There seem to be a couple of schools of thought in our Girl Scout family. One is that all children should be sent to camp. It provides skill development, enhances independence from parents, and builds confidence. This is the traditional thought about camp -- that being outdoors, away from parents and siblings teaches kids to develop skills. And it does.
The other school of thought is the prevailing one of more cautious parents. They either didn't have a good camp experience or no camp experience, so they aren't comfortable allowing their daughter to attend camp without them. They also worry she won't have a good time. And because we don't allow cell phones, there isn't any contact, which may heighten their anxiety and worry. I ask lots of girls whether they are going to camp. I hear plenty of them respond because their parents don't want them to.
We have created a day program for those whose parents aren't comfortable with them being away from home with the day camps. We take girls up to camp in the morning and return them each evening. This proved to be a good experience for the girls who tried it last summer. We learned some things through this experience, so we plan on that being a great opportunity for them. We also have the shortened session for those younger girls who want to give camp a try, but a week is just too long. Look for the Brownie Sampler as the one for your daughter who wants to give it a try.
Each summer I'm fortunate to watch girls learn how to ride a horse, learn to swim, hike on trails and identify parts of their world, and giggle and have a great time. There's the occasional moment of homesickness, but we work to keep the girls busy so they don't have time for that.
Girls have fun at camp. They learn they can do things they didn't believe they could, whether that is sleep in a tent or cabin, confront a spider, put their face in a murky lake, or navigate to the bath house after dark. Girls build confidence at camp. I watch it every year, whether that happens at the swim dock, on a zip line or in a tent it is simply amazing to watch.
Girls spend lots of time at camp talking to one another, making new friends, learning songs, and some days just being silly. Because they don't have access to electronics they learn to savor the silence, listen to the sounds of the outdoors, and understand who they are without their parents readily available. I'm always gratified and amazed to watch even the meekest girl exhibit the character she possesses in this context. Last year one of the smallest of the girls I watched one day was the most intrepid.
It takes courage to send your daughter to camp and for her to go. Last year we had a number of girls who had so much fun their first week that they returned for more, or went from Camp Scoutshire Woods to Kamp Kiwanis for another week in a different location. Most earned badges and patches. Many made some great crafts. Almost all learned more about swimming and canoeing or tried a stand up paddle board. Some mastered horsemanship, while others learned to survive in the woods. I was at camp every day last summer, and it was only occasionally that I witnessed a girl not having a good time or homesick.
As you consider what you want your daughter to learn, offer her an opportunity to learn what happens in the great outdoors. It is simply amazing!