Hello, my name is Olivia. I am 14 years old and I’ve been a Girl Scout going on nine years.
One of my favorite things to do as a Girl Scout is go to camp. This past summer I tried a new camp—Northwoods. I was a little apprehensive about going to a new camp without knowing anyone, so I chose to go to on an eight-day canoeing trip. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough people signed up so I moved to the 10-day BWCA canoe trip. Let me tell you, I was nervous. I had never gone on any sort of trip—let alone a canoeing trip.
The day rolled around to get dropped off at the bus stop—I was both nervous and excited! We all said goodbye to our parents and got on the bus with the counselors. I was one of the older campers but it was fun having people look up to me. We sat on the bus while they stopped at the rest of the pick-up places, and I looked around to see who else would be going on the adventure with me. After picking everyone up, the counselors put on a movie but we were too busy making new friends to watch.
I was excited when we finally pulled up to Northwoods and all the staff members were outside welcoming us. I got off the bus and sat down in the grass to see who my counselor would be and saw my old cabin mates from past camps sitting next to me—that’s one of the great things about camp, you make friendships that will last forever. Everyone was getting up to go with their counselor and I looked around and realized it was only me and two other girls. I went over and sat by them when this counselor comes running up to us. She introduced herself as Salsa and we were so excited we threw our arms around her and started talking all at once.
We got settled into our platform tent, but we couldn’t stop talking about what was in store for us over the next two weeks. We stayed up until the morning talking and bonding with one another. The next morning we got up—tiredly, I might add—and enjoyed an energetic breakfast where everyone introduced themselves. After breakfast, we got right to work planning and packing for our trip. Packing for our trip was one of my favorite parts. The campers were so ready to get going that we couldn’t sit still the rest of the day so while the counselors were talking through our meal plans, we went out and had a jousting match with sleeping pads. After a day of planning and preparing, swimming and tip checks, meals, and finding our way around camp, we fell asleep as soon as our heads hit our pillows.
The morning we were waiting for finally arrived and we woke up early, alert, and ready to get going. We left just after breakfast for the long drive, but it was a lot of fun because we had so much to talk about. Our counselor, Flipper, didn’t know what to think of us—we were so hyped up. But after a few bathroom breaks and hours of talking, we made it to check-in, waved goodbye to our driver and paddled away. During the next 10 days, words could never describe the fun I had. Flipper and Salsa were the most energetic, awesome counselors we could have ever asked for.
We finished all of our portages and got to our campsites in the afternoon everyday. With the extra time we had, we did some pretty cool stuff—canoe races, ash-painting contests, hack-e-sac, cricket, and loads and loads of bonding. We all had daily chores, such as cooking, setting up tents, and packing and unpacking bags and canoes.
During our canoe trips, we faced some difficult challenges. One day while on a lake called Little Saganaga, we were paddling in waves that were much higher than our heads. The wind was whipping us all over the lake and we had no idea where our portage spot was. After being bullied by the waves and weather all morning, we tried one last cove. We thought this cove had the portage in it but it didn’t. Flipper and I were in one canoe and the other campers, Angel and Ivy, and Salsa were in the other. Our canoe tried to get out in the open one last time, but the wind pushed us and we flipped over. I was chilled already but when we went under, I just had to laugh. I came back up to the surface laughing hysterically and when Flipper looked at me, she burst out laughing, too. The other canoe was 100 feet back and when they saw us tip, they tried to come over and help but the wind just pushed them ashore. I’ll never forget the look on their faces when they saw us laughing so hard. They couldn’t believe we were laughing when we were soaked to the bone—and freezing. Looking back on that day, that experience really tested the whole group’s patience, willpower, stamina, courage, and bravery. But we pulled through together because without each other to lean on, we’d probably still be out there. That’s what Girl Scouts is all about, if you ask me—you’re in it together and teamwork is key.
The following days were pretty uneventful compared to day seven. Our last day on the trail, everyone was sad. Our last night, Flipper and Salsa created a ceremony for us where they told us the characteristics that made us good “warriors.” That night we slept under our canoes.
On the ride back to Northwoods, all we did was look back on our trip and talk about the memories we now have. Saying goodbye to everyone and getting on the bus was the hardest thing I had to do all summer. I was super sad to leave—I grew so close with everyone. Today, we all keep in touch with each other and I love it!
The counselors were outstanding. Not everyone has what it takes to be out in the BWCA with a group of girls who like to goof off and have as much fun as we do. They were mature, responsible, caring, hilarious, kind, fun, and awesome! They inspire me to try my best in everything I do and they definitely had a positive impact on my life.
Camp is one of those things that you just can’t beat. The 10-day trip I participated in was wonderful—I can’t describe how much fun I had and how much I learned. I’ve never had a bad experience at Girl Scout camp, but this was one of the best trips of my life.
I highly recommend any girl who wants to try new things to check out camp. Whether you want to go for three days or three weeks, it doesn’t matter—you’ll have a great time. It’s one of those things that you will remember the rest of your life. As for the people I met—we went in as strangers, became friends, and left as sisters. Camp is all-out amazing and I can’t wait for next summer so I can go again!