‘Storybook ending’ for Girl Scouts’ 17th annual urban campout fundraiser

Co-chairs Jim Tiffany and Patti Roscoe (L-R), San Diego Council President Todd Gloria, Girl Scouts’ Board Chair Debbie Rider, CEO Jo Dee Jacob and board member Rick Brooks, and guest Susan Favrot contributed to the success of the Girl Scouts’ Urban Campout fundraiser.

Debbie Rider of Carmel Valley recently played a key role in the success of Urban Campout: Adventures in Wonderland, Girl Scouts San Diego’s 17th annual “fun fundraiser for grownups.”

Rider, who chairs the board of directors, also served on the event planning committee.

More than 500 guests attended, bringing in $360,000 to help keep Girl Scouting available and affordable for 30,000 local girls.

Del Mar residents Captain Gisele Bonitz, Phil and Catherine Blair, Marty Cooper and Arlene Harris, Linda and Mel Katz, Stephanie and Don McGuire, Denise Lew and Dana Parks, along with Lee and Elliott Scott were among revelers at the campout.

San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria was the honorary chairman, teaming up with Co-chairs Patti Roscoe and Jim Tiffany.

Rider told the audience how Girl Scouting develops leadership skills, helping girls build courage, confidence and character through activities ranging from camp and travel to STEM and cultural arts programs. She invited attendees to volunteer as Girl Scout leaders for girls in every ZIP code.

“We encourage girls to dream big, plan their own projects and reach into their communities to address needs they see from their own perspective,” said Rider.

She relayed a story about Lilly Grossman, a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient who mounted a life-saving campaign from the seat of her wheelchair. Lilly created an emergency plan at her high school to safely evacuate students living with disabilities. She also hosted a “Day in the Chair” event so students could experience first-hand what it’s like to get around campus without being able to walk.

Rider also shared anecdotes about the Girl Scouting experiences of her daughter, Emersen. During the summer, the Carmel Valley Brownie went to sleep-away camp for the first time, where she made new friends, rode horses and explored nature.

Marty Cooper with costumed Girl Scouts Magdalena Umada and Nicole Kellis. Cooper’s wife, Arlene Harris, (not pictured) also attended the fundraiser.

Urban Campout volunteers transformed Girl Scouts San Diego’s Balboa Park property into a whimsical party venue for the “Alice in Wonderland”-themed event. Guests in costumes and TGIF attire played flamingo croquet, danced under the stars among topiaries, created fanciful Mad Hatter headwear, savored gourmet fare, posed with Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and bid on 144 auction packages.

Wells Fargo was the presenting sponsor. Others were Qualcomm, Nadine and Carlo Daleo, Chevron, Cubic Corporation, Delphi, Private Wealth Management, Tipton Honda, Barbara and David Groce, the San Diego Chargers, Sycuan Casino, Cox Communications, Holland America Line, Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers, KPBS, the San Diego Zoo and Southwest Airlines.

Underwriters were Roseanne and Rick Brooks, Regina and Shea Buckley, Sandy Brue and Chris Carstens, Etet Deguia, the Fischer/Wang family, Tange and Tom Gavin, Marcia and David Gill, Karen and Andy Hewitt, Roscoe and Tiffany, Sylvia and Tom Vecchione, and Marlene and Eric Williams.

Proceeds from the Urban Campout: Adventures in Wonderland fundraiser will help support local Girl Scouting programs and activities. Among those benefiting are the 800-plus Girl Scouts who live in Carmel Valley.

Girl Scouting provides the nation’s best leadership experience for girls in grades K-12. The annual membership fee of just $15 opens doors to a wide array of extracurricular activities and experiences, including marine biology and veterinary workshops, theater classes, camping trips, world travel and digital technology programs. Girls and adult volunteers can join at any time of year. When more adults step forward, more girls have a chance to be Girl Scouts!

For information about Girl Scouting opportunities in Carmel Valley, contact Volunteer Service Coordinator Linda Howington, at, or 619-610-0729.