Area Weekend Camping Experience

Ann



Our service unit campout ended up with 192 girls and 64 adults - not a bad count I thought! my co-chair and I were very pleased, exhausted but please.

The weekend started out with check in and then pizza followed by a sing along at the campfire. We had a few songs that ended up being 2 part rounds that weren't supposed to be. =) Love those enthusiastic 7 year olds!

My troop (7-8 year old brownies) tented for the first time. We had everyone in their tent by 10pm and finally asleep by midnight. Thank God for those two moms that volunteered to go and settle the girls so the three leaders could stay by the campfire and relax! We ended up chatting and laughing until 1am when the cold drove us in to our warm sleeping bags. I haven't laughed like that in ages!

The morning started up nice and early at 5am. Not planned but some of the girls wake with the birds and soon all were up. They played, worked on swaps, looked for their jungle breakfast, ate and all in all were ready for the day. The leaders ran for the coffee and eventually greeted the day with the same excitement (well maybe muted somewhat! ;) )

A group of 3 grade brownies did the opening flag ceremony. They followed the Blind Man's Ceremony from our Outdoor Training booklet. We basically followed a normal flag ceremony but before retiring a girl is lead blindfolded, gagged, hands tied behind her back and a small speech is said as each bandanna is removed. All referring to our rights granted by our laws, constitution and bill of rights. Very neat.

Then we swapped. This is only the second time our service unit has ever swapped and I think the girls did wonderful! We had one troop of daisies there and I think they brought home the most swaps! Everyone wanted to make sure the youngest ones had fun! Thank you for the story a while back about the girl swapping for the smile - I shared it and I think it really helped to get the idea across.

After the swapping the troops had some free time until 1 PM. My troop broke down the tents and packed up. while they were doing that with my two co-leaders, my oldest daughter, a leader from the junior troop helping to run the orienteering and one of the Service Unit managers came along to help me lay the orienteering trail. We made it back in time for lunch.

By the way, the hit of the lunch time crowd was the tacos in a bag! Thanks for that recipe. We had everyone watching us as the girls crushed the bag of Doritos and added the ingredients. We even shared with a few girls and adults who didn't bring a lunch.

After lunch, we started the afternoon programming. every troop was assigned a starting time for the orienteering. The only complaints I received was by two Junior troops. The Daisies did just fine and so did all of the Brownies. Oh well - can't please everyone! We offered lummi sticks for those waiting to get to the orienteering and that seemed to go very well. The leaders seem tentative until I made them join the girls down on the ground and learn how to use the sticks too. We started laughing then and having a ton of fun.

On the other side of the camp we offered:

Whittling

We had a handout I created using a handprint and on each finger I typed five points that the girls would need to do to earn a knife carrying card (thanks mike for the idea) Leaders were ever happy to see a step by step list, since it is scattered here and there in our handbooks. We then offered a bar of soap and a plastic knife to practice using a knife and whittling.

Games

We had the 6 ft in diameter earth ball and the parachute and a few cooperative games. The girls loved the earthball and the parachute! We even seem a few older juniors giggling over the games!

Copper Lantern Covers

From S&S we had everyone make a copper lantern cover. You take a copper sheet and after tracing a design with a pencil you used a nail and a hammer and pounded a hole in the copper following the design. Brad it together and set over a candle and you have a pretty lantern cover.

For the Brownies

We had medicine wheels from S&S again. Along with a person who explained a little history behind it and what it means.

For the Juniors

They had a choice; Indian jewelry offered by pow-wow workshops (they handled the whole thing - they are former girl scout leaders who create workshops to help girls work on badges) or they could make a dreamcatcher. Again the supplies from S&S and the history offered by a person who organizes pow-wows in this area.



By 4:30 everybody had hit all the different stations and were happy to clean up and let the girls run around for a bit. At 4:50pm the chicken guy arrived so I missed the closing flag ceremony. But the girls for the first seating soon arrived and the Brownie troop serving was shoveling food out as quick as they could. By 5:30 my troop was done eating and set to serving food. All the food ended up on the plates! ;)

Unfortunately, wires got crossed and our storyteller didn't arrive but the ice cream man did so everyone was ready to sing again at the campfire. But by that time my girls were ready to go home, so as I watched for parents arriving my girls played flashlight tag. One by one they left and I sent my co-leaders home. The last girl called her parents to "remind" them they were supposed to pick her up and off she went.

Since it was 11pm, I spent a quick moment policing the area, getting all of the lost and found stuff, packed up my van and then strolled back to the campfire to help put out the fire and collect my fire tools. Then I went home to sleep! finally!



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