On July 20th, the main lodge at Camp Tahigwa was buzzing with nervous excitement as 45 Girl Scouts filed in and took their places for the first step in their Camptastic adventure.
“I don’t know if I can do this,” said one, and “I’ve never made a fire,” said another.
These ladies, ranging in age from 17-78, were not campers, but the team of volunteers that had been assembled to ensure that the campers attending Camptastic, a volunteer-run resident camp style program at Camp Tahigwa, had three days of fun and learning at camp. After a grueling 23 hours of training in everything from emergency procedures to camp songs, the group was ready to take on the campers.
The next day, 133 campers checked in, and though we had a rainy start, it could not put a damper on our fun. Girls ages 5-18 kicked off the week with a “Barn Dance” themed opening campfire, and didn’t stop playing, laughing, and singing for four straight days!
Girls stayed in all working units of camp. Our youngest campers came to a session called “Polly’s Party”, where they stayed in the cabins of Polly’s Place and set a goal of having three parties a day, including a lunchtime beach party! Our oldest campers were our Camp Possible girls, who not only stayed in three sided cabins with one side open to nature, but also helped plan events for the younger girls. Of course they got plenty of time for older girl camp fun as well, like tackling the climbing tower and raiding the kitchen. One of the middle aged groups, Roughin It, stayed all over camp, and even dug their own latrine!
Although the week felt like all fun and games, staff took great care to ensure the girls were growing in the areas of confidence, courage and character, as well as living the ideals of the Girl Scout Law. Through camp chores, being good buddies, presenting songs to the whole camp, and other activities they grew by leaps and bounds.
“I could tell just by watching her in the closing program that she had grown a lot at camp,” said a parent as he picked up his camper.
The Camptastic team wants to thank the 55 volunteers who came out the week of camp, and the countless others that helped with preparation, publicity, camperships and in-kind support. Over 5,100 volunteer hours went into making it a week that won’t soon be forgotten.
-Written by volunteers, Brecka Putnam and Bethany Hovden