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Meet the Rangers: Lon Everett, Camp Hardee

March 24, 2015

Camp Ranger Lon

By Meridith Orr, Program Executive

This is the first in a series of interviews with our Camp RangersStay tuned to get to know each ranger at all of our camps!

Think about the last time you visited one of our Council camps. Maybe you hiked the trails, made s’mores over a campfire or enjoyed a meal or activity in our dining hall. You may not realize it, but there is someone who makes all those adventures possible for Girl Scouts, someone who works behind the scenes to ensure our campers have everything they need.

At Camp Hardee, that someone is Lon Everett. Known to most campers as “Mr. Bluejeans,” he is the camp ranger responsible for keeping the property in tip-top shape.   In addition to sprucing up the Rotary Lodge this past winter, Lon has helped establish new trails, re-open abandoned trails and re-discover trail markers. Always ready with a smile and a joke, Lon works tirelessly to provide a fantastic experience for Camp Hardee’s visitors. Recently, he took a break from his rounds to answer a couple of questions for our Girl Talk blog.

Q:  How did you get started being a camp ranger?

A: About 25 years ago, I was referred to a church camp site in my home state of New Jersey as a facilities manager. I started working there and learned a lot of stuff on the job.

 

Q: How long have you worked with Girl Scouts and our council?

A: This has been the first Girl Scout council for me– eight years this July. Seems like yesterday!

 

Q: What’s a fun fact about Camp Hardee?

A: As I sit along the Pamlico river seeing the brightly colored cabins – I am watching the eagles fly. Just saw two young eagles flying with an adult eagle – the first time I’ve ever seen that! They were right on top of us.

 

Q: What do you love best about being a camp ranger?

A: Watching campers grow up to be adults and have children who come to camp and then become campers – watching that progression.

 

Q: What’s the ONE thing you do around camp that no one would expect that you do?

A: Wash dishes! I help out in the kitchen in the summer sometimes with that.

 

Q: If you could teach someone something about your job, what would it be?

A: The proper way to use a chain saw. It becomes part of the job as a ranger to get firewood.

Q: What do you do in the winter?

A: Cut up trees, get firewood ready for the upcoming year, get the buildings ready for the winter, pick up leaves. All that stuff that needs doing when no one’s around. Mostly inside work. Last year is when I did all the electrical work and floors in the rotary lodge. The work on the trails is easier with no leaves. This year I’ll be cutting the kudzu out with a bush hog and tractor.   That way people can see the woods and not just kudzu this summer!

 

Q: What do you like best about Girl Scouts?

A: The comradery and how everyone works together. Seeing people from all walks of life, all over the state, getting to hear the stories of where people are from.

 

Q: Do you have a favorite camping tip or story related to Girl Scouts?

A: Funny story. Two summers ago a camper came up to me who was eight or nine years old. “Mr. Bluejeans, I have a project I want to do for you!” She wanted to put pads on the screen doors at the point where they hit the frame so no one would wake up at night. She was as serious as can be. She really wanted to do that kind of work. I told her I thought it was a great idea.

 

Q: What’s your earliest memory of camping as a kid?

A: In high school, I went camping with my church youth fellowship. We sold pumpkin bread all through the winter to go to Florida for a week to Disneyworld (which had only been open two years at the time). We were up for two nights straight over the weekend baking pumpkin bread. It helped save the cost big time. There were about 30 of us. We spent a whole week camping out, plus we went to Disney World and Cypress Gardens.

 

Girl Scouts visiting Camp Hardee have a great friend in Mr. Bluejeans. Next time you see him, please be sure to thank him for the firewood, the fun trail hike, the lovely Rotary Lodge or the Kudzu-free view of the woods! And if you have a question for our rangers, please be sure to leave one in the comments!

 

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Journey that makes you say WOW!

March 19, 2015

WOW Journey - Brownies - Girl Scouts

By Kim Henry, Program Director

Calling all Brownie Leaders! Looking for a how-to guide to incorporate Journey’s into your troop year plan? You’ve found it! This post is all about at what Journeys are, how to make them fun for your girls, and different resources available to help you shine even brighter as a troop leader. Ready? Let’s go!

WHAT ARE JOURNEYS?

There are three Leadership Journeys that girls can choose from!

It’s Your World – Change It!

It’s Your Planet – Love It!

It’s Your Story – Tell It!

On every Leadership Journey, everything girls do – whether it’s performing science experiments, creating art projects, cooking simple meals or learning to protect the planet’s water supply – is aimed at giving them the benefits of Girl Scouting. In each Journey a girl discovers her special skills and talents, connects with others, and takes action to make the world a better place.

Journeys are a great way to incorporate fun and leadership skills for girls while also providing a framework and guide for leaders. One of the most common misconceptions I hear is how leaders feel they need to follow the leader guide word-for word. That, my friend, is far from true!

The leader guides are just that, a guide, which you can customize to fit the needs of you and your troop. What’s important about the Journeys is achieving the outcomes of each so girls discover, connect, and take action throughout the activities and experiences. As long as the girls are achieving the primary outcomes, you can choose your own path on how to get there.

HOW DO I USE JOURNEYS?

We’re so glad you asked! Here we’ll walk you through some simple steps to get started. Let’s use our Wonders of Water (WOW) Journey as an example.

First, let’s find out what the outcomes are for this journey. Looking through the WOW Journey, you’ll see an entire page dedicated to the outcomes girls should achieve as they work on and earn leadership awards along the way. (We recommend opening this page while reading the rest of this post to help guide you along the way!)

Using the example above, let’s focus on the Love Water Award (the first leadership award within the Journey). The outcomes for this award are:

  1. Girls can show two things they know and love about water.
  2. Girls make and carry out one personal promise to protect water.

Now that we know the outcomes, we can begin to think about how our troop/girls might go about achieving these goals. So, where do we start? Well, what are your troops interests? Do your girls enjoy hands-on activities? Or perhaps they love going on day trips? Involving your troop in answering these questions keeps it girl-led and helps them identify and pursue their passions!

Great – you’ve got some insight into what inspires your girls and get them excited – now it’s time to utilize your resources!

  1. Volunteer Toolkit: Brownie Troop Leaders have access to our handy online Volunteer Toolkit (VTK). The VTK offers lots of troop meeting plans (similar to the sessions outlined in the Journey books) giving you great ideas to help achieve the outcomes listed above. New to the VTK? Use our online video tutorials to learn about all the great functionality, meeting plans, and resources! You can login into the VTK here.

  2. Pinterest: Another great resources that our leaders and staff love is Pinterest! Here’s a fun activity I found and don’t forget to look at our council Pinterest boards – there are tons of great resources and information just for Brownies!

  3. Experienced Leaders: I bet you also didn’t know that you have another AMAZING resource right in your backyard — other leaders!! Experienced leaders are your most valuable resource as they have tons of ideas and resources to help! There’s lots of ways to connect with other leaders including contacting your Service Area Unit for recommendations, participating in our troop mentor program (where we will match you up with an experienced leader!) or joining our Troop Leaders Facebook Group. You can also email us any time with questions at JourneyHelp@nccoastalpines.org.

Lastly, Journey’s don’t need to take all year. You can finish a Journey in a few sessions or meetings. To help you get started on your first award, here is an outline that I have used for my Jump Into Journeys: WOW! Program. I used activities from the leaders guide, Pinterest, and more. I customized it for a group of 20-30 girls to complete in two hours – and it was a total blast!

Remember – Journeys are all about the experience! Your girls will feel so accomplished as they make their way through the leadership awards and learn a whole lot along the way!

Do you have resources you’ve used to customize or plan Journeys? Share them in the comments below!

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