Submitted by Girl Scout Troop 2214
WOW! Where does the time go? We blink and an entire summer has passed us by.
In year’s past we have done an all-troop family camping trip. It is a HUGE endeavor, with a ton of prep and expense. After a not-as-good-as-usual cookie sale, we were less on funds when summer came than we had ever been in the past. After much discussion, we opted to try a GIRL ONLY Day Camp this year and held it in our Girl Scout Council’s backyard area. Anticipating the same activities, short of sleeping in a tent, it turned out to be a pretty good compromise.
Our camping trips are always jam-packed with badge earning activities and even though we didn’t sleep away, this year was no different.
On our camping trips, we always do learned skills: knife safety, knots and fire starting. This year, as our older girls have been doing this for years and years (and are at that age where eye-rolling comes standard!), we had the oldest girls teach knife safety and knot tying. It was a great opportunity to shake things up a bit and get the girls working on their leadership and teaching skills. We also showed the girls how to safely start a camp fire using matches and with steel wool and a 9-volt battery, which, of course, they thought was really cool!
This year, we taught the girls how to use a compass, too!
After illustrating “magnetism” with a pin floating on water, we gave them actual compasses to follow some basic instructions around the yard. They worked in teams and did really well!
What’s a day camp without some games? Being in the backyard made it really easy for us to do some fun games with water and pool noodles! It was a fun way to break up the day and have the girls work on teamwork!
Additionally, we always make an art-to-wear project; usually a t-shirt and piece of jewelry. So, keeping with tradition we did just that, making a t-shirt with a stencil, bleach and water (don’t worry we were safe with masks and gloves!) and bracelet. This year, we also used some of our knot skills to make water bottle carriers with the girls getting to decorate their own water bottles.
Meal prep is always an important task, and even in the backyard we were able to teach the girls how to make easy snacks and do some campfire cooking. They had edible bird nests for snack, made pizzaritos (a burrito stuffed with pizza fillings instead of beans!) on the campfire for lunch and they did some dutch-oven cooking by making corn bread for dinner to go with the chili the leaders made.
It was a REALLY hot summer day, so we moved inside during the peak of the heat to learn about how to read food labels, satisfying more badge earning requirements, and work on our bracelets in an air-conditioned room!
Before dinner, towards the end of the day, we had a lesson in Leave No Trace. It was a great way to teach the girls a valuable lesson AND get them to pick up the trash from the day, leaving the backyard better than we found it!
To end the day, because we weren’t able to fit a bridging ceremony in our busy schedule earlier in the summer, we also did a troop bridging ceremony. This is always a really special event for us. Being a HUGE multi-level troop, we are able to do all required activities and the ceremony “in house.” Using the bridge in the council backyard was special too!
These smiling facea and the lifetime bonds these girls are building are what keep us going!
All in all, a great (and exhausting) day…topped off with cupcakes!