“The best part is when things go wrong,” says Ali, a Girl Scout in Duxbury troop 75220. Her fellow troop mates agree that some of their favorite memories together have been overcoming unexpected trials while on one of their numerous camping trips, be it thunderstorms, falling into rivers, or hammocks flipping upside down.
Many of the girls have been together since kindergarten, and the troop continues to accept new members every year. They have been camping at least once a year since they were Brownies. Last year alone they went on six camping trips; they’ve trekked through Mount Jackson, Mount Greylock, the Appalachian Trail, and the White Mountains.
And these aren’t your average campouts.
At Operation Snowflake, a winter camping competition, the girls put their skills to use, like knot tying, fire building, and Dutch oven cooking. Last year, to their dismay, they weren’t able to sleep under the stars due to the snow, and had to sleep in their tents instead. Of course, they were still outside.
They also participate in the annual West Point Military Academy Camporee. This past year, they backpacked the steep 3-mile trail to Bull Hill with all of their equipment in tow, and camped in the muddiest conditions imaginable. The highlight of the camporee was the dance party enjoyed by all in the middle of a surprise thunderstorm, complete with a DJ and plenty of glow sticks.
They also loved the military-style drills and challenges, which included carrying each other through trails, fly fishing, sawing, outdoor cooking, crawling up hills on knees and elbows, and marching. Out of 6,500 Boy and Girl Scouts, these girls earned first place in the leadership challenge and third in drill exercises.
And it doesn’t stop there. The girls have led the Duxbury camporee, collected and sent school supplies to students with special needs in the nation of Georgia, and raised money to build a well for an African village. They also conduct beach cleanups, volunteer at food pantries, and spend time with children at a local shelter for families.
All of the girls who were in the troop as Juniors earned the Bronze Award, and many have earned, or are in the process of earning, the Silver Award—and they have their eyes set on Gold. With projects dedicated to environmental conservation, bullying prevention, honorable flag retirement, and species preservation, these girls are making a significant impact.
It’s all in a day’s work, though. “To us it just feels so normal, everything we do,” says Julia.
“Our troop isn’t intimidated by anything,” says Nadia, and her friends all agree. Through it all they are learning new skills and discovering that their potential is higher than they imagined.
“If you had asked me six years ago if I would be doing all of this, I would have thought you were crazy. We do six camping trips a year,” says Zoey. “And we do so much. It’s not just camping. It’s hiking, it’s backpacking…”
What’s next for these go-getters? They’re attending the West Point Camporee again, with their eyes set on ranking in even more of the challenges. And at the next Operation Snowflake, Zoey says, “I hope we can sleep outside in hammocks.”
Is your troop doing epic things? (Everything in Girl Scouts is epic.) Let us know!