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Camp News

Updates from October 20

It’s been a wonderfully busy time at our camp properties. After a very successful Summer Camp, we are back at work making improvements that will benefit our members and deliver critical outdoor experiences for girls (and volunteers and parents) for years to come.

Not only do we continue to check things off our initial list of the improvements that needed to happen based on member feedback and available funds, but we have been able to do so much more. Even after the brief setback of Hurricane Irma, our camp rangers and outdoor program team are working hard to keep our camps in top shape.

Here’s a look at everything that has happened over the last few months, what’s currently in the works and a peek at what’s to come:

Camp Dorothy Thomas

  • New mattresses and wood bunkbeds were added to Ladybug
  • Lounge seating (couches/chairs with washable coverings) and tables added for meeting space in CIT, the Lodge and Ladybug
  • A new convection oven was installed in the Lodge
  • New water heaters were placed in Holiday House and CIT
  • Challenge Course pressure washed and perimeter cleared
  • Fire damaged trees flanking the perimeter of the archery range were cleared
  • Trails and roads being cleared to appropriate fire recommendations; hard-wired smoke detectors being replaced in Ladybug (evaluations of other units in process)
  • Installation of bat houses as part of a Girl Scout Bronze Award project
  • Over at the Stable a Rotary community service group completed second round of cleanup; camp rangers will begin work on Phase 3 soon by replacing clay, cleaning stalls, clearing arena and paddocks, and providing water
  • The exterior and interior of the Workshop area has been cleaned up with the clearance of extraneous junk from the grounds and the cleaning and organization of the tools
  • In Pioneer, we are working with the Boy Scouts as part of an Eagle Scout to refresh the area including stone fire circle, new benches and the demolition of 4 unusable platforms

Camp Indian Echo

  • We have two new platform tents arriving in November
  • New pavilions were constructed at Treehouses and TeePee units
  • The United Way Community Service Day saw volunteers come out to clean up the Log Cabin and continue with post-Irma efforts
  • Treehouse new shelter
  • CIE SHelter Pic 2

Camp Wai Lani

  • We are in the middle of renovating the pool by resurfacing, adding new cobalt blue tile and reconnecting the light system
  • The new Challenge Course is moving forward with site clearing and preparation beginning in November and permitting with Pinellas county for a January installation
  • Four new see-through canoes were acquired thanks to Elisa’s Great Wishes Foundation
  • A/C was added to our cabins
  • The boat house is rededicated in remembrance of Gobby Kuhn
  • Evaluating repair costs and project plan for unit houses bathhouse repairs
  • Applied for grant for pool house bath roof replacement
  • see-through canoe
  • Day4_10162017

Camp Wildwood

  • The recent heavy rains have had a great effect on Gator Lake as the restoration through peat mining continues
  • New furniture was added to added to Horseshoe Meadows and Friendship units including couches and chairs with washable coverings and tables for meeting space
  • Baby donkeys! We welcomed two new healthy additions to the herd with baby Shrek and Fiona
  • Gator Lake post irma
  • Donkeys 1

Plant City Troop House

  • 20 new cots were added and new dishes, cookware and utensils were purchased
  • We conducted a professional deep-cleaning
  • Exterior clean up and repairs taking place

All Camps

We have begun evaluating and creating plans with forestry officials to conduct controlled burns as part of our ongoing sustainability programs at the camps. Firewise Inspections were conducted at all camp to help mitigate the risk of damage to our buildings in the event of severe wildfire conditions. We don’t expect any activity until the winter months. You can learn more about this process by visiting Florida Firewise Communities.

Updates from December 14

Camp Wildwood The restoration of Gator Pond at Camp Wildwood is going swimmingly! The restoration team has made significant progress in removing the peat and topsoil over the past couple of months. In the latest report from Camp Ranger Elton, we’ve learned that five springs have quickly started to flow into a portion of the restored pond making it about 3.5 feet deep. This is particularly remarkable as we have not had meaningful rainfall at camp in over 6 weeks and this is just a small portion of the overall area that is being restored.

Take a look at these photos see all the transformation underway. We have a hunch this restored area may already be larger than the pond at Camp Indian Echo!

WWLake1
WWLake2

The pond restoration is a long term project but we are ecstatic about the progress that has already been made. It won’t be long before we see our girls out there enjoying the waterfront at Camp Wildwood!

Updates from October 28

Camp Indian Echo We are in the process of constructing a brand new Low Ropes Challenge Course and Giant Swing at Camp Indian Echo! These new additions will allow girls to take safe risks, step out of their comfort zones and work together to strengthen their bonds. Here’s a sneak peek at the work that is being done. We can’t wait to get girls outdoors to enjoy this new feature at camp! Stay tuned for more information about reservations and facilitators coming soon.

LowRopesCourse3
LowRopesCourse2

Camp Dorothy Thomas Check out these new photos of the refurbished Lady Bug unit at Camp Dorothy Thomas. This unit features a dormitory with bunk beds, leader's room, electricity, full kitchen, bathroom with showers and a fire circle. Capacity: 28, there are 12 bunk beds for girls that accommodate up to 24. The leaders sleep in a separate room that accommodates up to 4 people. This unit is suitable for all Grade Levels; however Daisies must sleep on the bottom bunks. Learn more and make your reservations today.

Ladybug Kitchen
Ladybug

Camp Wildwood The restoration of Gator Pond at Camp Wildwood is well underway! You've heard about the mining of peat* at Gator Pond at Camp Wildwood. Take a look at what's going on out there. The plants have been removed on a section of the pond and the peat is being removed revealing the sandy bottom of the future lake!  A spring of fresh water is coming out of the bank and is being routed to the other side of the lake beyond a temporary dam.  While this is a long term project, we plan to have a swimming area available for girls to start enjoying the lake in 2017.

GatorPondSpringWaterFlowing
RestorationProject

*What is peat? Peat is a brown material with a soil-like composition that is generally found growing in acidic and boggy soils. Peat consists of decaying vegetable matter and -- when added to soil -- enriches the area for better plant life. Peat can consist of either sapric, hemic or fibric materials, each with its own level of decomposition. Sapric peat has the highest level of decomposition; fibric has the least level of decomposition, containing intact fiber, while hemic is in the middle of the two. Learn more about the difference between peat and peat moss.

Updates from October 21

There’s no better time than the new Girl Scout year to start planning your next outdoor adventure. We have lots of new troops this year and we want to make sure you all know how to get outdoors and start having fun… that goes for our returning troops too!

Check out our new blog post with all the basic information your troop needs to prepare for your very first camping trip!

Getting Your New Troop Outdoors

Updates from September 7

Exciting things are happening with our Long Range Program and Properties initiative! The last couple of months were busy, learn more about what has been accomplished: Her Vision of Tomorrow Update #7

Here’s an updated list of the latest upgrades and new features at our properties to enhance your troop camping experience:

Camp Dorothy Thomas

  • Ladybug is now available for reservations.
  • Relocated archery to a centralized location (next to Ladybug)
  • Upgraded mattresses and shower amenities in some units

Camp Indian Echo

  • Paddle Boards (7)
  • Giant Swing (coming soon)
  • Low Ropes Teambuilding Course (coming soon)

Camp Scoutcrest

  • Paddle Boards (2)
  • Gaga Pit
  • Ski Boat

Camp Wai Lani

  • Camphitheater
  • Main Fire Circle
  • Kayaks (8)
  • Paddle Boards (14)
  • Microscopes for Marine Lab
  • Upgraded mattresses and shower amenities in some units
  • Infirmary changed to Health Center

Camp Wildwood

  • Upgraded mattresses and shower amenities in some units (Friendship and Health Center)
  • Hammock Camping
  • Live animals for the nature center (coming soon)

Updates from August 12, 2016

We have some exciting new features and upgrades now available and coming soon at our camp properties to enhance the troop camping experience.  Please check our Troop Camping Reservations system to see all the new features available for your next trip.

Camp Dorothy Thomas

  • Ladybug is now available for reservations.
  • Relocated archery to a centralized location (next to Ladybug)
  • Upgraded mattresses and shower amenities in some units (coming soon)

Camp Indian Echo

  • Paddle Boards (2)
  • Giant Swing (coming soon)
  • Low Ropes Teambuilding Course  (coming soon)

Camp Scoutcrest

  • Paddle Boards (2)
  • Ski Boat

Wai Lani

  • Camphitheater
  • Main Fire Circle
  • Kayaks & Paddle Boards (2)
  • Microscopes for Marine Lab
  • Upgraded mattresses and shower amenities in some units (coming soon)
  • Infirmary changed to Health Center

Wildwood

  • Upgraded mattresses and shower amenities in some units (Friendship and Health Center)
  • Hammock Camping
  • Live animals for the nature center (coming soon)
WL SUP
WL Kayaks
Scoutcrest SUP
WL Campitheater

Updates from June 21, 2016

Fall, winter and spring troop camping will be open for the 2016-2017 membership year on July 1 at 9 a.m. for all camp properties and the Tampa Leadership Center (open reservation dates are Sept. 1, 2016 – May 31, 2017). And this includes the return of reservations for Ladybug and the Infirmary at Camp Dorothy Thomas.

We are also in the process of bringing back the camp calendars so you can more easily plan your camping trip by seeing what is happening at each camp. Look for more information on this coming soon.

Updates from May 26, 2016

In March 2015, the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida's Board of Directors approved the appointment of a Long Range Program and Properties Task Force, comprised of community experts and geographically representative volunteers with relevant professional skills, who are passionate about the outdoor experience for girls and the Girl Scout Movement.

The members of the committee thoughtfully and diligently reviewed input from hundreds of girls and adult volunteers, analyzed volumes of statistical data, conducted site visits to all five properties and consulted with market research and camp planning experts during the intensive 15-month period. The Task Force then formed a working Advisory Committee to continue work with camp master planners and formulate recommendations to the board.

The Advisory Committee of the Long Range Program and Properties Task Force recommended to the board on May 24, 2016 that the council move forward with a focus on developing/enhancing programs and facilities at four camps - Camp Wildwood, Camp Wai Lani, Camp Dorothy Thomas and Camp Indian Echo - and to divest of Camp Scoutcrest, located in Odessa, FL. There will be no immediate impact to, or changes for, summer camp programming, daytime weekend programming or troop camping for the immediate future at Camp Scoutcrest.

We understand how much all of our camp properties mean to girls and volunteers and this decision was not made easily or lightly. Camp Scoutcrest has become a unique water destination filled with memories and experiences for thousands of girls. We are committed to honoring that history and relocating programs to other properties. As responsible stewards of Girl Scout opportunities and resources, we must continually adapt our program and property needs to support relevant programs for girls today and in the future. As our smallest property, Camp Scoutcrest is least equipped to facilitate large encampment groups. When this size factor is considered alongside the amount of viable overnight lodging and certain capacity restrictions, it has become a challenge and led to the decision to no longer offer overnight sessions for our Summer Camp program. There are also regulatory barriers to further develop the property and, while not an immediate impact or concern, the potential for long-term safety challenges arising due to camp aspects that are out of our control (i.e., the public road that bisects the property, and a shared, non-private lake).

Different aspects of our watersports program, currently that primary draw at Camp Scoutcrest, can be facilitated at other camps. Specifically, Camp Indian Echo can provide access to canoes, paddleboards, kayaking, inflatables, lake swimming and more, with the added benefit of a safer waterfront area that is completely private and under council control to ensure the safety of girls. Similarly, the restoration of the lake at Camp Wildwood, currently underway, will provide an expansive area for watersports in the near future.

Monies from the sale of the property will be held in a special Restricted account, separate from our council's operating funds, until our board of directors deliberates on the capital use of these funds to invest and improve upon our remaining camp properties.

To honor the history of this camp that has served so many girls and adults over the years, we will be holding special ceremonies at Camp Scoutcrest in the future. Details for these events will be shared with all members once they are formalized and we encourage everyone to come out and celebrate this property's history as we look toward the future.

For questions/information, please send an email to future@gswcf.org.

Updates from May 18, 2016

Summer Camp has an exciting role and opportunity in serving more girls at Camp Dorothy Thomas this summer! To further our efforts to provide girls with unique and engaging summer camp experiences, we will now be hosting girls in a grant-funded, staff-led program this summer at CDT. Instead of facilitating this program at a local school, we are thrilled to give these girls the opportunity to explore the great outdoors and have a traditional Girl Scout camp experience.

This opportunity arose when our original plan of hosting a traditional Day Camp at CDT experienced an extremely low level of interest. Due to low enrollment, we made the decision to cancel the planned day camp in favor of hosting a full camp of girls each week. The few families that had already registered for CDT Summer Camp have already been notified of this change and given the option to transfer to any other day or overnight camp session at no additional cost or receive a full refund.

But that’s only the beginning. We’ve got more exciting additions and updates in the works to keep girls excited about #CampLife this summer at all of our properties.

  • At Camp Wai Lani, space was cleared just outside the lodge to add benches and a small stage to give girls a place to gather, entertain and celebrate in the beautiful outdoors and this is where we will host a luau celebration at the end of each week during Summer Camp. Plus, new microscopes for added STEM fun.
  • We’ve added a second ski boat at Camp Scoutcrest so girls get even more time on the lake during our Watersports sessions. We’re also adding a Gaga Pit where girls can be active and competitive playing this hot new playground game.
  • Camp Indian Echo will have new paddleboards available to enjoy on the lake along with opportunities for girls to take safe risks with a low ropes course and giant swing.
  • Over at Camp Wildwood, girls will be able to enjoy hammock camping and animals in the Nature Center.

If you have any questions regarding these changes, please contact us at 813-281-4475 or future@gswcf.org.