I was fortunate to have an opportunity to be up at Sail Away camp last week. This camp is a specialty camp that is focused on sailing all week long. Because it requires higher-level skills, such as swimming and good strength, it is intentionally a camp for older girls. It isn't often that I get to observe our older girls in action. But this was an especially gratifying experience.
When you sail you don't move to your destination in a straight line, you tack, which is back and forth, zigzagging, rather than directly. You have to rely on the wind, or lack of wind to move you to your destination, so arrival is not necessarily in your hands solely. You also have to work to get to your destination; sailing is an active sport, not passive. You are always looking for the wind and determining your next move in relation to the shifts in the wind.
What I observed was a group of girls who were highly skilled. There were a few younger ones, working with the Sunfish, which has only one sail, so in some ways it is harder to deal with. They were doing a great job working their way along the edge of the cove to move out into the more intense wind of the length of the lake.
There was another larger group of more experienced girls, who were working on rigging the larger boats with two sails. Once rigged, those girls quickly tacked out to get into the big air of the lake to sail.
It was amazing to watch. These girls were skilled, self reliant, resilient, and knowledgeable. They were good about listening how to rig the boat, then proceeded to rig their own. From there they took action. They were told what to do, watched, and then managed to take care of their own boat and they were on their way. They illustrated their confidence, their ability to think in action, and make adjustments.
If you ever wonder about the quality of the leadership skills that being a Girl Scout imbues, watch these girls sail. They exhibited many leadership qualities. They were able to put together many leadership skills to hone a skill they will possess for a lifetime. Although sailing might be a metaphor for later life, sometimes we can't take the direct route, our path is indirect and fraught with unanticipated challenges. But after watching these girls, it is clear they have benefitted from honing their leadership skills and will have capabilities they can apply to life's challenges.