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GS Camps and Summer Camps compared to Boy Scouts

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My girls are both scouts in the GSUSA.  My oldest is now a Junior, having been through both Daisy and Brownie.  She recently went on her Camporee it the local GS reservation.  By now she can answer my questions about the camp and facilities much better than when she was younger.

Of course I can't help but to draw comparisons against my experiences at several BSA reservations.

It seems their camp condition is good, and their wall tent set-ups and cots are much better than anything I ever saw, with larger 4 person tents complete with screens, and cots that more resemble beds with mattresses.

but regrading activities, it seems they have paddling on the lake and archery.  No other shooting, and as best as I could tell they have nothing such as climbing walls, copes courses, and such....and their water front isn't all tricked out like an amusement park with the giant airbag launchers and such

 

Does this seem typical of other GS reservations?

Also, do many GS troops go on actual summer camp to reservations outside the area like BSA troops do?  So far as far as I know there has been no talk of summer camp at all, even a local one...

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I've got two daughters - a Brownie and a Cadette.  Each started as Daisy.  My son was in the BSA from Tigers until age 14.

I really liked the GSUSA camps.  I've been very impressed with them.

It always seem to me that the BSA camps are generally bigger.  I liked the GSUSA camps because they felt smaller.  Camp conditions in my neck of the woods are comparable.  It depends more on the age of the camp than on whether it's a BSA or a GSUSA camp.

I had the same reaction to the tents.  Much better at the GSUSA camps.  Bigger, newer, had screens.  

My understanding is that in the GSUSA, they do not have a shooting program.  So the girls cannot do BB's, rifle, & shotgun.  They can of course do archery.

Paddle boating must be a thing in the Girl Scouts.  All the Girl Scout camps I've been to have paddle boats.  The waterfronts did seem a bit smaller than in the BSA camps, but I gathered it was because they were smaller camps.  They felt similar to me.  That said - our BSA camp doesn't have a very tricked out waterfront either.

 

I'm not aware of any GS troops that do a summer camp like the BSA troops do.  Even for my older daughter, summer camp attendance is an individual thing.

 

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My mom was a GS leader for years and hosted many camporees for the district. I went once when I was around 9 and it was beautiful. The dining hall, the cabins, all updated. It had low COPE as well, I might’ve had high COPE. It was pretty big.

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GS camps are owned by the council, and their amentities vary.  I can speak to what I have seen in my state.

Generally girl scout troops do not camp together as a troop during the summer.  The council-owned Girl Scout camps are busy with council-run day-camp and over-night camp  programs from the time school gets out in late June until sometime in August.  During this time period troops are not permitted to reserve campsites at the girl scout camps, because they are in use by summer camp.  And girls attend summer camp as individuals, not as troops.

(A troop wouild be allowed to camp as a troop elsewhere during the summer, but I have never actually heard of it happening with troops around here.  Generally the girls most likely to go to summer camp are the troop leaders' daughters, (not surprising, since these are the most scouting-enthusiast families).  Going to summer camp gives them a chance to camp without their mother nearby.)

Ammenties vary by camp.  What I would call rather ordinary would be:

Sleeping accomodations:  Platform tents: wooden floors, canvas wall, canvas roof, no mosquito netting.  Saggy metal cots with thin vinyl-covered foam mattresses.  Bring your own mosquito netting for your cot.  Platform tents are big. Could easily fit eight+ sleeping bags in there, but for summer camp will tend to have 4-6 girls per tent.

Each unit also has a fire circle, and some kind of "unit shelter" (roof, no walls) where girls can gather for activities on rainy days without getting soaked.

Latrines (dignified with the name "composting toilet")

Waterfront: a swimming area and canoes on a lake.  Kayaks for the camp staff to use when supervising the girls.

Dining hall for most meals.  Archery area.  Arts-n-crafts cabin.

One of the councils in my state has fancied up its camps.  One camp has horseback riding.  One camp has sailing.  One camp has a high-ropes course. Some fancier sleeping accomodations than platform tents. At the same time, they are closing smaller camps used just for day camp or troop camping.  At this council's camps, it appears that flush toilets
outnumber latrines.

As far as shooting activities, one of the councils say in its policies: "The use and/or possession of any firearms and weapons on [council name's] properties are strictly prohibited except by law enforcement officers."  I think some other councils may permit riflery.

If you want to get to know the local camps better, check and see if the camp hosts an open house sometime in the spring.  Also look to see if the council sponsors a Mommy-and-Me or Daddy-and-me camping overnight. (These won't be the actual names, they don't want to exclude girls attending with grandparents, or other relatives, in lieu of parents.)  I enjoyed going to these.  It was like going back to summer camp for a night.  I also got to scope out the camp to size it up for taking a troop there during the school year, and I got aquainted with the camp director.

Don't forget to check out the camps of nearby councils.  For us the closest Girl Scout camp is out-of-council, but is only 15 minutes drive from our house.  The in-council camps are much further away.

 

 

 

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