Bringing the Outdoors In: Part II

This is part two of a series… preparing for camp & learning camp skills from the comfort of the meeting place, before going out to test our abilities at camp.  In this installment, we learn about the ‘planning skills’ needed for camp. Looking for the previous post? Check out Bringing the Outdoors In: Part I: Camp Skills.
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Camp Planning

Have you ever arrived at camp, and posted the menu, and the girls say, “but I don’t LIKE that!”

Or how about you post the schedule for the weekend and hear, “but I don’t WANT to do that!”

In an attempt to reduce such phrases, in the weeks that followed our ‘bringing the outdoors in’ night, we would work on other camp skills, like planning.

Part of the philosophy of Girl Guides of Canada is “Girl Lead Programming.”

It is so tempting, especially with camp looming, to say, “this is just too hard for the kids so we the adults are just going to take care of it and plan it ourselves.”

But I ask you, what do the girls learn from that?

Instead, we would have the girls work in small groups, with the week’s grocery flyers, to determine a menu.

After that, the next step was to plan activities that they would like to do at camp.

Keep in mind, this was usually done in March.  Camp was usually late May / early June.

Armed with their lists of food and menus, the leaders would sit down, and that was when we would ‘plan’ camp, drawing from the girls’ ideas.  This way, since most of the girls were only 9, we were able to plan a reasonable menu and activities for camp, but they had had a considerable amount of input.  And since the girls did their planning in small groups, we usually had four different menus and four different activity lists to draw from.

When the girls got to camp, they recognized the activities and menus that they had discussed, and were pleased that we had listened to their ideas, and involved them in the planning process.  No, not all their ideas were used.  But if they said, “But I don’t LIKE…..,” we could point out to them that maybe they didn’t choose the dinner, but they did choose the breakfast!

Blogger Leslie & KidsBy Guest Blogger Leslie Potvin.  Leslie is a Community Guider in the Town of Georgina, Ontario. Check out her personal blog The Mighty Tiny Chicken Ranch, her previous post for GirlGuidesCANblog, The Freedom to Lead [and to Fail],  and part I of the Bringing the Outdoors In series: Camp Skills.

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11 Responses to Bringing the Outdoors In: Part II

  1. Kathleen says:

    When I was a Brownie and Guide we had “no, thank you” servings. You were given a small spoonful to try. Once tasted (properly), you could then say “I don’t like that.” Hungry children surprise themselves.

    • I’ve been at a camp where almost no one wanted a rice dish that was being offered (Rice A Roni???). After seeing 75% of the girls turn it down I grabbed the serving bowl and went girl to girl and requested that they at least try ONE bite. Very similar to the “no, thank you” servings. I hadn’t gotten around to every girl with their taster when the first girls started coming up to me and saying they would like FULL servings. We ended up with absolutely no left-overs of that dish :) It was very nice to see so many girls surprise themselves.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Having been a picky eater as a young camper, camp menus were sometimes a test of fortitude, especially at a week long camp. I now tell my guides about some of the foods I tried at camp that I would never, ever have eaten at home and sometimes I even liked it! But my mother never found out I tried those things or else I would have been expected to eat it at home too! What happens at camp stays at camp!

  3. Guider Jenn says:

    We did a camp planning night. Made the menu based on what the girls wanted; we did patrol planning then talked about it as a large group. Got to camp and found out we had a vegetarian (not on her heatlh form, she didn’t say anything during our planning process) and that another didn’t like eggs (both breakfasts involved eggs).

    When we went to camp in June though, the girls did every bit of their own cooking. No complaints about what they were eating!

  4. Aerin Rainey says:

    Sounds like GIRL-LED PROGRAMMING is part of a recipe for camp success!

  5. Nicole says:

    I’m a guider with several girls who refuse to eat fruit or vegetables. Even having hteir help with menu planning doesn’t seem to help. We do our best to get them to try things, but asking and bargaining only goes so far. Any suggestions?

    • Papillon says:

      Have a fun game to get them to try new vegetables/fruit before camp (if they’re Brownies you’ll cover part of the food badge). Blindfold them and have them try some standard veggies/fruit and some more exotic ones. If they’re older you can do an Iron Chef type competition where they are required to cook something using those foods. They’ll surprise themselves with what they like.

  6. Papillon says:

    We tend to plan things like Pizza Sandwichs on Buddy Burners or Chicken dinners in foil on the fire etc… because then the girls put what they want in the sandwhich or chicken dinner. All girls are required to have at least 1 vegetable.

  7. Melva Watt ( life member ) says:

    Get the girls with planning the menu . Divide them into small groups .Then go over all the different foods . Once everyone is in agreement then now the final menu can be made . Planning different ways of cooking methods will also encourage them to try new foods . Take a couple of girls on the shopping trip .

    As for the schedule , do not post it at camp . Get the girls to help with the planning .Crafts , hikes , quiet times , outdoor fun and games are good choices . Also plan for secret sisters . Have a table with several items so that the girls can make things for their secret sisters .

    Camping is my favourite thing to do . I have done summer , winter , cabins , tenting and survival camping .

  8. Pingback: 20 Years of Guiding | GirlGuidesCANBlog

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