I was probably about 9 or 10 years old when I went to Girl Scout Camp for the first time. I went to Camp Tweedale for a program called All Sports of Things. We swam, we canoed, we learned to lash sticks together to build structures. We went on an overnight tent camping trip off site and then hiked to the Herr’s potato chip factory for a tour. Given my age, it can’t have been a long hike, but it was a gray overcast day with a light rain, and man it seemed like it took 4 EVAH!! That said, you’ve never had a potato chip until you’ve had one fresh from the frier. Oh my mouth still waters from the memory.
I remember being homesick only one night in my four year Girl Scout Camp career. My favorite counselor was Bear. It was her night off and I desperately didn’t want her to leave, a melt down ensued but by morning, I was over it.
As a suburban kid who’s mother hated bugs, camp was my first real exposure to the outdoors especially sleeping outside. We were in canvas tents with wood platform floors and the thunder that was usually muffled by insulation and wallboard was some loud let me tell you!
For 3 years, I went to Camp Tohikanee (Tohi for short) for their Summer Barn Theater program (we really performed in an awesome old barn). The first year I was sick and got there late, so I was part of the Lollypop Guild in the Wizzard of Oz. The second year, we performed the Sound of Music and I was Max, the Von Trapp family’s agent. My last year, I was cast as Fagan in Oliver. I got sick while at camp, but didn’t tell anyone until I couldn’t hide it anymore. I knew I had a fever that kept breaking and rising, but I was so excited to have a major part, I didn’t want to give it up. Eventually I was ordered to the infirmary and nursed back to health by Suki, our wonderful camp nurse. She made me well (enough) in time for the big performance.
To me Girl Scout Camp conjures memories of singing, laughter, friendships, bug bites, polar bear swims, campfires and incredible opportunities for personal development and growth. This trip down memory lane was inspired by my present. My daughter is attending Girl Scout Camp for the second year. This year, she’s attending for two weeks in a program called “Camp Swap”, the first week will be spent rock climbing and the second will be spent horseback riding. She is going with a friend and when I left her yesterday she was a bundle of excited and nervous energy. I know she’ll have a good time and I can’t wait to hear about all of her adventures and the memories she’ll cherish for years to come.