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  • Girl Scout Camping in your area

    What kind of camping oppurtunities does you girl scout troop have or do in your area. Or what kind of outdoor activities do the troops in your area do.

    My Daughters troop has done a canoeing/archery day, We went to one of the Alpine Towers in the area. THAT WAS COOL.

    THey also went to summer camp this year. There was a good deal of scout craft and shooting sports involved. The did swimming, sailing, canoeing, hiking and even cooked in the campsite on one night. The pulled pranks on each other, and had FUN.

    What happens with your GSUSA troops.

  • #2
    There are lots of opportunities in my area for girls to be outside and have adventures. However that doesn't mean that they do it. My daughter's troop considers an overnighter at the mall or an indoor waterpark as camping. They went to a weekend camp last year for a day and a half and you'd have thought they had stayed out for weeks.

    My daughter loves summer camps, so she goes on her own each year. We have used Southeast Michigan camps and Heart of Michigan camps (that's this year). Go to www.gssem.org and www.gshom.org to check out the camps.

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    • #3
      Before my list, please remember that this is a pretty girl-led troop so they do most of the picking and planning ;-) To keep the list manageable, here's our camping/outdoor stuff from this membership year: camped out near an amusement park and participated in an after-hours science event then rode rides then next day; spent the day at a local corn maze; demonstrated dutch oven cooking to Brownies and Daisies; learned how to geocache at a local county park and did a scavenger hunt all over it; participated in a Survivor themed camporee at the GS camp on the other end of council; finished off with a long weekend of hiking and waterfalls in Pisgah National Forest with sister troops. Next up is a lot of "urban hiking" in NYC, a trip they have been planning for the last six months.

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      • #4
        In North East Ohio we have 5 Girl Scout council owned camps. They range dramaticly in what they have to offer. Two camps have obseratories, three have newer in ground pools, all offer archery and canoeing, one has teepees the girls can sleep in, most have platform tents, cabins or lodges. Most tent and cabin sites have latrines. Most lodges have indoor toilets, showers, kitchens and fireplaces. Several have lakes appropriate for wading to catch tadpoles or fishing. One has an outdoor ice rink in winter. One has a craft lodge complete with pottery wheel and kiln. All have hiking trails. None still have horses, but a few have connections to nearby stables. The girls in my troop love troop camping anytime of the year! We use Scout camps, public campgrounds and state parks. Unfortunately, this summer when my daughter wanted to attend week long Girl Scout summer camp, all of the weeks when she could go (after softball season) filled quickly. Our council offers mall lock in overnights, and overnights at zoos and museums, but we've not done that. Our area Service Unit likes to plan themed camp weekends - pioneer camp, fairy camp, quilt camp, ect and we always atend those camporees because they are a ton of fun!

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        • #5
          There are four of us adult leaders in the Boy Scout Troop who also have daughters in the Girl Scout Troop. The girls all want to be Boy Scouts, so we do very similar camping trips. Turns out girls like to play with fire and knives just like boys! However, they are not so much into chopping wood, and, as we have discovered, do not like Patrol cooking - they much prefer that we all (adults and girls) cook and eat together. And of course the boys do not sit around the fire and brush each others hair! The girls can hike and camp and do just fine camping like the Boy Scouts. If you take the boy there, take the girls too!

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          • #6
            What I've seen missing, and it puts the GS coming into our Crew at a disadvantage: is experience backpacking. The disadvantage is somewhat physical, but also financial. From age 11-13, Boy Scouts have been aquiring the backpacking gear and practice that they need by the time the serious wilderness hikes start to become available to them.

            A 14 year old girl who has to go from nada to a full pack of equipment is facing sticker shock for a hobby she is not entirely sure if she's cut out for. The alternative is to borrow big-brother's hand-me-down, and those of us who've used loaner packs know that can add just enough pain to the equation to want to end it after mile 2!

            Do any of your GS programs incorporate backpacking education targeting that Middle School range?

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            • #7
              Girl Scout Troops are not owned by a CO. The Troops have not been around 50 years and accumulated a trailer's worth of Troop camping equipment. Most Troops do not make it the full 13 years from K-12th grade. Any equipment that a GS Troop has is personal equipment. Since not every girl (or leader) is an avid camper, backpacker, canoer, etc, most will not have any specialized equipment.

              We used to take our girls camping 3-4 times a year. Summer Camp was an individual thing, and not at all like Boy Scout Summer Camp. You could pick from a variety of theme camps (cheerleading, photography, theater, etc) with very few camping/outdoor type oriented ones.

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              • #8
                I am also one of those dads that have a cub scout, and a brownie girl scout !! Yes... my daughter also would rather hang out at times with the boys..

                yes... she has lamented that the "Brownie" campouts are only one night... unlike her older brother.

                We have one girl scout camp, and it's "ok". It's kinda smallish, and no showers... but our Pack will also camp there for a mix between different locations.

                One problem that we have is that some mom's dont like to camp in a tent, and that means that daughter does not get to camp...

                Also, a BSA Pack or Troop will have boys of different ages...with a pack that can be in exisitance for many years ! GSUSA Troops around here are all of one age group... so no chance to build a camping tradition, or accumulate equipment, ect.

                Guess that is why my daughter always comes out for the Pack's Family Camp, and mixes it up with the boys... at least while she's young !

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                • #9
                  SN - Our troop's gear is available to any responsible GS unit in the community. (Lord knows, we've been blessed with plenty, and they return the gear in as good a condition as when the boys borrow it.) But, backpacking does not demand much from troop stores. (E.g., we ain't haulin a two-burner stove, a lantern, and a 20' cooking fly anywhere by foot!)

                  Our crew is starting to accumulate a small collection of packs, and may eventually have some ultralight stoves, ultralight tents, etc.... But, older teens tend to be proud, and borrowing personal gear is not in their ilk. And their money is starting to go to other things (homecoming/prom gowns, etc ...).

                  WCS - My daughter (and a bunch of other young women in the Venturing program) had similar experiences. I'm proud to say that she still "mixes it up" and spends far less time at the mall than her GS peers. It's a shame, b/c I think GS becomes unnatractive to a certain segment of youth because the program doesn't challenge them.

                  Tent-averse moms are a serious issue. I've talked to moms who raised kids in the '50's and they are ashamed at how their "granddaughters" are being deprived of wildnerness experiences. I've had dad's who've given me the line, "If there ain't a shower, count me out." But at the end of they day if their kid was interested, they'd rough it.

                  But, seriously, are there GS mom's who get their Jr. high girls into a little backpacking? Because I am really interested in having some of our crew promote it to GS troops, but I am also not interested in reinventing the wheel!

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                  • #10
                    Our girls here in Germany have so many more options, that most of them prefer to travel as a troop and stay in hostels or lodges than "rough it." When they do camp, they often camp on military installations and in German campgrounds, which everyone says are very nice and safe. The girls enjoy doing whatever outdoor adventure they can get: canoeing, cycling, archery, and horseback are very popular. However, they also like touring cities and villages, museums, etc.

                    Females have a more acute sense of smell. We are a scrubbed clean society, and the girls do feel tremendous inner-pressure to stay clean and without any odor, lest they be teased. Therefore, hot showers are not easily negotiated away.



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                    • #11
                      Both my daughters were Girl Scouts. My youngest is heavily into cosmetics and doesn't own enough fancy shoes, yet every year she and I pack up and head out into the back country. She's been to the Boundary Waters twice. She has canoed some of the best whitewater in our area, and does a pretty fair job of Dutch oven cooking. None of which was Girl Scout related. We have our annual trip planned for this fall yet again. She never had the opportunity to camp with the Girl Scouts and thus dropped the program early. She did join a Venturing Crew in BSA and did quite a bit of camping with them until she aged out.

                      My other daughter never camped either but did achieve her Silver Award.

                      My youngest is now married and still looks forward to our annual trip together. It was unfortunate that GSUSA had nothing to offer her.

                      Stosh

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                      • #12
                        Our GSUSA troop has a fair amount of camping gear (15 tents! from modern to ancient round-up ones) that has been collected over the years. It is associated with a local UMC that also charters a BSA troop, both of which have been around many moons. The gear is all targeted towards car camping: tents, cook sets, etc. Asking at a leader get together last night, there have been a few girls over the years interested in backpacking but never enough at one time to run trips. Something to think about though as I'd be willing to take a smaller patrol out if they wanted.

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                        • #13
                          Available, DC area.

                          http://www.gscnc.org/Camp_Properties.html

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                          • #14
                            Nike - I had a female committee member give our 14 y/o crew girls the backpacking instruction. She focused on personal hygene in a way that got them over the "gotta have the hot shower" mentality. I wish I had written down what she said, because her talk was excellent and completely different than how we would do it for boys. (You know, for boys: "You WILL bring soap. You WILL bring toothpaste. And you WILL bathe once and brush twice on this trip.")

                            SSScout - Thanks for the link. The search box on that page brought up a description of one backpacking course for leaders. I'll see if this GS council has something of the sort.

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                            • #15
                              Girl Scouts is developing a new "Pathways" initiative. All girls who are registered GS, can participate in in GS via Troops, Camps, Events, Travel, Special Interest, and/or Virtual (who knows what this means?) pathways. Consider exploiting these new pathway initiatives if your daughter values being a GS but finds it less adventursome than she'd like. Girls can participate in as many or as few of these pathways as they's like to.

                              And remember, much of our paid staff have never been GS, are not outdoorsy, and are going to jump to the next better paying NGO/Charity organizaiton as soon as they can.

                              Volunteers are the heart of GS, and we desperately need those of you with outdoor skills to commit to sharing those, even within a small program HA program.

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