Submitted by Penny Roberts
Northern & Northeastern CO
Volunteer-run core camps at Meadow Mountain Ranch this past summer enticed almost 200 girls to the Colorado high country to hike, cook out, sing, do crafts, archery, kapers, and generally, get a really broad sampling of what Girl Scout Camp is all about. The two-night Core Camp (CC for short) gave less experienced troops a quick overview of a variety of program offerings and expert volunteers were there to take the lead in making that program a success. Leaders did not need to worry about planning or scheduling, organizing or executing parts of camp program they might not be quite as knowledgeable about. Most of the volunteer staff had been camp counselors or camp directors before, even as far back as the 1960s. They were truly excited to share their favorite things of camp to new girls and leaders. Included in the short time at camp were archery, outdoor skills, crafts, hiking, cookouts, campfires, nature activities, kapers (camp chores), ceremonies, etc. Add into organized sessions was plenty of free time to hang out with troop friends (“me time”), make new friends, sleep in the tabins in the units, and enjoy the beauty and mountain environment of one of the most beautiful Girl Scouts camps anywhere.
Core Camp 2, a three-night camp, offered more time for more fun. This year a pilot program of beginning backpacking skills was offered, and a good group of girls had a mini-trip to the back meadow with packs to see what great adventures might await when we get away from main camp. Extended craft sessions, a little more time for organizing and preparing for the cookout, and night-time activities were offered. The same volunteer staff members were on tap to help girls and leaders have even more fun, and certainly the goal is to have more girls come for three nights next year.
Highlights of Core Camps included “Art in the Park,” a nature immersion session, where girls and leaders were able to draw or paint out in the woods their personal interpretations of the beauty of nature and then display their works in a fresh-air art gallery where they shared with the visitors the spirit behind their masterpieces. Of course, they get to take their art works home with them. The “Partner Scavenger Hunt” allowed pairs of girls and adults an extended time outdoors finding things, writing poetry, creating musical instruments from things in nature and also sharing their favorite experiences with the whole group.
Crafts in the Paint Pot activity shelter included various selected offerings such as beadwork, memory boxes, dream catchers and more.
The outdoor skills program offerings allowed girls experiences with knot tying, fire building, lashing, orienteering, plant identification and more. A lot was crammed into these sessions, but the very experienced volunteers sparked a lot of interest and enthusiasm.
There was a “Meadow Meander” which allowed a couple of groups a special opportunity to immerse themselves in the tall, tall grass in the middle meadow and take a closer look at the flowers, bugs, leaves, trees and just lie quietly and take it all in. “What’s that?” “What kind of flower is that?” “Why does this look like thisl?” “Where did that come from?” Exploration and satisfaction abounded, and allowed for some fabulous photo ops, too, to allow us to share the moment and make memories to last a lifetime.
The archery area was busy all day with rotations of all the girls and leaders, led by experienced staff members who gave instructions and made sure that what might be a new activity for some would prove to be a complete success for everyone, adults included!
The dates are already set for our volunteer-run Core Camps for summer, 2018. See the listings in the camp brochure, and save the dates as follows:
CC1: July 20 – 22 (two nights)
CC2: July 27 – 30 (three nights)
For information or to make registrations contact Linda Robinson, registrar, at firstname.lastname@example.org.