Plus, a chat with a Miami local to know.

🍪 Learn about the Girl Scouts’ latest and greatest cookie

Plus, a chat with a Miami local to know.

By Zach Schlein

Welcome to Monday, Miami.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the week ahead.

In the spirit of New Tropic newsletters past, we’re bringing back our Locals to Know series. Every Monday we’ll be ceding the spotlight to a local person or organization who’s made their mark on the larger Miami-Dade community.

Today we’re talking to Chelsea Wilkerson, the CEO of Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida. Chelsea has worked with the organization since 2016, and was kind enough to share her experiences with the group as well as spill the tea on how some of Miami’s most well-known ladies got an early start with the Girl Scouts.

Interested in being featured and want to share your own cool 305 project? Send an email to with the subject line “TNT Locals to Know 2022” and you might just see yourself in a future newsletter.

Without further ado, here’s more about Chelsea and the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida…

🗣 Locals to Know: Chelsea Wilkerson champions Miami’s Girl Scouts


(📸: Courtesy of Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida)

Name: Chelsea Wilkerson

Age: 45

Pronouns: she / her / hers

Social media: @cheltzinmiami 


What’s your favorite Miami memory? 

One of the things that makes Miami so magical is that it has pockets of the unexpected around every corner. That’s how I felt the first time I drove into Camp Mahachee (one of our Girl Scout properties located off Old Cutler Road, across from Fairchild Tropical Gardens). I had just moved from Coconut Grove to Pinecrest and had driven past the camp likely hundreds of times and had no clue it was there. I was sure I had the wrong address. And then I arrived: Driving down that long, winding path, leading into 11-acres of hammock land, I felt like Alice in Wonderland stepping back in time. After raising $3,337 through the sale of Girl Scout cookies, the site for Camp Mahachee was purchased in 1945 and dedicated for the use of the Girl Scouts in 1948. As the city evolved around it, Camp Mahachee has kept its original intent, look and feel, and continues to serve girls today as a place to learn from nature and how to preserve it, like it did 75 years ago. 

Tell us about your work, whether that’s  your job and/or any community or volunteer involvement. 

I have the incredible honor and responsibility to serve as CEO of Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida. Girl Scouts is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls and is dedicated to instilling courage, confidence, and character in girls who want to make the world a better place. Nationwide, Girl Scouts began in 1912, with the first Girl Scout troop forming in Miami in 1923 – Alligator Troop 1 in Coconut Grove. There are so many things that set Girl Scouts apart — our legacy of positive impact, our commitment to preparing girls for lives of leadership, our work in Life Skills, Entrepreneurship, STEM, and Outdoors — all of this grounded in a girl-led, girl-centered space. Take a look around at female leaders and business owners in Miami, and you’ll be surprised (or not!) to learn that they were Girl Scouts: Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Sweat Records’ Lolo Reskin, and Black Ambition’s Felecia Hatcher to name a few.

Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida has been here for nearly 100 years. In that time, we’ve been stewards of not only the org’s programs and legacy, but also properties like Camp Mahachee that, if not for our stewardship, would’ve likely been developed. We’re committed to ensuring girls have outdoor spaces where they can have impactful, meaningful experiences in a safe place and grow up to be stewards of our environment.

I am also on the board of Code/Art, a nonprofit whose mission is to increase the number of girls studying computer science. Its mission is consistent and in line with the work Girl Scouts is doing with STEM and in finding new, creative and relevant ways to connect with girls.

Pick a favorite local outdoor experience — what is it? What’re we doing? Who’s going with ya?

There are so many things that I love about living in Miami, it’s hard to choose just one. But since I love talking about Girl Scouts, my favorite Girl Scout memory was during a mangrove clean up at Deering Estate a few years ago. It was a Saturday and I wasn’t feeling up for trudging in mud that day. Neither were the girls. When we arrived, you could hear echoes of “eww,” “gross,” “it’s so muddy I don’t want to go in there,” and so on.

Five minutes later, as they started picking up pieces of plastic litter, their cries turned to “what about the animals.” They immediately started connecting the dots between pollution and animals. Mind you, this is the first generation that’s been raised largely indoors. It’s on us to get kids outside where they can have meaningful experiences that let them see, touch, and feel the environment and eventually be inspired to become conservationists. Seeing the girls go from being uncomfortable to being willing to get sweaty, muddy, and start brainstorming about what they could do to make the outdoors better for the animals was impactful. Our Girl Scout mission came to life for me that day.

What’s your favorite local Instagram or TikTok account and why? 

Confession time: I had to break up with TikTok because I had some time management issues. 😉 But I did keep my Instagram. Of course I follow all of my Girl Scout troops, and I love all things Only in Dade. All the social media noise aside, I’ve loved keeping up with my friends’ and families’ lives — photos of kids growing up, holidays, personal milestones — especially over the last two years where we haven’t been able to get out and about as much.

If you could eat only one meal from a local restaurant for the rest of your life, what would it be? 

I really like the Fried Green Tomato Stack at Whisk in South Miami. I knew the owner when she first opened at a tiny outpost in a stripmall on LeJeune. My neighbor brought me cupcakes (Mishas) that were sold at the restaurant. I went just to get the cupcakes and decided to stay and eat. I’m so glad I did. The tomatoes, the pimento, the bacon, the fried egg… there's nothing else like it.

What’s a project you’re working on (big or small) and how can our readers help you with it?

It’s Girl Scout cookie season! I am working on making the 2022 Girl Scout cookie season a successful, impactful, meaningful experience for girls across Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. Plus, we have a new cookie flavor, Adventurefuls, a brownie-inspired cookie topped with sea salted caramel.

Yes, Girl Scout cookies are a fun treat, but it’s what’s outside the cookie box that makes Girl Scout cookies extra special: girls learn goal setting, decision making, money management, marketing and communication skills, and people skills. And every cookie box you buy powers new girl experiences, whether it’s camping, sailing, hiking — girls use the proceeds from cookie sales to cover their adventures. With all that’s going on, girls are looking forward to connecting with each other and the community again (following all safety protocols). Cookies are on sale from Saturday, Jan. 8 through Monday, Feb. 21. You can find cookies nearby with our Cookie Finder on our website. Ask the girls what they love most about being a Girl Scout or what their troop will use their proceeds for. Their answers will surprise and delight you, and you’ll be helping them put their entrepreneurial skills into practice.

What are you looking forward to this year?

We’re planning for our 100th anniversary in 2023 when we will paint the town Girl Scout green! I’m newly remarried, grew the family through a blended family, and expanded the house, which I hope to get done in 2022. 


😎 Listen to dance music served up by talented South Florida DJs and producers during IN THE BOOTH presented by Oasis and Dark Shades (Wynwood)

✨ Feel the Wednesday night vibes during the weekly “Jenny From The Block Party” presented by The Void at Blackbird Ordinary (Brickell)


💃 Tear up the dance floor as Miami collective Autonomy hosts Darwin and December Beaches alongside the 305’s own Glue Boy and Daisy Cutter at Floyd (Downtown)

🇨🇺 Embark on an unforgettable misadventure to recover a precious family heirloom during the world premiere of "GRINGOLANDIA: A Cuban Journey" by playwright Hannah Benítez (Downtown)


🔊 Boogie down with superstar DJs Mike Servito and Terence Tabeau during the latest edition of Miami’s long-running Free Acid party at ATV Records (Downtown)


🍫 Savor sweet treats and greenery during Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s 15th Annual Festival of Chocolate — Saturday, Jan. 15 and Sunday, Jan. 16 (Coral Gables)

🍓 Take a bite out of a fruity tropical history tour and scavenger hunt during the Redland Riot Road Rallye (Redland)

🛍️ Kick off the new year with local vendors and live music at the open-air community event Market @ THesis (Coral Gables)

🎨 Celebrate creativity during the 71st Beaux Arts Festival of Art — Saturday, Jan. 15 and Sunday, Jan. 16 (Coral Gables)

🍽️ Enjoy a farm-fresh lunch served by Chef Niven Patel and Outstanding in the Field at Holman's Harvest Farm (Loxahatchee Groves)


🎼 Enjoy the glittering, harmonic sounds of The Polish Wieniawski Orchestra and a symphony spanning classic works by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, and more (Cutler Bay)

🍷 Sip quality wine and enjoy esoteric sounds supplied by Artime and Mutant Pete during the latest Tropico Virgo at Margot (Downtown)

👋 That’s all for today

Thanks for reading — the newsletter will be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled news roundup.

Take care,

Zach at The New Tropic

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