So You Want to Take Your Troop Camping!
Camping Opportunities Examples (all the buzz words)
There are many different camping opportunities available so check out what is available in our areas.
1) Troop Camping -
Individual troops plan and carry out a weekend camping trip, usually at 1 of 6 Girl Scout Western Washington operated camps: River Ranch, Robbinswold, Camp Lyle McLeod, St. Albans, Evergreen and Klahanie. Click here for up-to-date available GS campsites.
The troop should plan all meals and activities for the weekend. You would submit a Camp Site Request Form requesting the site for your troop.
2) Encamporee (AKA Encampments) –
Encamporees are individual troops from our area camping with other troops from the area. Troops are responsible for some meals and activities. Reservations for the camp, program and some meals are planned for the troops; usually by older girls earning leadership hours.
3) Summer Day Camps -
Community Day Camp is a volunteer run week-long camp program held locally. Activities at camp often include cooking, crafts, campfires, singing, and much much more. Girl going into 1st through 12th grade in the fall are eligible to attend. Girls entering 8th – 12th grade in the fall, have PA (Program Aide) core training and Camp Skills training may often come as Program Aides. All girls register as individuals instead of a troop registering as a group.
We are lucky enough to have several Day Camp options. The flyers for these camps are typically mailed out in late January or early February.
* Sammamish Day Camp - day camp in August for Girl Scouts entering 1st-6th grades at Beaver Lake Park.
* Issaquah Youth Day Camp - day camp at Vasa Park for Girl Scouts entering 1st-5th grades the
middle week of July.
* Girl Scouts of Western Washington offers day camping opportunities for girls of all ages.
4) Summer Resident Camps -
Girl Scouts of Western Washington offers overnight resident camps for girls entering 2nd-12th grades. Sessions range from 3 days to 14+ days and can be general or specialized by interest. A camping brochure is mailed to each home in late January or early February with registration information.
BEFORE YOU TAKE YOUR TROOP CAMPING -
Make sure you are following the guidelines set forth in Girl Scout Volunteer Essentials and Activity Checkpoints, have a person with you who has the necessary training (below), and complete the necessary forms (below). Here is a Girl Scout Western Washington Travel Guide that will help guide you through the approval and forms process!
An overnight trip requires a person(s) who has the appropriate training (note that multiple people may fulfill the requirements, e.g. Adult #1 has leadership/outdoor training, and Adult #2 has First Aid. For additional information visit the Girl Scout Western Washington Training pages.
An overnight trip of 2 nights or less requires the forms below. Visit the Girl Scout Western Washington Forms page for more info.
- Permission for Overnight Trips & Sensitive Topics or
- Permission for Troop Meetings, Day Trips, Medical Care for each girl,
- Adult Health Card for each adult,
- Short Term Trip/Activity Permission,
- Camp Site Request (if camping on GSWW properties as a troop)
- Additional insurance, as needed (see the GSWW forms website)
Trips longer than 2 nights and trips outside of Washington require additional forms, training and approvals; information is available at the Girl Scouts Western Washington Trips site.
How do I get the Girls ready to be Campers?
Ten Reasons to Bring a Bandanna Camping - fun ideas on how a bandanna is essential while camping
Camping Parent Letter (Word) - letter to parents with instructions to let girl's pack and a list of what to pack
Camping for the first time? Backyard Camp! (pdf) - Camp in a parent's backyard for one night to try it out.
Things you need to do before camp
This is just a basic checklist/overview of the things that need to be done.
-have the girls brainstorm about what kinds of things they’d like to eat at camp, and what activities they’d like to do.
-send out an equipment list and permission slips
-discuss with your girls what goes into an emergency kit, and have everyone make their own. We like to use Kim’s Game to introduce this topic, laying all the ‘ingredients’ on a tray. After the two minutes is up, we list the things off as a group, discussing how each one is important to survival.
-get an emergency contact parent. This parent will serve as a point of contact between the campsite and the parents. If you have any emergency, you call your emergency contact and they call whoever you need, and if a parent needs to get into contact with you at camp, they call the emergency contact and the contact parent calls you. This is important, as it lets the parents contact you without having parents calling camp continuously for silly reasons and disturbing things.
-have a parent’s meeting, about a week before camp, where you inform them all of the details of camp, answer any questions they have, etc.
-if you’re up for it, you can do a "Good Camper, Bad Camper" skit to explain to the girls why the kit list contains the things it does. Basically, you have one person arrive with a nice small bag, a tidy bedroll, and all the right stuff (raincoat and boots, hat, warm clothes, good sleeping bag, flashlight, etc) and the other with several large bags and a messy bedroll and all the wrong stuff (candy, jewelry, walkman, hair dryer, sandals, hat without brim, jeans, a huge stuffed animal, huge foam mattress, etc). The campers arrive and start to set up their beds, and as they do, they discuss all the things they’ve packed, with good camper pointing out the problem with all of bad campers stuff. For instance:
Bad Camper: Look at my pretty pajamas (holding up flowered tank top and shorts)
Good Camper: Oh, they’re really pretty, but Brown Owl said that it gets *really*
cold in here at night—are you sure you’ll be warm enough?
Bad Camper: Sure! I have my sleeping bag (showing her thin bag)
Good Camper: Gee—that looks pretty thin. You might still be cold! You can
borrow my blanket if you like. I brought it just in case, but I have
my warm flannel pajamas and my big thick sleeping bag, so I
don’t mind lending you my blanket.
And it goes on like that. Good camper is a real goody-goody, but it gets the message across and the girls love it.