Posts Tagged ‘camp’

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Growing Confidence with Girl Scouts Outdoor Experiences

October 30, 2017

Camp Graham (18)

By Meridith Orr, Program Executive

“All Girl Scouts like the out-of-doors and most of them enjoy it still more if they know something about the things they find there.” — From the Girl Scouts Handbook for the Intermediate Program, October 1940

“…camping is living in the out-of-doors, not just visiting it.”  Worlds to Explore Handbook for Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts, 1977

 

I was never what anyone would call an “outdoorsy” kid growing up.  And if I ever saw a bug, lizard, snake or other crawling thing, I would gasp and run away at warp speed.

Now, after working in the Girl Scout program for a few years, I am a different person.

For example, one evening as I saw something slither across my porch my only thought was, “Is that a lizard or a salamander?”  while I turned my key in the front door.

THAT, my friends, is the power of Girl Scouting.

Not only do we help prepare girls to take on the world as future leaders, we build girls who can be comfortable with the outdoors and have fun experiences even if they hadn’t been a fan of nature before.  We also help build adults’ outdoor confidence as well!

Take, for instance, a day at the office when we needed to set up a bunch of rain-soaked tents out in the sun to dry and asked our co-workers for some help.   As we congratulated ourselves on a big task made easier by many generous hands, one staff member said she felt more accomplished having just learned how easy it is to put up a tent – something she might not have ever learned how to do had she not worked for Girl Scouts.

“It’s the magic of our movement,” I tell people.  Just a few experiences have the power to transform everyone, because of our program’s emphasis on adventure and fun.  There’s just something about this Girl Scout game of ours that makes people want to step out of their comfort zone and try something new, and we find ourselves better for it.  It’s been going on for more than 100 years.

The early handbooks provide guidance on introducing girls to nature by prescribing skill development such as: knowing the flowers and growing a garden, learning what lives in fresh water and in the sea, identifying rocks and minerals, identifying land animals, birds and insects; to identifying stars and other objects in the sky.

In “The Out of Doors” instructions are provided for traveling by foot, what to wear and where to go, what to carry, taking the Girl Scout Law with you, reading trails and signs, making maps without a compass, and eating on the trail, with recipes.

And so it goes today.  Our legacy Naturalist badges in the Girl’s Guide To Girl Scouting include:  Bugs, Flowers, Trees and Sky (Girl Scout Brownie – Senior levels).  The activities for these badges are virtually the same as in the early handbooks.   And to help get troops started on these experiences, we connect them to events such as the Brownie Bug Out to get girls used to insects and other crawling things.  Those events typically happen at museums and gardens throughout our 41-counties.  Check our council event guide and program provider resource for opportunities near you.

Want to see more?  There’s a Badge Explorer online at our national web site:  http://www.girlscouts.org/en/our-program/badges/badge_explorer.html.

Here, you’ll be able search by topic and preview the activities for accomplishing all our Outdoor Education and Nature-themed badges.   And soon, more Girls’ Choice badges will be added to include camping adventure activities and scientific exploration of the outdoors!

Transform your Girl Scouts and yourself, by taking a walk outside and trying some of these badges!  And then share your stories with using the Story Submissions link!

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“I Camp too!”

May 9, 2016

pg 13 smores

By Margaret Hartzell, Individual Giving Director

“You camp?! You don’t look like you camp.” said a former coworker to me once when I mentioned an upcoming camping adventure.

At first it surprised me. Does someone who camps look a certain way? Was it because I was a woman? Couldn’t I wear dresses and love the outdoors?

But then it made me proud! I DO camp!

Because, the truth was, I never went to summer camp. I didn’t start camping until my late 20’s and early 30’s. When I finally discovered it though, camping became our preferred method of vacationing. We camped with our three dogs all over North Carolina, spending nights in places like Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Ocracoke. The big adventure was a road trip up the California coast camping along the way—Joshua Tree National Park, Big Sur, Bodega Bay, and Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The first time I ever saw the Milky Way was as I laid in my tent. Even as an adult I’m proud of the dirt line left by my sandals after days of camping. Or the scrapes and bruises that come with a difficult hike.

My first trip to Girl Scout Camp was Camp Mary Atkinson for an all-staff meeting last month. Even without the girls singing camp songs in the dining hall or counselors herding girls for the next activity, I could feel the magic of it all. It’s a magic I want all girls to experience.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that any of these young girls love the outdoors. I want them to proudly say “I camp too!”

Unfortunately for many girls in under-resourced communities across North Carolina Girl Scout camp isn’t a reality. The Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines Campership Fund provides financial assistance so that any girl can have the life-changing outdoor experience that Girl Scouting provides. For every Girl Scout – our girls pay less than half of the cost we incur to bring them a week of camp adventures.

This month we are raising money for Camperships so we can deliver the gift of the great outdoors to every girl. With your help, more girls will say “I CAMP TOO!” because of their time spent at Graham, Hardee, or Mary Atkinson this summer.

Donate here.

P.S. Thanks to our community partners, Carolinas IT and Great Outdoor Provision Co., your gift to the Campership Fund will be matched, allowing more girls to find adventure and friendship at Girl Scout Camp this summer.

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