Tabitha Leonard has been camping alongside Girl Scouts for eight years, and counting! She became a leader when her daughter was just a Daisy, and she is now a Senior Girl Scout. Tabitha and her troop try to go camping at least once a year and have really missed it during the pandemic. As soon as the restrictions were lifted from Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida’s camp properties, Tabitha got her troop signed up for a special weekend at Camp Nocatee where they were finally old enough to enjoy the Treetops cabins (reserved for Cadettes and above).
We love troop camping at Camp Nocatee. The property is beautiful, and well-maintained. My Girl Scouts enjoy hiking, fishing, building campfires, and cooking outdoors. This year they were very excited to camp at Treetops for the first time. They have been waiting for the youngest Girl Scout in our troop to become a Cadette, so that they could all share the experience together. Treetops did not disappoint! The cabins have electricity and ceiling fans. The unit house has indoor bathrooms and showers, two residential-size refrigerators, and plenty of space for activities. My girls used the space to paint canvases with acrylics, and make friendship bracelets. The fire circle was a great place to try out our new pie irons. The lake at Camp Nocatee is perfect for fishing and canoeing. We took sandwiches and drinks with us to enjoy at the picnic tables near the water. The girls learned how to bait their own hooks, cast a line, and carefully take the fish off the hooks. They caught several kinds of fish, and had fun identifying each one before releasing it.
Planning a successful camping trip with girl scouts of all ages takes teamwork. Girl Scouts should be involved with all of the planning and decision making. My girls plan the meals, the shopping list, the sleeping arrangements, the activities, and the badge-work. They also decide who will be responsible for the various chores/kapers that need to take place at camp. Having the girls participate in the planning gives them some ownership of the weekend. They all have a say in what they would like to get out of the trip. This also promotes compromise, and teamwork. Leaders can facilitate the conversation, and provide suggestions to guide the discussion. Know what certifications are required for activities such as canoeing, archery, and swimming, so that the girls know what their options are. Find out what equipment is available at the camp for you to use, such as archery equipment and fishing supplies, so you can pack accordingly.
These troop camping weekends provide lifelong memories. We cannot wait to go back!
Written by Tabitha Leonard, Troop 21129