Bringing the Outdoors In: Part III

This is part three of a series… preparing for camp and 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 ‘people skills’ needed for camp. Looking for the previous posts? Check out Part I: Camp Skills and Part II: Camp Planning.
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Getting Along with our Camp and Tent Mates

When you first arrive at camp and post tent assignments for the weekend, have you heard this:

“But I want to be with….!”?

“But I don’t LIKE that girl!”

“Me and my sister need to stay together, because otherwise we miss each other!”*

Girls Disagreeing

Because of these potential personality conflicts at camp, we included conflict resolution activities for the girls before going camping.

The girls worked in groups to determine what kinds of conflict they may encounter living in close quarters at camp, and how to productively deal with them.  We had skits demonstrating someone leaving the tent messy, and asked how the other girls could help her understand that this affected them all. We also did a skit about girls staying up and talking all night, when the rest of the tent was sleepy.

We worked hard at giving the girls the language to resolve their conflicts on their own.  I know that they learn this at school, but they share a classroom in the day, they don’t have to sleep in it overnight, when there are different conflicts brought on by having to share a small place, with all of your possessions for the weekend.

This is an important skill for the girls to learn, and it is important that they learn it while young.  By giving them the language and the skills to talk out their conflict respectfully now, rather than bottling it up, they learn that it is best to discuss a problem with someone as soon as it arises.  This is a skill that they can carry with them throughout adulthood.  Not all girls will get along with one another.  But even if they are not buddies with another girl, they can still learn to treat them respectfully, rather than being nasty.

Now, we did still have conflict at camp, don’t get me wrong.  Everything wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows. But rather than having a Guider step in right away, our first line of defense was “what did you learn in our meetings?”, and “ How can you work together to solve this problem?”

After working on our conflict resolution and people skills, we were ready to go camping!

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*My personal philosophy on sisters at camp is that they do not share the same tent.  I’ve never been asked by a parent to make an exception!

Blogger Leslie & KidsBy 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 GirlGuidesCANblog posts: The Freedom to Lead [and to Fail]; Bringing the Outdoors: Part I Camp Skills and Part II: Camp Planning. —————————————————————————

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4 Responses to Bringing the Outdoors In: Part III

  1. Pingback: Brownie Camping: Conflict Resolution at Camp « Brownie Meeting Ideas

  2. Allison says:

    You said a couple of things that I absolutely LOVE:

    “This is an important skill for the girls to learn, and it is important that they learn it while young.”

    and “But rather than having a Guider step in right away, our first line of defense was “what did you learn in our meetings?”, and “ How can you work together to solve this problem?””

    So so so great. One thing you didn’t mention is that keeping a schedule, proper food (not an entire weekend of crap), keeping them hydrated, warm and dry also helps TREMENDOUSLY on preventing conflict from arising in the first place. It also depends on the age group too, Sparks generally do not have a choice in wearing their rain jacket if it’s absolutely pouring, but Pathfinders, well I’ll suggest it once and then it’s up to them. Sparks need more structure, more concrete plans, whereas the older a girl is, you can really leave the decisions up to them (the first time I took a group of 3 year guides to a Pathfinder camp, and told them they could decide their own bedtime, but they had to be up at 8:30am, their eyes went WIDE and they were so thrilled that I wasn’t going to be standing over them asking them to be quiet). I think being able to understand the limits and choose their own boundaries helps prevent a lot of the girl-guider conflict that arises at camp. And really, who likes having to nag to get the dishes done, or to get dinner cooked, or whatever (we guiders started cooking our own meals, because we were tired of eating the same 3 things for food, and tired of waiting for the girls, who often FINALLY finished cooking around 8, but it was a great learning experience for them!!)

    Thanks for the great post!

  3. Sort It says:

    My personal favourite: “I can’t sleep on the bottom bunk, because I’m allergic to dust.” :S

  4. Pingback: Brownie Camping: Winter Camp – Prep meeting | Brownie Meeting Ideas

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