A smaller-than-usual, but happy group of women gathered at Meadow Mountain Ranch (MMR) for Women’s Week 2018. Participants from Utah, Wyoming, Nevada, Indiana, Maine, and Colorado gathered for food, friendship, and fun in the high country near Allenspark.
Highlights of this year’s gathering were the dedication of the Pinecrest Memorial Unit Shelter and special brunch, a Tajar Tales performance by the Tajar Tales Performance Ensemble, hiking in the pouring rain, crafts (and more crafts), singing (and more singing), spectacular scenery, and the best food around.
Thanks again as always to Susan Baker and her food service gurus, who helped us figure out how to makes S’mores in ice cream cones, and other culinary delicacies without being able to cook over an open fire due to Level 2 fire bans.
Also, thanks to Taryn “Flower” Taylor who reconnected with MMR alumnae and friends from her past and provided special professional-level photography documentation of all the ladies and special events.
Also, thanks to the GSCO professional staff who joined us on Wednesday to dedicate the newly-completed shelter in the Pinecrest Unit. This will serve as a special gathering place for groups who choose to stay in this large, but more distant tabin unit. When the new zipline is completed, it will also provide a picnic place for those groups as well.
Any ladies 18 years of age or older are welcome at Women’s Week. You don’t have to be a current or past Girl Scout, you just have to want to come and play in the outdoors with other like-minded friends. Some of the best experiences were had by a few women who had never been to camp before. Mom and daughter and granddaughter groups have had great family experiences and come back every year to be sure they don’t forget what it’s all about.
A lot of our past participants were called away this year for various reasons like family reunions, overseas trips, graduations, weddings, and the like, but most all of them have expressed their desire to return next year. The dates are already set – – – mark your calendars right now – – – JULY 15 – 18, 2019 and the schedule will be pretty much the same. First meal on Monday at noon and last meal will be brunch on Thursday morning. Cost is $180 for the total time, but a part-time $60 three-meal grouping of any kind can be arranged. Some “campership” financial assistance may be available.
Is there some special program you would like to offer such as yoga, folk dancing, drumming, or a special craft you’d like to share with the group? Let us know and bring along materials to share. Is there a great menu item you’d like to propose we try, especially if we can build fires next year? Just let us know. The sky is the limit – – stargazing, flying kites, bird watching. Want to explore the “Haunted Florist” or spend time on the self-guided nature trail? Want to climb Longs Peak? Want to sleep out in the back meadow? Want to explore “Hidden Places” known only to a few? We make our own schedules and can flex with the weather and time needed to make it all happen. We can get up early, stay up late, take a nap, take a walk, whatever suits your fancy. Opportunities for service projects can also enhance our camp with the help of David and Julie Fischer, property managers.
For further information, please contact the very informal camp director, Penny “Pan” Roberts, at email@example.com or evenings at (970) 586-1775. Help us continue our history of making Women’s Week at MMR one of the highlights of the summer.
“Sing, sing together, merrily, merrily sing!” Girl Scouts sing for lots of reasons: to keep traditions alive, gather in congenial comradeship, create memories, learn new things, expand our horizons, make joyful music together, but most of all TO HAVE FUN !
The Songbirds Girl Scout Choir, under the direction of Penny Roberts, began in the fall of 2002 as an outgrowth of the 90th Anniversary Roundup in the legacy Mountain Prairie Girl Scout Council. We had so much fun, we wanted to continue singing together. Our youngest member was about four-years-old at the time, and often rode on her mom’s shoulders when we sang with their Girl Scout troop. Penny had wanted to be a choir director since she first saw more than 10,000 Girl Scouts and adults from around the country gather in the amphitheater at the 1962 Roundup in Button Bay, Vermont to raise their voices in song.
The Songbirds meet on the second Saturday of every month from September through April. They gather at the Berthoud Elementary School at 560 Bunyan Avenue in one of the classrooms. A guitar class is offered each month at 9 a.m. for those singers age 10 and up, who want to join in the fun and learn how to play guitar chords to accompany the choir. From 10 a.m. to noon the group sings old songs, new songs, fun songs, campfire songs, foreign language songs, rounds, graces, folk songs, motion songs, clapping games, Lemmi sticks, and on and on it goes.
Songbirds are looking for new members! Please bring your troop, friends, neighbors, adults and children. Anyone is welcome. There is no charge and no registration. Come once or join for the rest of the year and beyond.
Choir members are provided with three different songbooks and royal blue logo shirts are worn to special performances.
Songbirds sing in performance whenever requested. For example, we will have a performance and a sing-along at the Open House at Meadow Mountain Ranch on Sunday, September 23, 2018. We’ll help others have fun while they explore our wonderful mountain camp facility. If you’d like a taste of what the Songbirds do, come join us there.
A flyer is below with contact information if needed. “All together, sing together, lalalalalalala la la la!” and “Sing, sing, sing, come my friends and sing with me. Round up your voices, fill the air with music free.” Please join us, one and all!
Spend the night on Friday or just come up for the fun on Saturday. Everyone will have a chance to try their skills at archery and we will also play some outdoor games, do a craft or service project, and go on a hike.
There are a limited number of spaces for girls and adults on Friday night.
Saturday activities run from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Lunch and snacks are provided for all on Saturday. Cadettes will earn their Archery badge and other levels will receive an archery fun patch.
Spend the night on Friday or just come up for the fun on Saturday. Everyone will have a chance to try their skills at archery and we will also play some outdoor games, do a craft or service project and go on a hike.
There are a limited number of spaces for girls and adults on Friday night.
Saturday activities run from 9am – 4pm. Lunch and snacks are provided for all on Saturday. Cadettes will earn their Archery badge and other levels will receive an archery fun patch.
Driving up the dirt road to see the expanse of meadow, trees and sky, my heart leaps as it always does every time I return to Meadow Mountain Ranch. Songs come flooding into my mind and smells of pine and campfire and cooking-out come close to overwhelming my senses. I am excited to see old friends and to meet new ones. I feel that song coming on, right? Women’s Week is a unique opportunity for all adult women to come together and play at camp, reminisce about all the years past when they were a camper, or try all the new experiences if they had never been able to go to camp before.
What did I look forward to most? The people, food, fires, fun, hikes, flowers, songs. “It’s up in the morning, at breakin’ of day,” – – that’s for sure, and “Bed is too small for my tiredness.” Long days, warm skies, too many things to do in too short a time.
This year, a total of 39 women gathered and offered their favorite activities, or requested ideas of what they would like to do to maximize their time in the Colorado high country. A “Big Circle Tour” acquainted us all with the camp property, its trails, views and details. The flowers are absolutely spectacular this year. It seems that spring, summer and fall vegetation and colors have all become jumbled and mixed because of the weather this year. The grass is nearly 4’ high in the back meadow. (Break out the allergy medicine, that’s for sure, at least for some!)
A group gathered at 6:15 a.m. for the early-morning hike to the top of Vista Spur, where all the mountain peaks are visible in a 360-degree spectacular view.
Let’s talk about the food for a while, OK? Susan Baker is our culinary guru, with the help of several of her Girl Scout troop, who did the menu planning, shopping and organizing. To say the food was fabulous is an understatement! It’s almost more than we can do to wait to see what surprises are in store for the next meal. We cooked over fires again this year, which is a true blessing, and one of my favorite things to do. Other cooking opportunities involved propane stoves, charcoal and a reflector oven. A feature attraction was a TV cooking show-type bake-off with veterans competing against the younger girls to see who made the best pineapple upside down cake in a dutch oven. Who won? Too close to call, we decided, and we made quick work of all of it!
Fresh produce was donated in the form of cantaloupes from Rocky Ford and homegrown rhubarb from the Denver area. The cantaloupes were gobbled up entirely every time they were served and the rhubarb was featured in strawberry-rhubarb crisp made in a reflector oven and homemade rhubarb jam cooked in the lodge kitchen. THANKS to Debbie, Tajer and Nancy for helping us have extra fun with food.
The GSCO History Group gathered on Tuesday morning to complete the history display in the Homestead House. Their efforts were supplemented by new items discovered in the basement of the lodge and ephemera and memorabilia brought by folks to be added. Be sure to stop in at the Homestead House each and every time you come to MMR to learn more about the history of this unique property.
A respectful and moving ceremony was held after lunch that day to burn several U.S. and Colorado flags. It is appropriate to hoist one of the flags to be burned on the flagpole, talk about how and why these flags are being retired, and then gather amid friends before a very hot fire to be sure the flags are completely consumed.
Well, there were many other things to do – – a “Margaret Party” with an old-style movie version of the “Golden Eaglet” movie, campfire every night, sing-alongs every time we got together, crafts, hikes, nature activities, more cooking, more singing………don’t forget story time for a full-length reading of James Thurber’s “The 13 Clocks,” and “The Tajer Tales.”
Kapers, which seem tedious when you do them at home, are actually fun at camp! Cooking, doing dishes, cleaning the biffy, waste management all take on meaning by way of keeping camp clean and safe. MMR has instituted a “Zero Waste” program, and we women needed several tutorials to refine our trash disposal techniques each day.
Sadly, most women left at the end of the Women’s Week event, but several intrepid volunteers remained to operate the Core Camp for troops. Over 100 girls and leaders arrived that afternoon and enjoyed three nights of non-stop fun and outdoor frivolity at MMR. Core Camp is an event that grew out of the desire of several MMR staff alums who wanted to make sure that more girls were able to experience MMR in all its high summer glory. From the surveys conducted at the end, they were not disappointed! (A separate blog posting is coming along shortly to detail the events of Core Camp.)
To close, Women’s Week and Core Camp at MMR this summer leave us with more fond memories to add to our Girl Scout history and experiences. Plans are even now underway to bring these two events to everyone again next summer. Watch the publications for that information.
This committee had many summer scheduling issues and joined to meet twice in September. These are notes from the past two meetings. Thank you to the dedicated volunteers who help out on this committee.
The Outdoor Property Evaluation Task Force met to discuss the selection of additional volunteers to the Task Force, recommend a Task Force Charter to the Board, and complete an initial review of the Outdoor Property Evaluation Plan.
Volunteers selected to join the Task Force included Katie Blair and Sarah Braught. Members also approved a draft Charter for board review and approval and provided feedback on the initial draft of the Outdoor Property Evaluation Plan.
The Task Force discussed feedback from the Board of Directors (BOD).
The Task Force Charter from the Board that was approved by the Board (posted to the Properties page of the GSCO website)
The BOD requested a formal communications plan, documenting how the evaluation process will be communicated to our constituents.
The Task Force discussed appointing interested volunteers to serve as Key Consultants for the evaluation process. To date, those individuals include:
Nicole Jones – Communications Strategy & Coordination
Anna Beucler – Outdoor Program Advisory Board Liaison
Penny Roberts – MMR
Siobhan Murtha – Kiwa Korral
Debbie Wiggins – Kiwa Korral
Jill Marostica – Lazy Acres
Additional property specific Key Consultant positions remain available to interested volunteers.
The Task Force reviewed some preliminary data received to date on each property.
The Task Force discussed site visits to each property and a site visit evaluation tool. Staff representative Betsy Till agreed to finalize dates for a tour of the properties, as well as the evaluation tool. The Task Force agreed to hold its next meeting after the first round of property visits, date TBD.