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"Girl Scout Camp...What's it all about?" by Liverpool Brand Managers

08.01.16

From the moment I started my Camp America application, I always knew I wanted to go to a Girl Scout Camp! I’ve always been involved in girl guiding and I have a love of the outdoors. Girl scout camp was the perfect place for me.You don’t need to have any Girl guiding experience though. All you need is enthusiasm and be willing to give anything a go. Even if they may be a little bit silly sometimes. (like that one time my campers covered me in mud and turned me into a pig – Crisa-P Bacon. ) get it haha.

Ugliest counsellor contest. My campers turned my into a pig. Following the show...counsellors jumped into the lake to clean off before a well deserved shower.

At Girl Scout camp we go by different names. Names that we choose whether it be something we like, something that means something to us, or something based on the way we look. I’m Rue. For 8 weeks of the year, I say goodbye to Emily and hello to Rue. Let me tell you all about Rue’s experience at Girl Scout Camp.

Summer 2014

So what is Girl Scout Camp like?

Awesome! I really cannot emphasize just how brilliant girl scout camp is. 

Girl Scout camp is crazy and fun, it is full of adventure. Girl scout camp follows the philosophy of Girl scouting. building girls of courage, confidence and character. They build on skills and allow girls to be a part of something. They can have a go. There are so many opportunities for girls at girl scout camp. There really is something for everybody.

Girl Scout camps are beautiful. They are often a more rustic camp. Platform tens, open air cabins and yurts. The idea of a ‘rustic environment’ is something I have heard so many people say be the thing that puts them off from selecting this camp type, but I would have to disagree. Do remember though – not all Girl Scout camps are like this. It really just depends on where you get placed!

Sometimes.. we even sleep on boats. This is something my campers planned to do. It was one of the things you just go with. Whilst sleeping in a life jacket (PFD) may not have been the comfiest. Falling asleep on the lake and waking to the sunrise, was simply incredible. But don’t worry if this is not your thing. Girls also pitched tents on the each so where still involved.

Whilst on some camps, no, you may not have air-con, you may not have an en-suite bathroom in your cabin. But what you do have is the most breathtaking and beautiful experience. You are free from modern technologies and spend your days filled with adventure and unforgettable memories

My camp is in New Hampshire. It’s situated in the woods and backs onto on to a huge lake Every morning you would wake up to the natural sun light, to the sound of the birds outside, to the sound of early morning boaters out on the lake, or the sound of the polar bears! (Polar bears is an early morning swim before breakfast. You sing and wake camp up). Living beneath the trees for me is what camp is all about.

“Girls Scout camp, has a focus on the outdoors.”

Whilst we still have meals in the dining hall for example, we have a cook out once a week. Every Wednesday we will cook lunch on our unit (camp site). We will cook whatever the girls plan. I’ve had all sorts, pasta, chili, banana boats, bacon bowls, and A LOT of pizza bagels.  Of course, if your campers want to, you can have more cook outs if you wish. One time, my campers had a 2am dessert cookout!

Activities and fun.

Girl Scout camps still offer many activities other camps do. Swimming, kayaking, sailing, arts, crafts, drama, singing, campfire, trips, high and low ropes, archery, team games, theme park trips, ice cream trips- even chances to make your own ice-cream etc. Although they may not have the bigger activities like water skiing or go-karting, programs that they offer are amazing. and sometimes just pure and simple craziness.

Being out on the lake is one of my favorite things to do. Girls go boating at least once a week.

Although camps all differ, most Girl scout camps will have themed elements. We had themed dinner every Wednesday. Hawaiian, Halloween, winter, prom, the possibilities are endless. Don’t forget, you are also in America for independence day- so don’t forget your red, white and blue!

Programs (the weekly/ fornightly sessions girls will attend) also have themes. They can be anything. Imagine a week dedicated to water. Girls will swim, boat, visit a waterpark. The whole of camp will gather together for a water festival. We even hired a dunk tank.  The campers LOVED dunking their counsellors, and the counselors enjoyed it too.  I will have to admit though, Night programmes are my favorite- we sleep during the day and stay up at night! Cooking, playing glow in the dark games. We even took over camp once and turned it into Hogwarts.

Friendships

What is great about Girl Scout camps, is they are quite small. My camp had about 30-40 staff. Because it’s smaller than some of the bigger camps, you cannot help but make brilliant friendships. They all share the same love for camp as you. Staff can come from all over the world, I’ve worked with people from England, Scotland, Hungary, Slovenia, Australia and of course AMERICA, I now consider camp to be my second home. The saying is true “ I don’t get homesick, I get campsick.”

Memories for life. 

I am so glad i chose to go to a Girl Scout camp. I have had a chance to experience so many wonderful things. I am so excited for summer 2016 and to see what else lies in store.

Why not?

The one thing i often hear people tell me about why they don’t want to work at Girl Scout camp is because of the electricity. There are no plug sockets in the trees. Applicants tell me “but i want to straighten my hair”! In all honesty though, even if trees did have an outlet- you just wouldn’t have time. Mornings you sleep as much as you can, i can promise you that you will not want to get up at 6am to straiten your hair, dry your hair etc, You will want to stay in bed until it is time to wake the children up. Don’t get me wrong though, this is something you can still do! On your time off, nights off, days off or weekends off- you can use electricity in the buildings so you look like a ‘normal person in normal people clothes’ when you go off camp.

True fact: camp will make you question whether on your two hour break you should take a shower- after not showering for 2 or you should just sit in the staff house eat eat chocolate. (Chocolate wins every time!) who needs a shower when we swim everyday. :’) Straighteners become luxury. Don’t let this be the reason you miss out on an incredible summer!

“Girl Scout camp is simply amazing. But enough from me. Let’s hear what the American, international and Camp America Participants have to say”.

“Closer bonds with campers and staff because it’s more “rustic”, less distractions and constraints from outside and still very safe and connected with a larger organization” (Fluffy American counsellor 15)

“The culture of Girl Scout camps is unique because they weren’t just founded for kicks and giggles, (though both kicks and giggles can be found there in abundance) you know you’re part of something bigger and a great American tradition. ‘MURICA’. I get fulfillment in being a mentor to other girls, but I know I grow at camp just as much as my campers do. Spending that time in a crazy, fun, woman-affirming environment energizes me to get through the tough stuff at school and work the rest of the year. At camp I feel understood. I know that every program I’m assigned was given to me because my supervisors know i can do it. Quirks are an asset and despite how busy things get, we always find time as a staff for mini-adventures and general running amok. It’s an altogether rich experience. (Bug American counsellor 14/15)

Girl Scout camps do a lot of the same things as other camps but they take an approach that incorporates the GS philosophy. I also genuinely appreciate working for a nonprofit and an organization with year round programming.(Pinky)

Words from a Girl Scout Camp Director…. 

From a hiring standpoint, I always look for applicants who are willing or (even better) prefer to be placed at a GS camp. I won’t even email someone that doesn’t list it so they really are limiting who is seeing their application. Other benefits? You get more time off for the same pocket money at Girl Scout camp. Many private camps have longer sessions – which have pros and cons. You get to work with new campers on a regular basis. Girl Scout camps tend to be smaller in size so you will know your fellow staff (some private camps have hundreds of staff) and your camper. (Fluke, Camp Director)

Want to work at a Girl Scout camp?

Make sure you tick that box on your application- you won’t regret it. Aged 18-19? Why not think about being a part of IYLA?

IYLA

The international Youth leadership award is a program that Camp America run, It’s aimed at girls aged 18-19 and works alongside Girl Scout camps in America. It meant, not only were my chances of placement increased- BUT- it also meant that it increased my chance of placement at a girl scout camp. Perfect! The award was a great experience, I learnt so much. We even had a training day in London where we all got together and talked camp for the WHOLE day. It prepared me for the minute I got off the plane and started working at Girl Scout camp.

Although i was placed beforehand- participants also have their own fair to attend. It’s just Girl Scout camps. Just like a regular fair- you will meet them. But it’s own IYLA participants in the room. These camps have come to hire YOU!

https://www.campamerica.co.uk/explore/courses/iyla

Find a link to the program and register today! You will not regret it.

Thank you for reading. I hope that i have encouraged you to think about a Girl Scout camp if you had any doubts. For those who already eagerly awaited a Girl Scout placement, i hope that you are now buzzing with excitement. i know i cannot wait to go back to camp.. where’s that countdown app…

Happy placement and best of luck to all those attending the recruitment fairs.

Rue