Written by Press Corps member Keena Dietz
Power Girls is an amazing, week-long summer camp held only here in Girl Scouts River Valleys. The council is understandably proud of this option so, if you have attended a Girl Scout event recently, you’ve most likely heard the name. I was lucky enough to attend the first session this summer so I want to share more about my experiences at camp! Power Girls takes campers with no previous building or construction knowledge and teaches them how to build tiny houses. All the instruction is provided by real construction workers and students at Dunwoody Technical college.
I absolutely loved this camp, and if you’re interested, be sure to keep on reading! I’ll be going over my entire camp experience at Power Girls, including paddleboarding, all camp games, and, of course, our various construction projects. A diary of my experiences is below.
Drop-off was probably my least favorite part of camp. I was nervous as my family and I stood in line to check in, but as soon as we got into the woods I calmed down a little. I didn’t want my family to leave, and I missed them a lot that day. I was a little surprised I felt homesick, because this wasn’t my first camp. Luckily I pushed myself to get out there and start talking to the other people in my yurt. We ended up becoming really close, so I was glad I didn’t let my homesickness get in the way of my friendships at camp!
That night we had a “welcome to camp” campfire! It drizzled a little bit, but we didn’t let the rain get between us and our s’mores, classic skits, and camp songs. The counselors explained what we would be doing all week. The campout was a great way to get connected with everyone at Camp Lakamaga and have fun while still getting the information we were all curious about.
After that, we all walked back to our cabin (or yurt), brushed our teeth, and went to bed. It felt a little odd sleeping in a yurt for the first time, but I fell asleep faster than I expected.
The second day of camp was the busiest day of the week. We had our first day of “Connections,” which is an hour devoted to meeting others outside our cabin while doing activities beyond the Power Girl builds. My first Connection was Arts and Crafts, and we went on a short nature walk and made crafts with the items we had found. My second Connection was a theater-focused group called “Lights, Camera, Action!” and we practiced non-verbal acting and projecting.
Finally, the power tools! In our construction work, we started with a quick introduction to our most commonly used tools—a circular saw and a power drill. Jumping straight into using the power tools was super amazing! I loved learning in a very hands-on manner how to use the tools that scared me a little at first. We learned safety protocols for all our tools and how to be safe around the build site.
That evening, we also went paddleboarding! It was a beautiful time to be out. The sun was setting, and the water was just warm enough that it was perfect to swim in. I think paddleboarding was the perfect end to our first full day of camp!
In the morning we met with our connections groups. Today we worked with clay in Arts and Crafts and worked on characters in “Lights, Camera, Action!”.
I also helped to build one of the walls for the side of our tiny house! I learned how to use a circular saw at an angle (you can twist the saw and match it up with a protractor already connected to the saw), how to make all my cut pieces match up properly (so the wall would match the other one being built), and how to use the tools we learned yesterday in a hands-on environment.
Today was filled with the feeling I like to call “Is It Really Wednesday?” syndrome. It felt odd to know that we only had one more day of Connections. We were all struck by the knowledge that the week was so short.
In Connections, I made scented candles out of beeswax in Arts and Crafts, which I had never done before. In “Light, Camera, Action!” we planned out our skit for the last day of camp.
In Power Girls, I helped build a roof! It was so cool to build the structure at an angle. And I was surprised at how rough shingles feel. Everything had to be perfect to make the roof work properly. With all of us working together, we were able to get all the pieces exactly how we needed them.
Our last night at camp! Everyone was talking about how weird it felt to be here already. We had connected so much with each other! I had a hard time imagining not seeing my new friends every single day. We also talked about what we missed from home, especially our parents, pets, friends, and showers every day.
In Arts and Crafts, we made a lei out of straws and tissue paper for the upcoming camp party since the theme was Hawaii. In “Lights, Camera, Action!” we focused on practicing our skit to make it perfect for the final campfire!
I was able to shingle a roof today! We used a nail gun powered by compressed air to attach the shingles to the roof. I felt so powerful using it! By the end of the session, the three of us working together had created a great rhythm for all the steps. Luckily we were able to add the shingles while the section of roof was on the ground, otherwise, it might have been a little harder.
The final campfire was a time of celebration. We made s’mores again (hurray!) and watched all the cabins’ and “Lights, Camera, Action!” groups’ skits. It was so cool to see the ideas people came up with. Our Dunwoody instructors even performed a song they wrote!
The final day of camp was bittersweet. We started out the day with a tropical breakfast, complete with eating on our towels like we were relaxing on the sand. Then we packed up and cleaned up our cabins and yurts. Finally, we participated in an all-camp game and dance off before lunch!
After lunch, we watched a short video that included all our experiences from camp. It was great to relive them all together. Then the camp staff gave out our camp lanyards with achievement pins on them and announced the winner of the camp game, which was my yurt! Saying goodbye was hard, but it was great to see my family again. Finally, we all headed back home!
I really enjoyed my experiences at Power Girls. It was an amazing camp that taught me so many new skills and also taught me more about myself. Sleepaway camp in of itself is a wonderful opportunity, but combining that with construction work, amazing counselors and talented teachers, and kids eager to learn? I think that’s something every girl should be able to experience! More power to Power Girls!
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