Staff Photo: John Bohn Susan Stembel serves home made Swedish pancakes to a group of Brownies attending a day camp for Gwinnett County girl scouts of all ages held at Lilburn City Park Wednesday. The Brownies are dressed in a Pippi Longstocking theme.
Girl Scout Camp
Hundreds of girls take part in the annual Girl Scout Day Camp at Lilburn City Park.
LILBURN -- It was like Christmas in June as Jamie Kohn and Erin Obarowzki unwrapped their lunches at Lilburn City Park. But instead of wrapping paper, there was foil and the gift was a steamy chicken and vegetable entree, known by campers as a silver turtle.
The cadettes and their troop made the recipe over campfire as part of their outdoor leadership skill(OLS) training on cooking at the Lilburn Girl Scout Day Camp, which is being held this week.
"I like OLS because you get to make your own food and figure out how its going to taste," Kohn said.
Her troop makes up a handful of the 365 girls who are attending the camp, which runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day through Friday.
More than 565 girls, camp aids and adult volunteers are gathering to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts. This year's theme "A New Century, A New Chapter!" was chosen to reflect the centennial year and to incorporate education. Throughout the week, each troop will read and do activities related to a book they selected.
Brownie Lauryn Davis of Troop 6 is reading books in the Junie B. Jones series. Like Junie B., the protagonist in the novel, Davis enjoys getting messy and playing in water. Davis' favorite activity during camp is the creek walk. "You get to go in the creek and its really deep," Davis said.
Although Lilburn City Park began renovating Camp Creek in March to improve the quality of water, prevent erosion and provide people with more access to the creek, Lilburn Girl Scout co-chair Pam Freeman said park officials have been very cooperative in allowing them to use the creek.
According to many of the girls, the creek walk has become a highlight of the weeklong camp.
The week includes other traditions such as old T-shirt day and crafts, but Girl Scout Day Camp co-chairs Pam Freeman and Lyn Risher wanted this year's campers to learn skills Girl Scouts used 100 years ago. For the first time in it's 32-year history the Lilburn Girl Scout Day Camp will feature lessons on Morse code signaling, sewing and rope knotting.
"We wanted to bring back skills that the girls won't ever learn anywhere because of the changes in our society and videogames," Risher said.
The 100th anniversary represents a transition into a new era for the Lilburn Girl Scouts Day Camp. In their first year as co-chairs, Freeman and Risher said they have made some mistakes along the way but have learned a lot. The best friendsstepped up to fill Martha Whitman's shoes. Whitman resigned last year, after serving as director for a decade.
The co-chairs and camp leaders like Bethany Wheeler celebrated the 100th anniversary in March by visiting Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low's Savannah home. Wheeler said the program has continued to celebrate the anniversary by reflecting on the program's evolution. Wheeler said she enjoyed reminiscing about her 11 years in Girl Scouts, as well as thinking about how it has changed in some regards but remained the same in others.
"It's a big step for Girl Scouts. I love how much the program has improved," Wheeler said. "Its something the (younger) girls will remember in ten years."
Stefani Newman said the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts symbolizes a turning point in her life. Newman has been a member of Girls Scouts for 11 years. After three years as a camp aid, she is finally leading her own troop of younger girls. Newman said the leadership skills she learned in Girl Scouts have given her the confidence and ability to lead her own troop.
"People don't believe me when I tell them I was shy growing up. Now I'm really open. The camp made me sociable and able to interact with girls younger and older than me. I learned how to lead games and songs," Newman said.
Newman now goes by her camp name Glitter, a reflection of her sparkling personality.
Following in the footsteps of girls like Glitter, Abigail Clancy is on track to become a leader of a unit. Clancy, who is training as a camp aid, took younger girls on creek walks. Although she enjoyed showing them the animal tracks and clay deposits along the creek, Clancy said above all she wanted the girls to learn that camp is a place where they can be themselves.
In the coming years, Freeman and Risher hope to encourage the girls to learn more practical skills like leather making and to facilitate more group specific activities.
"I love that all the troops are doing something different. Every girl is going to get a different experience," said Risher.