Beyond Building Campfires: What Camp Offers Girls

By Erica Cutchins, Girl Scout Volunteer

Everything my daughter needs to learn, she learns at Girl Scout Camp. Our family knows that Girl Scout Camp is real-world experience building girls of courageconfidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

I grew up in a troop where camping was the norm. Most of my fondest Girl Scout memories are from camping. We joke that we had a camping curse, because it ALWAYS rained when we camped. However, this Girl Scout sure can set a fire and cook in the rain. I am grateful that my daughter, a fourth generation Girl Scout, has the opportunity to experience Girl Scout Camp. She has camped with her troop, attended week long resident camps at Camp Mary Atkinson and Camp Graham (that she helped pay for by selling lots of Girl Scout cookies), attended Wake Forest’s day camp, and attended Me and My Guy (male adult) and Me and My Gal (female adult) family camping weekends. Girl Scout Camp is different from other camps because it is led by counselors who are vested in supporting and nurturing girls’ minds, skills and self-esteem.

Girl Scout Camp builds Courage – Courage to try new things, courage to not give up and courage to believe in herself.

Being at camp provides unlimited, positive development opportunities. Beyond the limiting walls of school and family, girls have opportunities to branch out and make friends on their own. They meet diverse girls from all over the state helping to foster social skills. The girls cultivate relationships with their bunkmates, learn about responsibility, how to compromise, cooperate, and how to work with others to accomplish common goals. When girls develop independence, it creates a sense of achievement. Doing things on their own is no better confidence booster.

Girl Scout Camp builds Confidence – Confidence in their minds, confidence in their abilities, as well as confidence in their individualism.

Girl Scout Camp is where mom, dad, teacher, and troop leaders aren’t around to instruct or do things for them. Girls are in a safe environment to try something new. Their creativity is sparked and critical thinking is engaged when they expand beyond traditional imposed limits. Girl Scout camp is a super self-esteem boost providing non-threatening and non-competitive activities to help the girls do things that they may not get the opportunity do in their regular life. Girl Scout camp is a safe environment to try and fail in where they are supported by other girls. They experience obstacles, have the opportunity to overcome (to try and try again), and learn how great it feels to succeed when they don’t give up.  Self-esteem and confidence cannot be bought. It can only come from their accomplishments. When girls make their own decisions they have the opportunity to challenge preconceived notions and explore who they are instead of who they are told to be.

Girl Scout Camp builds Character – Character from friendships, character from challenges, and character from down-to-earth experiences.

Diverse experiences are a necessity to develop character. At troop meetings, girls learn about the Girl Scout Law. At camp, they have the opportunity to live the Girl Scout Law—they walk-the-walk with fellow Girl Scout sisters.  At camp, girls are in a nurturing environment where family learned morals are strengthened while experiencing the Girl Scout Law with their bunkmates; be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, be responsible for what they say and do, respect herself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout.

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Girls are empowered and gain resiliency when they learn how to take care of themselves (personal hygiene, making healthy eating choices, etc). In a safe and nurturing environment like camp, they get to make their own decisions (sometimes for the first time) and discover positive and negative consequences resulting from their decisions.

At Girl Scout camp, girls unplug from technology. Being unplugged and outdoors with other girls sparks their creativity to run wild. They discover and develop their interests. They have unstructured outdoor play and are freed from strict routines and academic structure.  My daughter thrives outdoors and craves to be outside. When she comes home from camp, I can feel and see her confidence. She is proud to show her little brother the crafts she made, teach us outdoor games, sing us songs, and tell us all about what she did with her new camp friends.

All of the outcomes of Girl Scout Camp – overcoming challenges, being courageous, being independent – provides girls with lifelong skills that they can apply to all facets of their life for years to come. At Girl Scout camp, our girls truly learn to be a sister to every Girl Scout and make the world a better place.

As a mom, I encourage you to let your daughter experience all Girl Scouts has to offer. Visit and register today. Girls can participate as individuals or join a troop near them to attend and experience amazing outdoor and camping events and activities.

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