Camping and outdoor activities have always been an essential part of Girl Scouting. This summer Girl Scouts of West Central Florida enhanced the summer camp experience by offering two travel camps, one in the Florida Panhandle and other in the Florida Keys. These trips gave west central Florida girls the opportunity to explore the great outdoors in two completely different outdoor environments. Today, Girl Scout Megan is sharing her camping experience to the Florida Caverns. If you have attended any of the GSWCF summer overnight or day camps in the past, you should think about making a travel camp your next adventure!
Hi, my name is Megan and I'm an upcoming Girl Scout Ambassador. Earlier this month, I took a trip to the Florida Caverns with fellow upcoming Seniors and Ambassadors. On our first day, I met up at the Tampa Leadership Center with the rest of the girls who were attending the trip with me.
After a five hour drive north, we reached the Florida Caverns. Sadly, it started to rain but that didn't stop us from having fun! We went into a building full of educational pieces filled with information about how caves are formed, bats and other animals in the area. Next we decided to walk one of the trails, which was pretty hilarious seeing as it was supposed to be an “easy trail” – we had to crawl up a small hill (that was muddy from the rain). We were all pretty exhausted after our walk, so we sat and played some games to get to know each other better while we waited for our tour of the caverns to begin.
We were all pretty exhausted after that, so we sat and played some games to get to know each other better while we waited for our tour of the caverns to begin. Our tour guide was very interesting and really funny, before we went into each cave she would tell us it’s given name and why. One of the caves is called the wedding room, you can actually get married in it! There's even a rock formation that looks like a wedding cake. It only fits up to 25 people though, but wouldn't that be awesome?
After the caverns, we drove to visit Bellamy Bridge, which is said to be haunted by Elizabeth Bellamy. To get to the bridge, we had to walk on a trail with stopping points marking where historical events have occurred. It was creepy but so cool to find out everything that has happened by the bridge and all the history that was made. Once we were all done we booked it to Camp for All Seasons for the night. This camp is maintained by Girl Scouts of the Florida Panhandle.
On the second day of our trip, we went to Wakulla Springs and had so fun! The spring water was supposed to be 72 degrees but this water did not feel like that, it honestly felt like the low 60's. It was COLD! But of course that didn't stop any of us from jumping off the high platform. It was such a fun time swimming there because of all of the wildlife you could see along the river and we never got bored. We also took a boat tour on the river and saw more than 20 alligators and so many turtles. We even saw a few manatees and some came super close to our swimming area too! After Wakulla Springs we decided to head to the camp to eat, shower and play some games. We played Apples to Apples and talked, we were all very excited for the next day to come.
Our third day consisted of a tour of Florida State University! While at FSU, we took a guided tour around campus and saw what was inside some of the classrooms. Curiosity got the best of us when we wanted to see inside a dorm. The cousin of one of the girls on the trip met up with us to give us a glimpse inside her dorm! Being on a college campus really opened my eyes simply because I'll be attending college within the next few years. FSU had such a pretty campus and was by far my favorite activity of this trip alongside Wakulla Springs. FSU is now the college I hope to go to. We learned so much about the cost of college and all that boring adult stuff that you need to know when applying to school. It was a really great experience as I go into my junior year of high school.
On the last day of our trip, we stopped by University of Florida and took an unofficial tour led by one of our leaders who went to school there. She walked us around campus and she showed us some buildings and classrooms. This was really cool to see how different both campuses differ. After our UF tour, we had a three hour drive back to the GSWCF Leadership Center for pick up. This ended our trip and if I had the option, I'd do it all over again!
My favorite memory on this trip has to be when all of us girls were up late that night sharing ghost stories. One of the girls was sitting on a stool and my mom came up behind her and scared her. She ran across the kitchen and we all had burst out laughing. This camping trip was super memorable and hilarious and I made new Girl Scout sisters throughout those four days.