls in the Dallas area and will be transformed into a STEM Center of Excellence, a “living laboratory” for girls to experience STEM activities in the outdoors and explore career opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.   While more than 2,200 girls and adults will continue to use Camp Whispering Cedars, groundbreaking on this project is slated for fall 2014 with the first buildings opening in spring of 2015.

For more information about the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas capital campaign, contact Jennifer Bartkowski at jbartkowski@gsnetx.org 

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