Camp draws more than 100 Girl Scouts to Rock Creek Park
The natural deep green of rural Benton County’s Rock Creek Park was dotted Wednesday morning by a bobbing line of magenta — the camp outfits of 133 Girl Scouts enjoying a week of camp.
Ranging in age from about 6 to 17, the first- through 12th-graders are members of Service Unit 29 of Corvallis, Philomath and Albany, and they are participating in Girl Scouts Day Camp. A tradition across the country for decades, the camp allows them to learn traditional outdoor skills such as campfire building, trail-climbing, arts and crafts as well as team-building exercises.
Girls who are in grades four and up can spend the night at the camp tonight and learn how to build a shelter from items scavenged from the woods. Depending on how the shelter turns out, they can sleep in the shelter or choose to sleep in a tent or under the open skies.
The schedule Wednesday did leave time for fun as well as education. The girls splashed in the chilly waters of the creek while looking for crawfish and they observed how erosion carved the creek bed.
“There’s a learning element to it,” said camp co-director Lisa Glueck.
The Girl Scout day camps rank second only to the annual cookie sale as a tradition that epitomizes the Girl Scouts. Sally Robertson, the camp’s business manager and a longtime local Girl Scouts volunteer, estimates Benton County has held Girl Scout summer day camps almost every year since 1951.
The Girl Scouts national office estimates that 2.3 million young women are involved in the organization, and about 50 million women were enrolled in Girl Scouts some time during their lives since the first troop gathered in 1912.
About 40 adult volunteers have joined the day campers this week. Many are local — such as the volunteers from Corvallis Parks and Recreation, the U.S. Forest Service and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. But some came from much farther away, including Glueck, who’s from Winona, Minn. She was joined by volunteers from Massachusetts, Montana and Washington.
Many volunteers make the nationwide trek to Girl Scout camps because they want to help out the friends they’ve made through the organization, Glueck said. For example, she and camp co-director Cynthia Leonard of Corvallis have volunteered together at Girl Scout camps for more than 30 years. She signed up to serve as co-director when Benton County needed adult volunteers this year.
“Camp is just a magical part of Girl Scouts,” Glueck said.
Contact Gazette-Times reporter Gail Cole at 541-758-9510 or firstname.lastname@example.org.