Bringing the Outdoors In. Part I

This is part one of a series we will be running over the next 4 weeks… preparing for camp and learning camp skills from the comfort of your Unit meeting, before going out to test our abilities at camp.  In this installment, we learn about the ‘hard skills’ needed for camp.

Camp Skills

Have you ever arrived at camp on a Friday evening, got the tents unloaded, and then discovered that not a single one of your first year Guides has ever pitched a tent?

That several girls have ‘waterproofed’ their sleeping bags by stuffing them in green garbage bags?

That nobody knows what the purpose of a ‘mesh bag’ for dishes is, and the dishes have arrived in a plastic grocery bag?

How about the girls that say, “I don’t have my raincoat because my Mom forgot to pack it!”

When I became a Guide leader, I discovered at my first camp that most of the girls were first-time campers, and that none of them knew the how’s or why’s of many camp skills that I simply took for granted.  And thus began our annual January “bringing the outdoors in” meeting.

Our first meeting back after winter break in January, amongst the snow and ice, we would turn the gym and lunchroom into a campsite.  Often, this was a joint meeting with a Brownie Unit, meaning that we had enough adults to run several stations, with a different camp skill taught at each one.

At one station, there would be a tent, and the girls would set it up, including the fly, then take it down, and stow it properly.

The next station, the girls would be waterproofing sleeping bags.

Another station would have a camp pack, and everything you needed for camp, plus extras that weren’t needed.  The girls’ job was to pack the necessary items, and leave the unnecessary ones out.

We often would have a snack station, where we made ice cream in Ziploc bags, or fudge in Ziploc bags. A good traditional (no cook) camp dessert!

After their snack, the girls would wash their dishes, using the three sink method.  As we were indoors, we couldn’t really hang them to dry…. but we would have one mesh bag there, and could at least demonstrate to the girls what the purpose of them was, and that with a mesh bag there was no need to dry their dishes!

The girls came away from the evening with several “camp skills” that they had never seen before, and were much better prepared when we went camping in the spring.

Blogger Leslie & Kids

By 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, and her previous post for GirlGuidesCANblog, The Freedom to Lead [and to Fail].


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7 Responses to Bringing the Outdoors In. Part I

  1. Anonymous says:

    Pitching a tent indoors is a great way to practice! on a carpet floor, the poles will hold themselves, but on a slick gym floor a yoga mat, or a bunch of beanbags will help hold poles in place!

    • Anonymous says:

      I always struggled with this activity when I worked with units that met in gymnasiums. Never thought about the mats or the beanbags. This will make next years camp preparedness MUCH easier! Thanks!

    • Cindy Z says:

      We do a “tent night” every February, in a community centre with a gymnasium floor. We always found that we could put the tents up with no problem, though flys were usually more of an issue. We never had a problem with them sliding around too much, and usually had about 3-5 different tents of different styles. Of course, we weren’t looking for ‘perfection’, but they had to have it completely up, with the fly on (as much as possible), then would rotate the groups around, so the group that put the tent up had to take down a different style completely, and a tent is never completely done until the bag zips up! Always a super fun night!

  2. Jenn H - 3rd Riverside South Brownies says:

    I want the Ziploc ice cream and fudge recipes!

  3. Pingback: 20 Years of Guiding | GirlGuidesCANBlog

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