Girl Scouts: Real Troopers for Camping OutWhen Little Mandy Loo's Jr. GS troop decided that a camping trip was in order, Mrs. Pi suggested that I might be able to assist with a few things as I have done some camping and hanging out it nature. Well, one thing led to another and, somehow, I ended up taking on a lot more than I had anticipated when I first agreed to help. But the moms and girls did a great job planning and preparing and, with only a little bit of input, took care of menus, finding a place to stay, and thinking about other things that might be required. The girls were very excited so there was plenty of motivation. The original plan was to go a couple of weeks ago but the weather forecast called for rain and it was decided that maybe we should postpone until this past weekend. I knew that a mid-October overnighter had the potential to be chilly but cold isn't as bad as rain so I thought we would be okay. But then the cold front came through on Thursday...
I was afraid that four 9 year olds and a couple of moms would've given up and headed indoors but they all managed to dress right and have a good time despite the overnight 40 deg F (~4 deg C, for my metric system compadres) temps. Mandy and I had the Pi Mobile filled to the gunwhales with firewood (and we needed lots), and the other girls all brought some wood and lint (a great fire starter) and we met at 5:00 pm, only 90 minutes before sundown, to set up camp. It was already getting cold but the excitement level was way up. They learned how and where to pitch tents and had a great time making and playing with fire.
It cools down quickly after sundown at this time of year but the fire was built quickly and well-fed and the weanies, canned corn, and pork 'n bean were a big hit. The girls did a great job cleaning dishes - not much fun even indoors let alone in the dark and cold - probably in order to get the s'mores and cocoa started ASAP. The girls and moms toasted marshmallows while I played guitar and we sang a few campfire songs ("She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain" was fun - everyone was required to make up a verse of their own that we would all join - but the big hit was "Ice Cream Man"; the girls all got up to dance around the fire requesting several encores of that one!) and the night concluded with pet and bug stories as the fire went down. A little star-gazing - one advantage of fall camping is that the sky is awesome on a cold, clear night - and then off to bed.
Everyone stayed in their tents all night and, despite a really hard frost, awoke soon after sunrise and enthusiastically worked to get the fire going and prepare a breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, and brown bears (a cinnamon sugar, butter, and biscuit dough concoction that one of the mothers found somewhere - I'll post the recipe another time but they were yuuummmy). After another good clean-up session, we got out on the trail for a mile hike.
All in all, the girls met the requirements for their Camping and Cooking Out badges and checked a few boxes on Hiker and a few other badges as well. Most importantly, a good time was had by all. Now that they've gotten a little experience, a full weekend trip is already in the works for next spring or summer with families. I'm looking forward to that!