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Girl Scout Camping Trips

Posted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 11:40 am
by amber5499
Not sure where to put this so here it goes. Having a great year with my Girl Scout troop and just thought I would share since the girls are learning basic skills a little at time! Hope to get them out camping more this spring! Please feel free to move this as appropriate. I am not pushing the survival aspect with my girls although it comes up from time to time so I correct their misconceptions and give them a little more info too! But I love camping and want them to have some basic camping skills too! ... If you can't find a camping troop - build your own!

Well it is Saturday October 26th. Been busy with two jobs and Girl Scouts. I merged my Junior troop with another troop in my area so we now have a multi level troop of about 20 girls in K – 8th gragde. (Daisy’s, Brownies, Juniors and Cadettes) This has been an awesome year so far. We meet about twice a month and our October events are complete for our troop. We started in Late August and here is what we have done so far:

We have had 5 regualar meetings and have earned our Girl Scout Way Badge and have half way completed our Animal bage. Only 2 more steps out of 5 to complete, which will be finished up with a zoo trip in December.

Thursday night we had a simple halloween party to celebrate Halloween and Julliete Gordon Lowes Birthday (the founder of Girl Scouts).

Last night we met downtown with about a third of our troop and walked the local annual zombie walk! I think next year we will watch and stroll the venues to change it up a bit.

We also have done a fall fundraiser and attended a fun multi troop event to promote the fundraiser.

We have gone camping twice! Both times we had 12 girls and 3 adults. All of this and it has only been two months!

Our first camping trip was about 45 minutes out from our local where we stayed at a girl scout property in platform tents. The weather was awesome and we introduced the newer girls to camping. We kept it very simple since it was our first combined trip and me and my new co-leader were still feeling each other out. It went really well. We had a mix of new and experienced campers. We had simple instant oatmeal and grits for breakfast one day, and granola bars with pop tarts the next. Sandwiches for lunch and tacos in a bag/taco salad on a plate for dinner. We talked about camping manors, keeping a campsite clean , took a hike, did some nature arts and crafts, played some basic games, and had to talk to the girls about not sharing personal items like towels and socks.. We had simple clean up and were able to take volunteers for washing group cooking utensils and introduce camp dishwashing to a few of them at a time. We had one girl get stung by a sand bee that first trip and a few minor bumps and bruises. Of course we had a camp fire the second night with s'mores and I used my Rome popcorn popper over the camp stove in the morning to go with breakfast before we headed out. All and all a very successful trip.

Our second trip was nearly a disaster but we have a few good memories. We are going to go camping again in the spring to make sure they learn to get back on the horse!

Since we wanted our cadettes to get more planning experience, and we had already picked the date, we had our 3 cadettes (6th graders) attempt to plan out the details of the trip. They had never had to plan a trip before so it took them a long time to pick a girl scout camp. We ended up renting their second location pick due to availability. And then when we both got some feed back from our own cadettes, (my co leaders god daughter and my daughter are cadettes) we finally decided they were taking too much time making decisions so we assigned a meal to plan for each of them, and they got to be lead cook for their meal and pick our 3 helpers for meal prep and serving. We got off to a late start waiting on my co leader and having to pack stuff twice since we had to wait for her. We had a 2 and half hour drive and ended up getting split up. Luckily our third adult, Anthony, a parent volunteer, and me had most of the girls and most of the gear so we were able to start the bulk of the unloading and assigning cabins. We contacted my co leader and had the ranger talk her through the construction detour and were able to link up about 20-30 minutes later. Luckily she was familiar enough with the area to get back on track fairly easily. If it was me it would have taken 'til midnight. Which is why I have a GPS. :) ( I can read a map- If I don’t have a GPS I just don’t travel at night. :) )

The girls did all the real cooking on this trip. Cooking meals went really well. With 3 meals and twelve girls the meal capers worked out perfectly 4 cook, and 4 clean and 4 relax and we rotated through each meal.

Breakfast and lunch were cooked on cast iron. We had pancakes, sausage, bacon and orange juice or water for breakfast. We had two 2 burner propane camp stoves going for breakfast one on each end of the picnic table. The meals took a while to actually cook since we worked with the cooking crew to actually hook up the propane bottles and start the burners, learn how to cook pancakes, sausage and bacon. Some of the girls were familiar with cooking these items, but we not used to cooking on a camp stove or coals where the temperature control is not as exact as a kitchen stove. And then of course none of them were accustomed to cooking for large numbers of people or with cast iron! Any girls cooking with meats were taught to go from left to right to prevent contamination and we constantly stressed safety. For lunch we had Bacon Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches with soda or Capri suns to drink. Again we showed the girls who were cooking bacon how to hook up and light the camp stoves and how to work the bacon from left to right across the griddle as it cooked so it didn’t get cross contaminated with the raw bacon being added to the griddle as space became available.

We had hamburgers with tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, and cheese for topping options and applesauce for a side. We also had brownies for dessert! We started to run low on butane buy the time lunch was ready so instead of cooking the burgers on the camp stoves like we had originally planned we used charcoal for cooking the hamburgers for dinner, and foil box ovens for baking the brownies. We already had planned on bringing charcoal as a back up to the propane, as well as the primary cook source for baking the brownies. We taught the girls how to start charcoal. Even taught them how to us stove lighters. Some girls took to this easy and some had to be coaxed through it. While the charcoal was heating the whole troop got together and made foil covered paper boxes for baking the brownies in. We lucked out and all the hamburgers and the brownies all got done at about the same time. ( I was really worried about that!) We cooked enough hamburgers for each person to have two.

Cooking wise and free down time activities went well on this trip but we had several bumps in the road. The whole campground was thick with yellow jackets. We ended up having two girls get stung. One on the arm when one went under her shirt sleeve and she tried to get it out, and my daughter on the tongue when she was trying to eat her sandwich. ( I immediately gave her ibuprofen and Benadryl and watched both of them like a hawk!) I was exhausted by the end of this camping trip. One girl nearly had to have the Heimlich performed when she started choking on her hamburger. She was at a picnic table that wasn’t easy to swing her legs out of so she couldn’t stand up to lean forward to let gravity help her. I told her twice to get up and when I realized she just couldn’t ( she still had some air getting in and was still coughing) I just picked her up and jerked out of the picnic table so she could lean forward. I think this helped dislodge her bite of food. We had a few falls and one girl who might have been having heartburn for the first time complain of chest pains. And had one girl get an accidental kick to the gut when the girls were goofing off. It was almost like it was a bad omen before we even went when I was trying to text my co leader to confirm the camp location and my phone auto corrected the name of the camp ground – Camp Hardee to Camp Harder! But we all made it home safe and sound and the girls learned you can cook anything at camp that you can cook at home!

Some things I learned:

My new co leader and I get along awesome! We both have an even head for discipline and emergencies.
My co leader is great at adapting and thinking out of the box, which is good because I am not. I often get hung up on all the details. I also learned that while my co leader likes camping she is more of a park and squat camper while I want to get the girls out and doing the hiking and more primitive level of camping. But we are a great match for getting our girls out there and getting them up to speed. Also for now it looks like since we have girls with a mix of camping preferences as well this works out since, we can break up into patrols and various skill levels, and still get them outside and camping and be able to have our adult to child ratios work out! Plus my co leader doesn’t mind doing the banking and paperwork side of things or the cold weather. I can do these but I want to be in on the action with the girls. So this is working really well for us!

1. Bring mustard, it soothes burns! Learned this when a girl scout troop across the campsite came and asked for mustard! I am thinking about adding some mustard packets to my first aid kit for minor burns. I ended up getting grease burn while I was soaking up the extra bacon grease and it worked really well.

2. I need to re waterproof my dining canopy. And get some velcro and take my mosquito net next time. I had bug spray and was thinking about mosquitos and flys when i choose not to take it. If we had been at a gs property without a screened in eating area available to us we would have had to either eat in the cabins or go home. If we had been tent camping ... well we were in bear areas too. The yellow jackets/hornets were just too many and too agresive. There were not bad for breakfast, but the were everywhere the rest of the day.

3. Bring more propane. We had two new bottles and one partially used bottle. Two went empty for some crazy reason! Luckily we brought plenty of charcoal.

4. My coleader is laid back, good and not so good. We need to teach the girls how to use a packing list. Some girls showed up without any socks, or extra socks, or towels,and then were borrowing socks. etc.

5. letting the girls pick out sticks for their s’mores is fun and taxing. I could not relax with 12 different lengths of smores sticks swinging around the campfire or the afternoon hike. We are going to use standard smore/hotdog sticks next camping trip unless it is hike it in hike it out trip with a small patrol. Marshmellow is no fun to try to get out of hair at 10:00 at night and the worry over someone’s eye getting poked out is not worth it!

6. Even if the person bringing the icechest and food supplies showes up last, wait to load gear until that person gets there and load those into the pickup truck first then dump the rest of the stuff into trunks/vans and the remaining into the truck if necessary. Faster and easier to put the stuff that doesn’t need to be tarped into the truck bed.

7. My co leader now knows for sure how to include dads on camping trips! (registerted and background checks adults of course.)It was easy this trip as the GS property we picked actually had a dedicated male restroom, not all GS properties do. Yes GS is for girls, but if a dad wants something fun to do with his daughter that they can both enjoy then don’t push him away. I want this to be a family thing here and there. I get sending parents away from time to time so they can grow wings and learn to do things without mom and dad there but it shouldn’t be and end all thing either. Our camping trips just cannot work without a 3rd adult for ratios/emergencies when camping with 12 girls.

Re: Girl Scout Camping Trips

Posted: Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:23 pm
by TacAir
Cool beans. Got any pics? I worked a girls camp for five summers. Lots of fun if you can keep the drama under control.

Re: Girl Scout Camping Trips

Posted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:13 pm
by mattdcknsn
I actually have my first Girl Scouts camping trip coming up in a month. :) So far I will be the only guy going and I am COMPLETELY not sure what to expect. :shock:

My wife and I are looking to get GS certified for camping and first aid this spring/summer to make it easier moving forward. Regardless I am not sure what to expect. It'll be interesting regardless. :lol:

Re: Girl Scout Camping Trips

Posted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:20 pm
by TacAir
mattdcknsn wrote:I actually have my first Girl Scouts camping trip coming up in a month. :) So far I will be the only guy going and I am COMPLETELY not sure what to expect. :shock:

My wife and I are looking to get GS certified for camping and first aid this spring/summer to make it easier moving forward. Regardless I am not sure what to expect. It'll be interesting regardless. :lol:

Lots of drama...count on it. Otherwise, stay out of the way and let the kiddo go and learn.

Re: Girl Scout Camping Trips

Posted: Mon Apr 07, 2014 1:16 pm
by amber5499
mattdcknsn wrote:I actually have my first Girl Scouts camping trip coming up in a month. :) So far I will be the only guy going and I am COMPLETELY not sure what to expect. :shock:

My wife and I are looking to get GS certified for camping and first aid this spring/summer to make it easier moving forward. Regardless I am not sure what to expect. It'll be interesting regardless. :lol:

How did your first Girl Scout camping trip go? I would be interested to know how it went and as well as anything you learned from a male perspective that can make the experience a better one for everyone! The Me and My Gal camping trips hosted in our area are usually the first weekend in April. I am not sure if this is a Girl Scout tradition in general or if it is just when it is done in my area. It has never been convenient for my husband to do this with my oldest, and next year we will have two girls in scouts. So I was thinking about starting a fall or mid summer Me and My Gal camping trip event for girls in our area.

I am not sure how to attach pics? Any suggestions there? I do have some good ones from the two trips our group has taken.