Results tagged “Camp” from GSSA Leader Blog: The Virtual Volunteer


I came to Girl Scouts by way of Girl Scout camp.   When I was in college, I served as the assistant director of a Girl Scout camp that had 6- to 11-year-olds.   They graduated from our camp and went to the larger and more exciting one on Lake of the Ozarks for the older girls.   What a glorious job it was!

My job was the camp program. I was out in the woods all day, moving from unit to unit spelling staff so they could get their breaks.   I had an ancient Schwinn bicycle that I rode through the center part of the camp, but most of the camp was inaccessible by bicycle, and I had to hike, often alone at night, in the dark.   I learned a lot about the beauty of the woods in the evening with the sounds and movement of animals.

Why do I mention this?   Because camp is a great way for a girl who might not excel at sports or at school to recognize that she has courage, confidence and character.   I am always stunned and amazed at the girl who finds a snake in her tent and blissfully walks over to tell her counselor.   No screaming, no yelling, just a nonchalant note to the counselor that someone needs to take care of the snake so she can change her clothes to go swimming.

In today's world, where we have technology leashes through our cell phones, laptops, video games, and other devices to keep us in touch, it really leaves us out of touch -- out of touch with nature, with the melodies of the birds and the foraging of raccoons in untended trashcans.   I was spending the night at Kamp Kiwanis awhile back, when there was a huge commotion after dark. We discovered that the noise was made by an armadillo, waddling around looking for food.   Someone I was with from the staff mentioned she had never seen a live armadillo in her life.

We have some great camp opportunities this summer besides resident camp, if your daughter is worried about spending the night away.   We have a day camp option for both resident camps.   We also have established the dates with the Alabama Wildlife Federation's Lanark property in Millbrook to offer two-day camps there.   Last year, that camp received rave reviews from the girls.   We also have Sail Away, the sailing camp for girls who want to learn a lifetime sport, sailing.

We have some great opportunities for girls to increase their skills and get outdoors with their friends.   Even if their friends don't attend, we work to be sure they have others to rely on while they are at camp.   You would be surprised how spending time away from technology broadens a girl's curiosity.   Check out all our camps at  I'm planning on being up at camp all summer this year; the best job you can imagine.


First, I hope most of you are getting used to E-Council. We have received feedback from many volunteers who seem to love it.   It is much easier to use and saves lots of time from your end and ours.   We have discovered that many of you do not yet have council debit cards.   One of the things we have discussed on that is you can pay for it personally (using your own debit or credit card) and get reimbursed by your troop until you have a troop debit card in place.   We have heard that sometimes it takes the bank 10 business days to get you a troop debit card.   We won't be suspicious on troop audits if this fall girl memberships were paid to individuals so you can get registered.

The reason this is important is that the program module is going live very soon, and you cannot register for any programs unless you are registered in the membership module.   Thus, if you want to attend a council program, you will have to be registered in E-Council.   We have some great programs planned for girls, and we don't want them to miss out.

September 30 was the end of the council's fiscal year.   As we get close to the end of the year, if we have money left, then I try hard to address deferred maintenance issues at each of the camp properties.  One of the things we have been working on is the slipping sand at Camp Scoutshire Woods.   We were able to get more dirt, rock, and have some bulldozer work done to improve the perimeter road there.   Happily, we had a generous gift from our bulldozer contractor, which helped to make that happen.    At Camp Sid Edmonds, we replaced a culvert where the road washed significantly.   We were able to lay down rock on about half of the road there.   We did more rock on the road at Humming Hills, and Kamp Kiwanis got a new tractor, since the one there had not been replaced in years.

There is a large black bear that is in residence not far from Camp Scoutshire Woods, and we have seen photos of him.   He's a large guy, but the ranger has not seen him, and it is unlikely you will see him.   However, we are interested in safety, so please be on the lookout for bears on the property.   This summer, we also had an interloper who came on to the property at Camp Sid while there was a day camp going.   Because we are safety conscious and cell coverage is spotty at all our properties, we have purchased walkie-talkies for leaders when you are on camp properties.   When you arrive at the units, they will be checked out to you.   The base station is at the ranger's house.   Should you need any assistance or have an emergency, you can call via a cell phone or now use a walkie-talkie.

Hopefully, these improvements will make your stay at the camp properties safer and more enjoyable.   If you have not already registered for the 2013-2014-membership year, please register now.


As we look toward next summer, we are taking stock of this year's camp programs and offerings and looking at new possibilities.   There has been a resurgence of family camps, so one of the questions we have is whether, if we had waterfront staff, would you be interested in a family "staycation" at one of the Girl Scout properties?   There is a lot to do at most of the properties, but with the increasing cost of gasoline and vacations, we see this as a value added opportunity for parents of Girl Scouts.

Another conversation we have been having is whether to allow parents to attend camp with your younger Girl Scout.   Allowing your daughter to spend time away from home with someone they don't know can be daunting, so one of the discussions we have had is a session that might start on Friday evening, with the parents staying until Sunday evening, and then allowing the girls to stay on without a parent into the week.

The third alternative we have discussed is, rather than spending the night at camp, offering a day camp program.   You would drop your Girl Scout off at our office, and she would be taken up to camp every morning for a week.   There would be girls spending the week, but the girls who come from the office would participate in the same program, other than the overnight segment.

We are always looking for ways to increase girl participation in camp.   We believe being in the great outdoors is a learning opportunity that should not be missed.   We are also looking at a winter camp session during the end-of-the-year holidays, and if we have sufficient interest, we will run that session.

Please let us know your thoughts on camps for your Girl Scout at   Thank you for your input.


What about way too much to eat, relatives under foot, wrapping paper, kids with lots of time on their hands?  It is always interesting when we look forward to the holidays, but we are also happy when we can return to our routine.

In this time between various holiday activities, we want to take stock of 2012.   I believe it is good to be grateful for every day and each year.   GSSA has had an excellent 2012!   The cookie program was strong last year, with 500 more girls involved in the program.   The per girl cookie sale average increased, which translates additional funds to fix deferred maintenance, make new purchases, and build new things.   We addressed a number of leaking roofs, those of us in the Mobile Service Center are especially grateful for a new roof on both buildings, so it no longer leaks in.   We bought more stand-up paddle boards for both Kamp Kiwanis and Scoutshire Woods, so girls can hone their skills on those.   We built zip lines for the girls at Scoutshire Woods and Kamp Kiwanis, complete with helmets, harnesses, and trolleys for the girls to ride on.   There was a new dock at the island in the lake at Scoutshire Woods, and we built another new dock for the mariners at Kamp Kiwanis.   The horse ring at Scoutshire Woods has a new deluxe restroom, which is a prototype of more restrooms to come at this property.   It is constructed of concrete block, so in case there is a storm, girls would have a more substantial building to go to.   This is a partial list of the opportunities we were able to offer the girls because of a strong cookie program.

The girl programs for the 100th anniversary were outstanding.   In the early spring we were able to offer Girls Rock Mobile for 600 girls.   What a weekend that was, with an overnight at the Mobile Convention Center.   It included a boat ride so girls understand the port and issues confronting the port with litter.   There were exhibitors, and a great scavenger hunt through the city streets. 

GSSA also took two buses to Rock the Mall, the 100th anniversary rock concert on the Washington Monument mall, over 250,000 girls and adults attended that day.   Many other girls used their hard- earned cookie rewards to visit Savannah or take other trips they had been saving for.

The Heritage Committee put together an excellent exhibit highlighting the 100 years of Girl Scouts.   The History Museum of Mobile hosted a wonderful reception for the exhibit opening, so many got to celebrate 100 years of girls learning to become leaders.   This exhibit continues to tour the council and has been enjoyed by many.

We started having Girl Scout Alumnae events at different camps in the council and are working to reconnect with those who have gone before us, celebrating their involvement with girls creating leaders.   We continue to schedule those events throughout the council.

All of this happened while every week many of you meet with your girls, sing songs, build skills, and teach girls how to become leaders in their community through Discover, Connect, and Take Action.   We appreciate all you do to make the world a better place.   We are grateful for an excellent 2012 and have high hopes for an even better 2013!


Here's my true confession for the week. This Girl Scout is no camper, and after nearly 10 years working for Girl Scouts, I had never actually spent the night at one of our camp properties until just last week. Oh, I've spent many days at our camps working at events (I'm always up to lead a craft or a hike), checking on things at resident camp and having meetings. I'm even certified in small craft safety and troop camping. I love my creature comforts, though, and like to head home once the sun goes down.

I really thought I'd dodged a bullet on this one, and I did ... until I got the email from my own Daisy daughter's troop leader detailing plans for a troop camporee. As soon as she heard she'd be spending the night at Kamp Kiwanis, one of her very favorite places, my little one was ready to go. She started packing her bags a full week before our trip and talked of little else to her friends and even her first grade teacher. And, of course, this mom had no choice. I had to go.

Somewhat more reluctantly than my daughter, I packed my bags and headed to camp. The weather was beautiful, which was perfect because our busy girls had a day chockfull of great activities. They canoed, went swimming, made some seriously cute stick animals, hiked, earned a "bugs" badge, cooked their own lasagna in a Dutch oven over the fire and had an investiture/rededication ceremony, among other activities (are you tired yet?!). It was great fun to watch the girls trying new things, learning skills and discovering the joy you can only find in the outdoors.

By the time we took a final hike and packed up the next morning, the girls were looking a little tired, and the moms were feeling really tired, but I heard more than one child say that this was the best weekend ever and others ask why we had to leave so soon. The girls were hugging each other before they got into their cars and asking when they could pleeeese do this again soon. They had certainly learned a few lessons over the weekend, and interestingly, so did I.

Here are some things I took away from the experience:

* There is nothing to compare with the joyful sounds of 13 Daisy and Brownie Girl Scouts when they are canoeing for the first time.

* Taking a night hike without checking the trail for spider webs first is probably not a good idea. Sorry about that, girls!

* The night noises at camp are beautiful, as is the sunrise over Lake Martin. You should definitely try it.

* Much to my surprise, you really can cook a tasty dinner in a Dutch oven. I won't doubt Cheryl Miller (our council's volunteer liaison and camper extraordinaire) on that topic again.

* Who needs crème brulee when you can have a dessert of campfire cones (see recipe below) while sitting around the fire? These babies are so tasty I'll definitely be making them by our fireside at home this winter.

* Spending the weekend in the woods reminds you of all the things you love about your child and helps you discover some new qualities to enjoy, as well.

The moral of this non-camper's story is this. You may not ever be a "real" camper, and it's ok if you don't love spending the night in the woods. It's a great experience, though, and definitely worth a try. You'll learn a lot about your daughter and maybe a little about yourself, too. Happy camping!

Campfire Cones

What you need: 1 waffle cone per girl and adult (younger girls might prefer a smaller sugar cone), chocolate chips, white chocolate morsels, toffee pieces, peanuts, mini marshmallows, peanut butter morsels, etc. (whatever might be good melted together), aluminum foil, and small bowls and spoons for add-ins

Girls choose their own flavor combinations to fill their cone. Cone is then wrapped in aluminum foil and allowed to warm by campfire. Unwrap and enjoy!


This is a great time of year if you work for Girl Scouts, because you have the opportunity to get outdoors and ready for camp.   It is always the highlight of my year, as I get to spend time working on things to enrich the girls' summer camp experience.   Some of the projects are in the early stages, others are not quite underway, but we'll get there. 

At this time of year, I like to check with the rangers to see what wildlife we have on our properties.   So far this year, we have had three rattlesnakes on three of the four camps.   The only camp we haven't seen a rattler on yet is Kamp Kiwanis.  

Last year Kamp Kiwanis had a rattlesnake, which is fairly unusual and likely the result of their habitat being destroyed with the tornado.   A few years ago, when we timbered Camp Humming Hills, the guys working on the timber project said they saw a jaguar with two cubs.   Recently, Wanda Smith, the ranger's wife was on the property and saw two jaguars.   They are incredibly elusive, to see them would be a tremendous gift, as their range is huge.  

In an effort to document our wildlife, we will be putting in some trophy cameras.   They take photos of movement, even at night.   They do that with an infrared flash, so they don't spook the wildlife.   I'm hoping we will have some fun and education about what lives at the camps when we aren't around.

We have one zip line installed at Kamp Kiwanis, and some of the board members took their fiduciary responsibility seriously and tried it the afternoon before the annual meeting.   We are intentionally installing the zip lines at girl level, and if they enjoy them, then we will look at putting more in higher places.   Right now, we have the test line in, and once we figure out how that works, we will install a few at Camp Scoutshire Woods.  For girls waiting to use the zip lines, since there's always a line at such things, we have a slack line, much like a balance beam made of a narrow tape between two trees.   It's the new hot thing on college campuses.

Paul Wright, the ranger at Kamp Kiwanis spent a large chunk of his time this winter clearing out the trees between the Pioneer Unit bathhouse and the lake to build a beautiful new dock for the sailing program.   This will keep the sailboat traffic and canoe traffic separate.   We also have more stand-up paddle boards headed to both Kamp Kiwanis and Camp Scoutshire Woods.


Yes, this is the  time of year that we start planning for summer camp.   It is important for the camp directors to get their plans nailed down so we can get the properties ready for the summer ahead.  Last year we saw a significant decrease in the number of girls attending resident camp, which we hope will not happen again this summer.

I had someone call and suggest we do an abbreviated session for Brownies.   We do offer abbreviated sessions for Brownies; in fact, we have one that includes moms!   Our initial camp registrations last year  were ahead of what they had been the year before.   But, as time went along, both resident camps had fewer girls.   I speculate some of this is from troops saving their funds to go on significant trips this summer.   We have a number going to Rock the Mall in Washington, D.C., and many traveling to Savannah.   Another problem for summer 2012 is the Montgomery School District isn't out of school until much later in June.  Because of these factors, we will reduce the number of camp sessions at both properties from four weeks to three weeks.   Given the number of girls we had last summer, I don't anticipate this will create any issues.   In fact, it should make for better sessions.   Both camp directors have new ideas on how to improve the programs.   They are both working to integrate the new materials from the Girls Guide to Girl Scouting in their programs.   We hope to have more information for resident camp available earlier this year and can't wait to see you at camp next summer! 

liz_brent.jpgI was at camp yesterday, getting paid to watch girls learning to use a stand up paddleboard, sail or archery. It was wonderful to see girls push themselves out of their comfort zone to try new things. The weather was beautiful, and girls were enjoying the outdoors, away from their electronics.  And guess what?  They were all having a great time!  They were talking to each other, face to face -- what a wonderful thing.  As times change, we have technology and all sorts of things that consume our time.  It's important to remember, though, that trying new things and talking to your friends, makes the best summer memories!
Looking for something to do this summer? We've got even more events just for you! Girls may register for events individually, or with a troop. The Event Registration Form should be submitted along with payment for the event. Girls who are not already Girl Scouts will also need to submit the Girl Scout Registration Form with the $12 annual membership fee.

Swimming, games, hiking and campfire snacks! Bring a sack lunch for a picnic!
Who: Girl Scout Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors
First session: Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Registration Deadline: June 20
Second session: Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Registration Deadline: July 18
Where: Holy Ground Battlefield Park, Hayneville
Time: 9AM-3PM
Cost: $12/girl (includes snack)
Contact: Jennifer Sakey, 334-272-9164, ext. 2104

Cool off this summer as we celebrate Christmas in July!  Crafts, snacks and movies that combine summer sun and winter snow.
Who: Girl Scout Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Where: Girl Scout Volunteer Center, Montgomery
Deadline to Register is July 11

Contact: Jennifer Sakey, 334-272-9164, ext. 2104


Join us at camp for fishing contests and water play!  Bring a picnic lunch, your swimsuit, fishing pole and bait.

Who: Girl Scout Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Camp Humming Hills, Elba
Deadline to register is July 25

Contact: Jennifer Sakey, 334-272-9164, ext. 2104
Camp Scoutshire Woods is in need of a wonderful nurse, who would love to be at camp for a week or two! Dates needed are: June 19-June 24, and/or June 26-July 2. You have the option to be paid staff (pay is modest) or you can volunteer as the camp nurse, and bring one camper (daughter/granddaughter) free for each week that you volunteer. We are looking for an RN, LPN, or emergency first responder licensee. Other positions open are:
  • Boating Director/counselor 17 years or older
  • Lifeguard/counselor 17 years or older
  • Assistant to Horse Director 17 years or older, experienced in working with children and horses
E-mail Woody at  
Kamp Kiwanis is also looking for nurses. Dates needed are: June 19-June 24, and/or July 3-8. You have the option to be paid staff (pay is modest) or you can volunteer as the camp nurse, and bring one camper (daughter/granddaughter) free for each week that you volunteer. We are looking for an RN, LPN, or emergency first responder licensee.
Additional volunteer opportunity:
  • Kitchen Assistant: if you volunteer for a week you can bring a camper for free
E-mail Bossy at
So, here we are sitting around feeling like we've accomplished a lot.  The camp information is up, cookie sales are going well, the Thin Mint Sprint planning is coming right along ... and we get a call that the camp info that is up is from last summer!  

Certainly, that can't be, we thought.  So many of us have looked at the camp page and had a piece in getting the information out.  Certainly, not one of us realized it was last year's camp booklet.  

Well, that's the case.  For those of you who looked at the camp info over the last week and were busy planning out your summers around the sessions, we apologize.  The 2011 programs will be posted tonight, and we're so sorry for any confusion this created.

The plus side? If you were excited about the 2010 programs, just wait to see what's really in store for 2011!

Pick up where summer camp left off developing your skills with your crew mates while learning by doing and you will be sailing the Zumas with confidence before you know it. Come sail away on beautiful Perdido Bay!
(And feel free to join us at Mariner Weekend.)

Program Level: Cadette, Senior, Ambassador with Previous sailing instruction required!

October 2-Oct. 3, 2010
Time: Check in 8-8:30 am CDT Saturday
   Check out 12 noon CDT Sunday
(For those traveling a good distance, you can come Friday night.)

Where: Kugleman Aquatic Center, Lillian, Al.

Fee: $25 - includes lodging, food Saturday evening and breakfast on Sun. (Bring a sack lunch for Saturday) and program materials.

A list of what to bring will be e-mailed to you upon registration.

Deadline to register September 17, 2010

Contact "Woody" at for further information.

Program Level: Cadette, Senior, Ambassador sunfish.jpg

Learn the basics of sailing on beautiful Lake Martin using our flotilla of sunfish. Our experienced instructors will provide a positive learning atmosphere for students to build confidence and develop skills. You will get hooked and join us for more instructional weekends!
(And feel free to join us at Mariner Weekend.)

No previous sailing experience required

October 23-Oct. 24, 2010

Time: Check in 8-8:30 am CDT Saturday
Check out 12 noon CDT Sunday (For those traveling a good distance, you can come Friday night.)

Where: Kamp Kiwanis near Eclectic, Al.

Fee: $25 - includes lodging, food Saturday evening and breakfast on Sun. (Bring a sack lunch for Saturday) and program materials.

A list of what to bring will be e-mailed to you upon registration.

Deadline to register Oct. 7th, 2010

Contact "Woody" at for further information


Calling all 8th-12th grade girls in troops or Juliettes interested in high adventure, water-based activities! This year's focus will be a mix of white water canoeing, rafting and sailing. Be sure and join us for a fun weekend of meet-and-greet where we will plan all exciting activities to schedule on our calendar. Bring your planner. If you are interested in this Mariner experience, don't miss out! Hop on board now!


Troops interested in the mariner program are also invited. The Leaders will get information on certifications and program objectives and goals during this weekend.

Saturday September 11, 2010-September 12, 2010

Registration deadline: Aug 30, 2010

Camp Scoutshire Woods- Citronelle, Al.

Time:  Check in 8-8:30 am CDT Saturday

            Check out 12 noon CDT Sunday

(For those traveling a good distance, you can come Friday night.)


Event Type: Introduction Mariner Pathway

 Program Level: 8-12th grade girls

Fee:   $25 - includes lodging, food Saturday evening and breakfast on Sun.  (Bring a sack lunch for Saturday) and program materials.

A list of what to bring will be e-mailed to you upon registration.

Contact "Woody" at for further information.

You might be one of our moms wondering if your daughter is ready for camp... United Way of Baldwin County recently featured an article about Girl Scout camp written by Girl Scout volunteer, Cori Yonge. The article, aimed at helping parents decide if their daughter was ready for camp, gave parents tips on making the camp decision. The informative article offered advice and answered questions even returning campers parents might have.  Thank you Cori for writing this article and increasing awareness of Girl Scouts!



camp2010.jpgGive your Girl Scout the great outdoors this summer! Girls grow in confidence when they learn new skills and have new experiences away from home. With two camps to choose from, you just can't lose! Summer Resident Camp is offered at Camp Scoutshire Woods and Kamp Kiwanis; two special camps, each with a distinct personality of its own, offering a variety of summer resident camps there's sure to be one (or more) to intrigue your Girl Scout!


We have many exciting new additions to our summer resident camp sessions, and we are pleased to introduce them to you!   Some of the changes include camp scholarships (formerly called financial aid), Circle of Friends camp, troop camping and a multi-council sailing camp at Camp Kugelman.


Camp registrations for girls who sold more than 600 boxes of cookies (girls who earned cookie camperships or cookie bucks) will be accepted starting March 22. Camp registrations for all other girls will be accepted beginning March 29.


All of the camp information can be found on the Camps and Properties page of our website.

Congratulations to Jessica J. of Troop 8455 in Semmes! Jessica is the recipient of this year's Goodwill Easter Seals Campership.  Jessica collected the most (32) bags of used clothing and household items in the "Good Samaritan" program.   She plans to use her campership to attend the Kayak Expedition at Scoutshire Woods.


Thanks to Goodwill Easter Seals for making  this program possible and to all of the girls who participated in this year's drive. Participants will receive a patch and gift certificates to the Goodwill Easter Seals stores.


This program was only available in 8 counties this year (Mobile, Baldwin, Washington, Escambia, Conecuh, Clarke, Choctaw and Monroe).  If you have any contacts for the Goodwill Easter Seals in your county, please contact Mary Anne Brutkiewicz at 251.344.3330, ext: 1202.

Do YOU want to experience a free day of camp?  We're hosting a day of visual and performing arts at Camp Scoutshire Woods and Kamp Kiwanis for all girls who register for the 2009-2010 membership year by July 13.  We're painting, creating unique fashions, making jewelry and learning the hottest new dance, the Hannah Hoedown.  Do you adore adventurous water slides and wave pools?  We've got discounted water park tickets available for the early birds.  And you can earn patches!  Last but not least, your troop can get a jump start on the 2009-2010 Girl Scout year.  Come one, come all:  Register early for Girl Scouts!


Download the Early Registration Packet.

What happens at the end of Cookie Sale?  Signing up for Resident Camp!  And outstanding cookie sellers get to sign up early!

Girls who earned Cookie Camperships (by selling 600+ boxes of cookies) may register  starting March 23.  Camp registrations for all girls (including non-Girl Scouts) will be accepted starting March 30.   More information about all the different camp sessions may be found at the Camp page on our web site.

Registrations for all camp sessions, including girls with camperships, are on a first-come, first-served basis by postmark date at the Montgomery Service Center for Kamp Kiwanis and the Mobile Service Center for Camp Scoutshire Woods.  Walk-ins will not be accepted because camp registrations are processed by mail in order received to give every girl an equal opportunity to register for her first choice camp session. 

Many sessions fill up quickly, so get your registration in the mail on March 23 or 30!
canoe_girls.jpgSummer Resident Camp at Scoutshire Woods or Kamp Kiwanis is the ultimate Girl Scout experience.  The girls learn new skills, forge new friendships, and gain confidence in themselves while having a great time in the outdoors!  Now is the time to plan for your girls to attend -- some sessions fill up quickly.  All the information you need is on our Camps and Property page

Remember, girls selling 600+ boxes of cookies can receive $175 towards a camp session AND register early.  Be sure to remind your troop parents of this great opportunity to get a huge discount on Resident Camp!



  • © 2006-2014 Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama, Inc. 1-800-239-6636. All Rights Reserved.

  • Join us on: