With TEP’s support, Girl Scouts in Southern Arizona are accomplishing amazing things and being transformed into confident, courageous young leaders.

“Girl Scouts is about so much more than just cookies,” said Nicole Hopkins, Innovation Program Manager for TEP and leader of a troop of 10 Girl Scouts – one of them her daughter – who range from the fourth through the ninth grades.

“It offers girls the opportunity to try new things, succeed or fail safely and learn from those experiences with the support of other girls,” she said. “It’s so rewarding to see those ‘a-ha’ moments on their faces and see them become more confident in themselves and their abilities.”

One of the girls in Hopkins’ troop joined to overcome her shyness and fears. A zip lining experience allowed her to face her fears and stretch her comfort zone. “She was petrified, but I encouraged her and stayed with her every step of the way,” Hopkins said. “This experience transformed her. She is now one of the first to speak up or step up, and her mother cannot believe the transformation.”

Ryan Matchett, Senior Compensation & Benefits Analyst, also is a Girl Scout leader and has a daughter active in the scouts. He and his wife started a new troop three years ago when his daughter’s school was unable to fund a Girl Scouts program and none of the other local troops had capacity for new scouts.

“The Girl Scouts are largely about empowerment and self-confidence,” said Matchett. “Scouting helps girls excel and find out what’s really valuable about themselves. That was our personal driver for getting our daughter involved.”

Matchett joined three of his TEP colleagues to go “Over the Edge” last year to raise more than $6,000 for the Girl Scouts. Strapped in safety harnesses, the foursome rappelled down a 17-story building in central Tucson for the fundraising event.

Both Matchett and Hopkins invest their time and talents in the Girl Scouts because they believe in developing courage, confidence and character in every GIRL – an acronym that stands for Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader.

Many other TEP employees support the Girl Scouts or serve in leadership roles. Kimberly Bowie, Human Resources Project Coordinator, and Gloria Tileston-Tharp, Transmission & Distribution Supervisor, serve on the board of directors for the Girls Scouts of Southern Arizona. Bowie was one of the four who “Went Over the Edge” with Matchett, and was a troop leader for two years before joining the board.

Teams of our employees also volunteer for the “cookie drop” in January. Working at several locations, volunteers pull cookie orders for the troops and then load up thousands of the coveted confections into the troop leaders’ vehicles. Money raised from cookie sales stays with the local troops to fund their activities, community service projects, camp and trips.

In addition to TEP’s volunteerism, the company sponsors the Girl Scout’s annual “Thin Mint Sprint” family fun walk and run in September and hosts educational workshops.

Last fall, TEP hosted a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) workshop at its downtown headquarters for about 40 scouts from several area troops. Organized by TEP’s Government Relations team, the half-day workshop featured hands-on activities that involved building simple circuits using basic materials and then experimenting with currents. The scouts also earned a “TEP Power Patch” for learning about the different types of energy resources – solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric – used by utilities in different parts of the country.

“TEP has been a vital partner in the growth and sustainability of Girl Scouting across Southern Arizona – from providing our movement with board leadership to investing in girls through program support in STEM and environmental stewardship,” said Debbie Rich, Chief Executive Officer for the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona. “TEP embodies corporate responsibility at its finest and we are grateful for their continued support.”