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Girl Scouts experience thrills of the Wild West

LILBURN - Heavy puffs of smoke drifted from gun barrels Friday morning as a cowboy shootout ensued in Lilburn City Park.

About 400 Girl Scouts from around Gwinnett watched as the Wild Wild West came to life during the culmination of the Lilburn Day Camp, a weeklong camp held each summer. In its 28th summer, this year's camp theme brought out the pioneer spirit in participants, who took part in making crafts, orienteering exercises, outdoor cooking and more.

"The theme has lent itself to lots of fun and creativity and wild times, being that it's Wild Wild West," camp director Martha Whitman said. "Everyone has sort of gotten into the romanticism of the wild, wild west and the Native Americans and the cowboy spirit and learning about what life was like then."

Monroe resident William Holden, cowboy ambassador for Georgia, so named by the state legislature in 2007, and his group of cowboys - Los Pistoleros - were on hand throughout the week discussing the history of American cowboys, demonstrating roping, performing Western music and teaching campers how to shoot BB guns.

"All the girls have so much fun," said Victoria Lescota, 15, who has been a Girl Scout for 11 years and was helping the younger girls make crafts Friday. "Every year they look forward to coming because we're like a big family."

One of the most popular camp activities each year - and this year seemed to be no exception - is the creek walk.

"It's fun getting dirty," said 8-year-old Alysse Lurie. "We walked in water and it got deeper and deeper and you could put clay all over yourself. It was really fun."

Jamie Kozozenski, 11, has participated in the Lilburn Day Camp for the past seven years and still enjoys the walks.

"You get to see new things in the creek every year," she said.

"The nicest thing about (the camp), to me, is to see all of these girls ... just having fun being girls doing the simplest of activities but really enjoying themselves," Whitman said. "Whether they were going through the creek, doing crafts, square-dancing, learning to throw a lasso, making new friends, all of those things have just once again illustrated how important it is for kids to go to camp and have a chance to just be kids."