Dicks tells Kitsap scouts about her ‘amazing ride’

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The Kitsap County chapter of the Girl Scouts of America hosted its fifth annual Leadership Luncheon on Wednesday, promoting the importance of scouting and featuring the wife of one of the state’s most prominent politicians as a speaker.

“I’ve had an amazing ride,” said Suzanne Dicks of her life as the wife of U.S. Rep Norm Dicks (D-Belfair). “Who would have known that that shy little Brownie, Suzy Callison, would have lived a life so full of adventure?”

During Dicks’ speech, which covered many of the highlights of her early life, a series of images of her meeting popes, presidents and politicians were projected onto a screen.

“Girl Scouts help young girls become leaders,” Dicks said. It is vital that we provide them with the courage, confidence and character necessary to support their success.”

Not all Dicks’ advice addressed such grand issues. She made a more practical recommendation, that Girl Scouts could help local people understand the importance of sunscreen and how it can prevent skin cancer.

“The weather here is so overcast that we don’t think that sun exposure would be a problem,” she said. “So when the sun comes out for a few hours we go outside and don’t take any precautions. You can see it on people my age, we have these little brown spots on our arms and legs. This happened because we didn’t take care of ourselves as children.”

The luncheon, which drew a crowd of more than 250 to Bremerton Harborside, raised $28,267 —?an amount that exceeded projections. This may have been attributable to an impassioned pitch by Department of Emergency Management Director Phyllis Mann, who instructed attendees to tear up the checks they brought and write new ones — for a higher amount.

She suggested increasing each check by about $4.50, which matches the amount many of the attendees would spend on latte drinks.

Mann also singled out several of the more prominent attendees — Superior Court Judge Sally Olsen and Central Kitsap Commissioner Josh Brown — issuing strict orders about next year’s luncheon.

“Next year, I expect that both of you will bring us three commissioners and three judges from Jefferson, Mason and Clallam counties,” she said, as Brown and Olsen seemed to squirm a bit.

During the luncheon Girl Scout officials announced the establishment of a new scholarship, intended to send daughters of disabled military personnel to summer camp.

In the name of John Middleton Parker, the scholarship covers tuition to Camp Robbinswold on Hood Canal.

Eligibility is based on household income and family size, and is open to girls who have already received financial aid.

The camp session runs from June 22 through Aug. 15. Applications are currently being accepted.

For more information, contact Mary McNair, (800) 767-6845, ext. 609, or e-mail

“Going to camp is very important,” said GSA Executive Director Grace Chien. “Kids who have grown up in an urban environment have no idea what it is like to be outdoors. They grow up in front of their computer. We spend so much of our effort preserving land, but we are not spending time preparing the next generation to value that land.

“Going to camp gives kids a chance to exercise their independence for the first time,” she said. “It allows them to go away for a week and live in a safe community, but is away from their parents’ watchful eyes. It is one of the first steps in becoming an adult. They learn lessons they cannot understand from a book. These are things that have to experience in order to learn.”

Chein also said that the merger of the two Girl Scout councils into the regional Girl Scouts of Western Washington will open the options available to local scouts.

“Local girls,”?she said, “now have six different camps they can attend in order to experience the great outdoors.”

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