Teaching camp skills to a group of 30, mostly new, inexperienced Guides before a fall tent camp that will be three-hours away from home can be a very rewarding experience. Teaching these skills that are to be applied outdoors during a two-hour mostly indoor unit meeting? Definitely POSSIBLE and absolutely fun!
To do this, begin with dividing the girls into smaller groups with an empty backpack for each group. Provide a wide array of items you should pack and a host of items that would not be the best for taking to camp. Each group of girls can work together to choose and put in the backpack what they believe they should take. Then come together as a large group so girls can explain their reasons for packing what they chose. This creates the opportunity to discuss why you don’t want jeans at camp and to show the girls how to roll their clothes to maximize space and the importance of distributing weight evenly. (Check out this video of Girl Guides teaching YTV viewers how to pack their backpack like a pro.)
Practicing putting up tents? Why not in the meeting place? Having done this before camp was so beneficial for us – we had all of the tents up in 20 minutes flat, leaving us ready to get to the next awesome activity!
We meet in a school and have found that buttering up custodial staff with some Girl Guide cookies can earn you the ability to set a practice trail throughout the school with popsicle sticks! We’re able to squeeze in quite a few other activities, too. We use dollar store wooden skewers and embroidery floss to make mini-camp gadgets, string licorice for knot practice, use several homemade knot boards for relay races, empty pie tins on the pavement outdoors to teach striking matches properly and small fire lighting, and play compass games in the school yard. With a little creativity, teaching these skills before you get to camp leaves you more time to enjoy the outdoors and makes sure you have done your best to BE PREPARED! Happy camping!
Guest post by Melanie Pereira-Tucker, a Guider with the 14th Oshawa Girl Guides in Ontario and Co-Community Guider for Community 23.
What’s your camping story? Share it with us at ggcblog(at)girlguides.ca.