It seems hard to believe that it's already time to start planning for resident, but it certainly is. We have reviewed the comments from girls, had some discussions, and now we are working on what to offer for next summer's resident camp sessions. To remain aligned with GSUSA, we are continuing to focus on core outdoor skills. It is a return to some of the long held and cherished values of the Girl Scout program. Since we don't know what outdoor badges will be offered, we are working to focus on all those program opportunities girls voted on for the 2015 program.
To answer our most often asked question, yes, we will continue to offer the horse program. We will also continue to offer swimming lessons, so girls can increase their confidence and abilities in and around the water. In a state that has lots of water, it is important for girls to have swimming skills and confidence around those skills. Day camp worked for a number of girls who didn't want to spend the night, or their parents weren't comfortable with it. We had some great successes there with a number of girls returning for a resident camp session, so we will offer day camp again. Brownie Sampler is another great way to introduce your daughter to camp if you are concerned about the length of a full session. Leadership camp will also be returning as part of the program.
One of the interesting things I have learned the past few years is that girls who have attended camp for years don't necessarily possess some of the outdoors skills we might expect. Few know how to build a campfire, for example. Outdoor cooking skills are somewhat limited. We have done a great job with survivor skills, so GPS, compass, and some of the outdoor hiking skills are good, but others have not been part of the program. Our current thinking is we will work to integrate more of those into the program for all girls.
My own foray into Girl Scouts was serving as the assistant director of a summer resident camp, so I understand and resonate with the values camp provides. Last summer Karlyn Edmonds, COO, and I were able to spend our summer at resident camp. What a tremendous gift that was. We were able to see on a daily basis girls who were not deterred by their size, their skill level, their anxiety, or their fear. One day I watched one of the smallest girls in her group take on the task at hand, master it, do it well, and then show her friends how to do it. It was simply amazing to watch.
As we work to shape the summer program, we are in search of girl input. If your daughter or troop has thoughts about the camp program, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.