As we close out our final week of camp this summer (I still can’t believe how early our kids go back to school this year!), I’ve been reflecting on the impact that our outdoor programs and properties have on girls. We’ve used the hashtag: Camp Life is the Best Life abundantly this summer and it has been so much fun to see this firsthand.
I spent a lot of time out at our camps and talking to the girls who were enjoying them. Throughout the summer I went to a luau celebration, shared meals, watched our girls sailing, kayaking, crafting, brushed up on my archery skills, helped build a fire and roasted S'mores (yum!), groomed horses, and was even ambushed with shaving cream. I’ve heard from our girls how much they’ve enjoyed the improvements we are starting to make to camp.
It has been a joy to see the power of the great outdoors in action with our girls. Research shows that because of Girl Scouts, 71% of girls tried an outdoor activity for the first time and Girl Scouts who get outdoors are twice as likely to connect with and care for the environment than non-Girl Scouts. We are deeply committed to this part of our mission.
Now, why is camp life the best life?
Our girls love experiencing something new. These days, many of our children do not have the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the outdoors. On top of that, they don’t have access to the incredible skill development that comes from learning how to sail, build a fire, kayak, or discover their environment. The best moment for me was watching girls try their hand at archery for the first time. They challenged me to give it a try and did a great job explaining the process (we have outstanding instructors). Even better than this was watching their face as they shot a bullseye for the very first time! As soon as the arrow connects with that red circle so far away their faces instantly light up with a huge grin ear to ear with a mix of pure joy and self-pride for such a big accomplishment. It’s an incredible moment to witness.
Our girls are building their confidence. Camp provides them with a safe space to not only try and learn new things, but to also build their confidence in their abilities. It helps them understand the importance of working as a team, supporting one another, and the independence fostered at camp gives them confidence in their voice. I saw this first hand as I spent time with girls asking them to provide me with feedback on what they loved most and what they’d like to see improved at camp. They expressed themselves confidently and with great enthusiasm. The girls shared how they love being in an all-girl environment where they are encouraged to be their true selves without judgement from others.
Our girls are finding meaning in the little things in life. In today’s world, disconnecting is hard, but camp provides the perfect opportunity to make it happen. Girls were able to disconnect from devices and enjoy the wonder of the outdoors. They slowed down to focus on the little things and how to work with others, learning as a team. One morning at camp, we were having difficulty building our fire because the wood was damp from the previous evening’s rain. To see patience and teamwork in action was inspiring. Our girls did not give up; they kept trying and brainstormed ways together to accomplish their goal.
It has been a really fun summer for many, especially our girls at camp. I’m grateful that I have been able to enjoy a little of this amazing, life-changing experience with them. Spending time outdoors is always recharging and provides the perfect opportunity to disconnect and focus. It’s also always fun to reconnect with those memories as a girl, enjoying my time at Girl Scout camp.
I want every girl in our council to understand why Camp Life is the Best Life. In order to do so, we are focused on the future of our outdoor programs and properties. During the month of August, we have several opportunities for our girl and adult members to participate and share feedback in the Long Range Program and Property Initiative. Everyone is welcome to attend!
- Tuesday, August 23 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, August 24 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
- Thursday, August 25 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Locations: Leadership Center (Hillsborough County); Lakwood Retreat (Hernando County); Pinellas – exact location TBD.
Visit the Her Vision of the Future page for complete details on this initiative and for ways you can be involved.