Posts Tagged ‘camp mary atkinson’


Meet the Rangers: Don Perry, Camp Mary Atkinson

June 22, 2015
Camp Ranger Don

Camp Ranger Don

By Meridith Orr, Program Executive

Your camp experience is made up of so many different things. Maybe you hiked the trails, made s’mores over a campfire or enjoyed a meal or activity in the dining hall. In all those experiences, there is someone behind the scenes who makes adventures possible for Girl Scouts by ensuring campers have everything they need.

At Camp Mary Atkinson, Don Perry not only maintains the property, he is known as a historian of the community surrounding this beautiful camp. One conversation with Don can reveal all sorts of fun and little-known facts, which makes him a fantastic resource for visiting troops! Recently, Don took a short break from his winter duties to visit with us about his job.

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

A:   By working part time at Camp Graham in 1999. I was there for five years and Camp Mary Atkinson needed a ranger. I thought I’d like to try it, so I did, and got the job. I used to work full-time as a materials manager for a plastics company in Granville County.

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

A: Five years part-time before being full-time ranger at CMA in 20015.



Q: What’s a fun fact about the camp you manage?

A: The history of the families who lived here: the Richardsons and the Atkinsons.  It surprises everyone that this was the birthplace of the creator of Vicks VapoRub, and that he was living around here when he did that – he had a drugstore in downtown Selma. His name was Lunsford Richardson II.


Another fun fact about the camp; it’s like Noah’s ark. I’ve seen at least two of everything out here. There’s a lot turkeys out here, even if you’ve never seen them.



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

A: I like so much it’s hard to say! I get a chance to be outside and experience so many different things. My job is so varied.



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

A: They probably don’t know I spend a long time walking the property, especially in the woods, to ensure everything looks how it should.



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

A: I’d teach them how rewarding it is to see the kids enjoy learning and having fun from the land. I’ve been around long enough that there are former Girl Scouts who are now mothers bringing their kids here and that’s something to see!



Q: What do you do in the winter?

A: Forestry work. Landscaping, making improvements or changes for the upcoming year that needs to be done.



Q: What do you like best about Girl Scouts?

A: I like the opportunity it allows the girls. It’s a great organization because there’s so much there for them to take advantage of.



Q: Do you have a favorite camping tip/story for Girl Scouts reading this blog?

A: Remember you’re living in the woods and it’s a bit different than being at home. So, be prepared. I like the buddy system, and I think that’s the greatest invention in the world for Girl Scouting.



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

A: I camped a whole lot with my family. I grew up camping on Kerr Lake. My fondest memory is the campfires. It seems to make it all special. I like to camp in the mountains when I go on vacation. I still love it. You’d think with a job like this, you’d get tired of it and want to go to a hotel, but I still love to be outside.


Girl Scouts visiting Camp Mary Atkinson have a great friend in Ranger Don. Next time you see him, please be sure to thank him for the fun stories, the safety of the property and the firewood! Do you have any questions for our rangers? Leave one in the comments!


“Girl Scout camp is my life!”

April 28, 2015

Camp Mary Atkinson Girl Scouts North Carolina NC Coastal Pines

By Deanna Ludwick, Senior Camp & Outdoor Program Director      

This year not only marks my eighth year at Camp Mary Atkinson, but my 20th summer at Girl Scout camp. Yes, that’s right – 20! 20 extraordinary summers filled with girls canoeing and kayaking in lakes, trying their hand at archery, challenging their fears, learning to swim, spending the night away from home the first time, singing silly camp songs, eating gooey S’mores, making new friends… the list goes on and on.

It truly has been 20 FUN years! Seeing campers return year after year and seeing many become counselors and camp staff, means I’m not the only one having a great time at camp! One of our former campers and now camp staff truly says it best – “a world without summer camp is just not as great.” And here’s more about what camp has meant to her:

Camp has had and continues to have such a profound impact on who I am and who I strive to be. Camp is the most amazing place where you can gain the most valuable experiences and lessons you need in the real world.

It was at camp where I first learned how to be independent from my parents and friends. I learned how important it is to make decisions for myself, but also how to cooperate and work together in groups. I learned how to love and appreciate all of nature, I learned the importance of being kind to everyone no matter what, and most importantly I learned how important it is to be unapologetically myself and to be comfortable with whom I am.

Both as a camper and as a staff member I have made timeless friendships with people from all different walks of life, and the most amazing part of camp friendships is that no matter how long it has been since you saw each other last, it seems like no time apart has passed at all. I can, without a doubt in my mind, say that without Girl Scout camp I do not know who I would be today, and honestly I am very proud of whom I have become. Girl Scout camp is my life!

As this story highlights, camp provides an opportunity for girls to build confidence, learn real-world lessons, and become a part of a supportive community of friends and mentors. In addition, spending time in the outdoors helps girls explore leadership, build skills, and develop an appreciation for nature. And we can’t forget about the FUN – girls greatly enjoy the outdoor experiences they have in Girl Scouts!

So why wait? Extend your Girl Scout experience this summer at Camp Mary Atkinson. Not only we will celebrate a new summer at Girl Scout Camp, we will celebrate our campers as they grow and learn, try new things in a safe environment, make new friends, and have FUN!

Did you know, more than 90 girls will be spending a week at Camp Mary Atkinson at little or no cost to them because of support of people like you? Tax-deductible donations to the Campership Fund help us send hundreds of girls to camp every summer who might not otherwise be able to afford to go. And now through June 1st, your gift is worth DOUBLE because of five generous community members who have pledged to match your gift dollar-for-dollar until we reach our fundraising goal. Make your gift today!

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