Profiles in Leadership

Girl Scouts’ vision for community and belonging

Christina Spicer was introduced to the Girl Scouts as a Brownie in the second grade. The organization showed her what a strong sense of community looked like from an early age.

In the fourth grade, Christina moved to Mesa with her mother and grandmother. At that time there weren’t any Girl Scouts chapter in Mesa, Arizona. However, Christina and her family quickly found the same sense of community in Mesa that was instilled in their family when Christina was a Brownie. Their community in Mesa rallied around Christina and her family to help raise her to become the leader she is today.

Christina Spicer, co-CEO, Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus-Pine Council

“We do not want to be the organization where the only time you see us is around cookie season. We want to be the organization that is there all the time, not just on behalf of our girls, but for the community that our girls live in.”

– Christina Spicer, Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, Co-CEO

Christina Spicer talks about how a strong sense of community helped her become the woman she is today

This article has been edited from the original interview for content, length and clarity.


Tell us where you are from, and where you grew up. What was childhood like for you, and when did you first get introduced to the Girl Scouts?


I was born in California, my parents got divorced and my mom, grandma, and I moved to Mesa, Arizona. That was a huge culture shock for me moving from Pasadena, California to Mesa, Arizona.

Growing up was wonderful because I was engaged in a lot of different activities. The first time I was introduced to Girl Scouts was in the second grade when I became a Brownie. I also cheered, I was involved in dance and theater and was also very involved in my faith community. 

My mom was a single parent and even though she worked really hard, we didn’t have a lot of resources, but we had this big community in Mesa. So, when I think about my childhood, it reminds me of how incredible Arizona is and how this amazing community rallied around helping my mom raise me.


It is very easy to see why you are so passionate about what the community in Arizona has to offer people. What drives you to do this community-based work that you are doing for Girl Scouts and Arizona as a whole?


This work is deeply personal to me. I think back to when I was growing up, there were a lot of people who could have said she’s just another kid raised by a single parent, what chances does she have?

And you know, there lot of different people that saw something inside of me. They took a chance and provided me with different opportunities. So for me, the opportunity to be able to help lead an organization that really empowers adults to give girls opportunities in our state is incredible. 

Another thing that drives me is this idea of connection and belonging, and being a part of a community.  We work with almost thirteen thousand girls, supported by nine thousand volunteers, in two-thirds of our state, and I think that is what the Girl Scouts are all about; it creates a space for girls to make a connection so that they can see their full potential and it creates a way for adults to invest in girls.


What do you look for when it comes to collaborating with other leaders and organizations that align with your social transformation goals?


I think about our shared values. Girl Scouts has a deep commitment to our promise in law. Something that I think is really cool about the Girl Scouts is that we’ve been around for 110 years, and during that time a lot of the ways that we serve girls have changed because the girls have changed. Think about 110 years ago, women didn’t have the right to vote, a lot of progress has been made, but at the same time, there still has not been enough progress made in that same timeframe.

We look to partner with those leaders who are really aligned with our promise in law because that will always be something that our girls can be rooted in. Our hope is that girls can see how the promise law gets lived out in our community, and hopefully, they carry it with them into adulthood.   


How would you encourage people to approach you?


We would love for all people to be involved in girl scouting. We like to joke there is a patch and a badge for everything. If you want to learn how to drive a car, there is a patch for that.

For us, the way that we look at partnerships is we want to be able to think about is a partnership with company “X” going to impact our girls in such a way that they see themselves in what they are exposed to as a part of our partnerships. Because we believe that if you can see it, you can be it. The representation of that thought really matters, so one of our girls can say ‘hey, I never thought about that before.’

Partnership for the Girl Scouts is all about discovering, self-connecting with others, and taking action for our community.


What kind of response do you all get after hosting an event or an engagement with your community partnerships?


What a great question. The one thing I think about is there’s always this deep question about the relevance of Girl Scouts. We have been around for 110 years, but what does that mean?  How are we showing our relevance? How are we serving the community?

We do not want to be the organization where the only time you see us is around cookie season. We want to be the organization that is there all the time, not just on behalf of our girls, but for the community that our girls live in. That is critical to us as an organization.

So, when we host those unique events or establish partnerships, the response that we want to get is, ‘when can we do it again?’ When can we have your girls out here, when can we have your staff out here? How can we work with Girl Scouts together to make this a community where all Arizonans feel a sense of pride and belonging for our state?

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