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Planning Your Troop’s First Campout

December 6, 2019


>>Getting ready to
plan a camping trip? Congratulations! You’re about to give girls
an experience that will shape who they are, push
their boundaries and create some unforgettable
memories for all of you. Every camping trip is different. It’s the unexpected and exciting
adventures that make it fun. To make this happen,
start with good planning. First, talk to your girls. Are they ready for
an overnight campout? Has anyone ever been camping? What was it like? Has anyone ever spent a
night away from her family? How do girls feel about sleeping
in a tent, eating camp food, encountering wildlife and learning some really
useful outdoor skills? It’s important to
include girls and families when you do your planning. Why? Letting girls
share their ideas and do the planning makes
this girl-led an important key to leadership. Asking parents to help
gets them involved. And asking for help also
means you don’t have to do all the work. Your local council’s safety
activity checkpoints has information, like how many
adult volunteers you’ll need for each camper. Find out if there are
any older Girl Scouts with camping experience
interested in coming along. While you can’t count
on them as adults, teen Girl Scouts often
have great camping skills. Find out if you need to be
certified, what kind of camping and safety training to take
before heading outdoors. Practice outdoor
safety with the girls. Explain the buddy system. Talk about wearing
sunscreen, insect repellant, and why the proper
clothes make a difference. Tell girls that safety
is not just for them. They need to keep
nature safe, too. Share the seven principles
of Leave No Trace and how important it is to protect the environment
when camping. Talk to your council staff,
Girl Scout camp directors, older Girl Scouts, outdoor
specialists, and anyone else with camping experience. Find out where they’ve camped
successfully and what they did. Your council may
own or have access to outdoor facilities
you can use with confidence knowing
they meet council standards. Your council should also
have campsite information. If you’re traveling look into council facilities
in other areas. Check online for
a local community, state or national park near you. The budget the girls build
with you should consider things like camp fees, transportation,
food and gear. Find out what kind of gear
families can contribute. With the girls, create
a packing list, collect extra things you
might need like binoculars, mats and ground cloths. There is a way to make paperwork
and planning fun, really. Have a meeting with the girls
and families to fill out forms and to go over basics,
like camp rules. Add some sparkle to your meeting by singing camp songs
and making s’mores. Find out what fun activities
girls want to do at camp. Let them lead with ideas. Include them in the
menu planning. Come up with a schedule of
activities you’ll do together. As the weeks build up to the
big event, use your meetings for camp skill building. Have a tent-pitching session. Practice cooking a meal. Investigate the plants,
animals and birds you might see. Learn how to read
a compass or a GPS. Go on a group hike. If girls have never been
camping, talk to them about what it will be like so
they are ready for darkness, night sounds and taking
care of their own stuff. Successful camping
requires a lot of planning. And things may not
always go as you thought. But that’s okay because
it’s part of learning. Girls learn as much from
things that go wrong as those that go right. Talk about what went
wrong and why. And make sure to
praise them for trying. Camp is where girls can
build courage, confidence and character, and have
fun while they’re at it. The tips and guidelines in
this video are just some of what you need to know. Girl Scouts offers
many other resources to make going outdoors the
best experience it can be. Check out the book
Outdoor Education in Girl Scouting available at
the Girl Scouts online store. Go to Venture Out on the
Girl Scout University website to learn practical tips and
tricks for taking girls outdoors and to read other
volunteer stories. Watch the Camp Hacks videos on
Girl Scouts’ YouTube channel for a playlist of all things
outdoors from helping girls deal with laundry at camp
to starting a campfire and make the most
out of flashlights. Learn more about Leave
No Trace at www.lnt.org. [ Music ]

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