The Impact of Summer Leadership Camp

At Girl Scouts, we are committed to providing girls with learning experiences that will help them flourish and grow into strong leaders in a safe and supportive environment. One such program is Summer Leadership Camp, where girls participate in traditional camp as well as special sessions to help build their self-confidence, learn to maintain healthy relationships, define their value system, and explore giving back to their communities. This year, camp took place the week of July 29th – August 2nd, 2019 at Camp Mary Atkinson.

In the reflection below, Leslie Young, a troop leader and mother who sent her daughter Jensyn to camp this year, discusses the impact that she saw on Jensyn when she returned from camp.

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“My daughter Jensyn has been in Girl Scouts for six years and was excited and a little nervous before setting off for her first time at sleepaway camp at Camp Mary Atkinson. She decided that she wanted to go to Summer Leadership Camp because she wanted to have a new adventure and had heard other Girl Scout friends talk about the fun time they had at camp. When she returned home, it became clear that the skills and memories that she learned there would last far beyond the conclusion of the week.

Jensyn had never been away from family for even one night, so a week away with little contact was concerning to say the least.  We discussed homesickness, personal responsibility and self-advocacy.  Using the camp packet made everything so much easier and we knew what to expect. Packing was straightforward and simple.

Upon arrival at camp, drop off was a breeze.  Everyone at camp was so welcoming.  She was given her cabin assignment and got all set up.  She wasn’t anxious at all for us to leave her at CMA.

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One of the activities they did included taking a colors personality test where girls learned about their ‘color’ and how everyone’s color can make for communication advantages and challenges. Jensyn loved learning about her personality color, blue.  She also said that she enjoyed learning it early in the week, so she could decipher who was what color and how to work with them or what she could do differently to get along with them.  She even had everyone in our family take the quiz and she was so excited.  Now that school has started, she has even typed her friends.

Some of the other workshops included lessons in first impressions, bullying, problem-solving, and Jensyn’s favorite, healthy relationships. “The Healthy Relationships workshop was fun!” Jensyn exclaimed. She enjoyed hearing other people’s thoughts and talking out the situations as a group.  “Having the visiting adults to bounce our Take Action project ideas off was super helpful,” she told me when we were discussing her plan and how she could implement it.

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Jensyn said her absolute favorite parts of camp were lunch at Meredith College, visiting the lake with a counselor named Aqua and all the fun, nice friends she met at camp.  Her favorite friend was Sparky.  Sparky is a counselor with the day camp, but was so sweet, kind and caring that she let the Leadership Camp girls sit with her every night at dinner.  Jensyn said she was going to miss her the most.

All in all, Jensyn had a wonderful time at Leadership Camp.  Before this camp, Jensyn had decided she no longer wanted to continue with Girl Scouts. Now, she cannot wait to continue on with her Girl Scout career.  She has set a goal of earning her LIA (Leadership in Action) and taking the PA (Program Aide) training to assist other Girl Scouts.

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As a troop leader I know just how hard it is to entertain and impress middle school girls.  This Leadership camp does both.  What a great way to help create forever friends, fan those flames of imagination and give the girls the tools to be leaders, not followers.  After Leadership Camp, Jensyn is less likely to be the one standing in the corner hoping to not be called on and more likely to be the one right up front, raising her hand and answering questions, even if she isn’t 100% sure.  I know that her time in Girl Scouts and at Leadership Camp has made that difference.  Thank you for making her last week of summer, the best week of summer!”

A huge thank you to our Leadership Camp mentors and to our sponsors Bank of America, Sonitrol of the Triangle, and M&F Bank. We appreciate your support of girls!

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