Friday, July 1, 2016

Burke's Mill Pond Day Camp

It was a week of fun and friendly competition for the 33 Girl Scouts who attended day camp at Girl Scout Camp Burke’s Mill Pond in Gloucester earlier this month. During the Olympic-themed camp, girls had the opportunity to take part in a variety of traditional camp activities and earn badges for their age levels.

Each day at camp started with a flag ceremony, where girls gathered around the flagpoles at camp to recite the pledge of allegiance and Girl Scout Promise and Law after raising the flags. Next, girls separated into groups to head to activities for the day. In keeping with the theme for the week, arts and crafts activities included making leaf wreath headdresses. Canoeing, archery and swimming were some of the campers’ favorite activities.

During the week at camp, the youngest Girl Scouts, Daisies and Brownies, earned the Painting badge, while the fourth and fifth graders earned the Playing the Past badge, which allows girls to explore how generations before them lived, worked and played.

Sixth graders, or Girl Scout Cadettes, who attended the camp earned the Archery badge, which was released by Girl Scouts of the USA last year in keeping with the organization’s century-old tradition of Girl Scouts encouraging girls to be active outdoors.

“Outdoor experiences in a safe environment like Girl Scout camp helps girls relax and encourages them to step out of their comfort zones,” Sara Troxel, a Girl Scout volunteer who led efforts to plan the camp, said. “Many children don’t have the option of just being in a camp setting all day for a week. Girls need more time in the outdoors to breathe fresh air, try new things and perfect outdoor skills.”

In today’s society, as girls’ engagement with electronic devices grows and more structured activities compete for their time and attention, fewer girls are getting the exposure to the outdoors, a vital component to their healthy development. However, the Girl Scout Research Institute has found that Girl Scouts helps get girls outdoors. In fact, 97 percent of girls surveyed said they had done at least one outdoor activity with Girl Scouts during the past year and 40 percent said they participated in an outdoor activity with Girl Scouts on a monthly basis. Regular exposure and high-adventure activities are key drivers of girls’ leadership development, as well as their satisfaction with Girl Scouts.

Poor weather on Thursday caused the Girl Scouts to cancel plans for an evening campfire with s’mores and an overnight experience at the camp. Girls did return on Friday morning for breakfast, an awards presentation and to exchange SWAPS, a small, handmade token of friendship traditionally exchanged by Girl Scouts.

In addition to the girls who attended the camp, 11 teen Girl Scouts volunteered to help run the camp, leading activities, helping to supervise girls in canoes and serving as role models for the younger Girl Scouts at the camp.

Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast will be running day and overnight camp opportunities for girls throughout the summer, including four week-long sessions at Camp Skimino in Williamsburg. All girls are welcome to attend, whether or not they are currently members of Girl Scouts. For more information or to register, visit