As a leader I appreciate the chance to get the know the girls better on camp over a longer period than our regular meetings. I can see how much they learn and gain by coming on camp. It is so rewarding to see the big smiles on the faces of girls who’ve tried something for the first time and mastered it – whether that’s using a knife, preparing a three course meal for their patrol, washing and drying dishes (in Hong Kong the Helper or maid normally does this), tying and crossing a rope bridge, navigating from a map or sleeping in a tent. This is a huge confidence boost.
“I think camp is just as valuable to today’s young women as the girls of yesteryear. Maybe even more so, as camp provides a safe haven away from the noise of today’s world – a place to develop valuable skills without pressure or analysis.
Hidden amongst the lanyards and S’mores and campfire songs, I feel girls gain so much more:
- Planning and organization skills, the type that can only be gained through the existence of natural consequences. Just ask any girl who forgot to bring her spoon or her poncho (she’ll be easy to spot – she’s the one wearing a leftover garbage bag.)
- Teamwork and accountability. Just ask any girl who dropped the ball with her kapers and got stuck cleaning the bathroom.
- Independence. Just ask any girl who’s suffered through waves of homesickness and ended the week smiling.
- Willingness to learn. Just ask any girl who has picked up a bow and arrow or hopped on a horse.
- Patience. Just ask any girl who had to get up for 3rd time in a night to go to the bathroom with a buddy.
- Communication skills. Just ask any girl who’s shared a canoe or served as an aide.
- Problem-solving. Just ask any girl who’s navigated her way along a trail or negotiated a cease-fire between two friends.
- Confidence. Just ask any girl who’s tackled the ropes course.
- Courage. Just ask any girl who confronted a fear at camp, whether it’s handling a pocketknife or braving a thunderstorm.Maybe it’s just me – but that list reads like the job requirements for today and tomorrow’s leader.We can talk about self-esteem until we’re blue in the face – or we can actually set up the building blocks for a healthy self-esteem.”
So what are you waiting for? Join Girl Guides and come on camp!