Camp Ehawee Winter Expedition

By Media Girls Eloise Czerwonka, Brea Flint, and Megan Scholz

January 25-26, 2020

Don’t you love to camp at Ehawee?  The adventure, the wildlife, the trees? What if Ehawee was buried in nearly a foot of snow?  Would you still dare to stay the weekend?  That’s what 35 of Girl Scouts challenged themselves to do this weekend, along with parents, troop leaders, and super-awesome camp counselors!  At 35°F and no wind, Saturday was a GREAT day to play in the snow.   Megan Scholz, Brea Flint, and Eloise Czerwonka wanted to report the adventures that they encountered this weekend.

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Arriving at camp was interesting. There was snow everywhere. Normally, you show up at Ehawee surrounded by a green landscape. Well, not this time. We had nearly a foot of white, fluffy, pack-y snow, topped off just that morning. WILD!

After everyone moved into Bertha and Nakomis Lodges, they arranged themselves into groups and started an adventure. Eloise, Brea, and Megan navigated from constructing snow shelters to tracking animals, building fires in the snow, creating wildlife habitats, studying winter first aid, and making a blizzard in Hope Lodge.

image 2On their hike to find signs of wildlife, they didn’t see many tracks to begin with, so they made a few of our own.  Megan playfully drew a large bird print in the snow when the others weren’t looking.  “Look what I found!” she shouted to the group.  The girls debated about what it could possibly be.  A gigantic prehistoric bird perhaps?  Later in the day, when the girls returned to Hope Lodge, they saw the Hippogriff nest and came to the unanimous conclusion that the huge prints must have been from a Hippogriff.

 

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By the end of their 30 minute hike through the snow (it went almost all the way to their knees!), they had identified dog, raccoon, deer, and rabbit tracks.  Interestingly, the rabbit tracks were pretty shallow while the deer prints were deeper into the snow.

Next they made a snow shelter in the Minihaha Unit.  They had to start with a stick no larger than their wrist, add more sticks to it, then add vines or more sticks and packed snow on top (pancake style, not too heavy).  The bottom was lined with big branches to anchor the wall.  When they finished, all four of them could fit into the shelter (well, sort of).  It was surprisingly warm and comfortable inside even though it was made of icy cold snow.  When they climbed out, their leaders said it looked like they were climbing out of a clown car!

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After lunch, the girls wanted nothing more than to just play outside.  They hiked to Marinuka Unit where they had thought about fire building, but instead found a world of untouched snow.  They rolled a snowball that got bigger and bigger and took 10 girls to roll.  Working together, they constructed a snow mom that was bigger than all of the girls building it and turned it into their own personal climbing and play structure.

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Eventually, the girls did get to build campfires with camp counselor Cypher.  The fires were build in the parking lot on top of cardboard.  Cypher put them out with her boot before they got very big.  Did you know that air flow is important for getting fires started and keeping them going?  Since fires need oxygen, it’s important to make sure to build the base with space for the air to go.  The girls used a mixture of small twigs and pine needles (kindling) and bigger twigs and sticks to keep it going.  They all worked as a team to create a fire that lit well.  It was super exciting to see that they could start a fire in the snow.

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The last big Saturday activity was a snow creation competition.   Eloise, Brea, and Megan decided to make a friendship circle of snow girls and used snow paint made with food coloring and water to add different colored sashes/vests for each of the snow girls.  Snow painting was new to them and since the colored water was warmer than the snow it melted into the snow people leaving indentations.   There were all sorts of creative snow engineering going on.  There were castles, forts, Ms.snow-punzel, a hippopotamus, and even a snow woman in a bikini.  The winning structure was a snowman with a kitty because it had stick structures in it for support.   Although Eloise, Brea, and Megan didn’t win, but they sure had fun working as a team and creating 12 unique snow girls and their fearless leader.

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Eloise can’t wait to come back next year, and hopefully the abominable snowman appears this time so we can see it! The skits the counselors put on were amazing and funny — cool! The best one was the skit about camping and trolls. A special thanks to Panara bread for donating bagels and other kinds of bread for breakfast before our journey back home. She’ll just need to remember to bring a backup set of mittens next year!

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Brea had just moved to Badgerland Council this September, she was born and raised in Southern California, so this was her first winter with real snow (and her 1st time at Ehawee). She loved seeing the snow covered trees and paths—and loved that the weather conditions were just perfect—plenty of packing snow for building creative creations—such as spontaneous snow cats complete with twig whiskers.  She also is beginning to grasp the difference between packing snow and a nice dusting of powder—and can now understand why Eskimos have over 50 words for snow.  She was also glad she learned about frostbite — and hypothermia (something she didn’t have to worry about much in Southern California where temperatures rarely dipped below 60 degrees.  She learned about many of the summer traditions (creek hopping, swimming, and getting TeePeed) at Ehawee and can’t wait to see what camp is like in warmer weather.  Brea, only ever having tried Little Brownie Baker cookies, really loved the thanks-a-lot S’mores—they had the perfect amount of chocolate and cookie—making the most delicious S’mores she’s had yet!   She’s definitely going to ask mom to stick up on these cookies this cookie season—as they won’t be available next year.

image 9Megan’s favorite part of camp was hanging out with new friends.  Like when a group of girls spontaneously built a gigantic snowman that was so big, they used it as a slide.  She also discovered her new favorite tea!  Celestial Green tea with White Tea for smooth taste.  Who knew?  Megan can’t wait to go back and make even more magical memories.

 

Eloise, Brea, and Megan want to wish everyone a spectacular day and hope that you have the opportunity to join them at the next Ehawee Expedition.  Until then, adventure on!

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Exploring New Skills at Ehawee Expedition

MediaGIRL Avery Lentz and mom LaShell Lentz recap their experience at Ehawee Expedition

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Daisy Girl Scout and MediaGIRL Avery Lentz attended last weekend’s Ehawee Expedition with five members of her troop. This was their first time visiting Camp Ehawee and were eager to try all the new and exciting activities being offered at the event. They immediately ran down the trail to the archery range, excited to give it a try. They loved shooting arrows at the targets (and would’ve done so longer) but there was so much more to explore.

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In less than six hours, the girls tried archery, learned how to build a fire, played giant Jenga and tic tac toe, conquered a partner-guided obstacle course, played giant Hungry Hippo, learned how to tie knots, played Gaga ball, made bird feeders, and even had an impromptu dance party! Avery’s favorite parts? “Archery and playing Hungry Hippo.”

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Despite all the scheduled activities, there was no shortage of creativity that afternoon. Avery and her troop mates made each game their own, even turning the game of Jenga into a chance to build their own creations and make the game their own.

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Overall it was an action packed afternoon with plenty of opportunities to learn something new, and become close as a troop. Avery’s mom, LaShell, said after her afternoon with the girls, “I want to go back and stay!  The property is beautiful and has so much to offer the curious girl!”

Couldn’t make it to this month’s Ehawee Expedition? Attend our winter session January 25-26! See all the details at gsbadgerland.org

Meet the Camp Staff!

Summer Camp season is finally here and we’re excited to introduce our amazing 2019 camp staff! Continue reading to meet the staff and learn what they love most about camp.

 

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Name: Rapunzel

Favorite camp thing… meeting new friends.

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Name: Domino

Favorite camp thing… everything!

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Name: Branch

Favorite camp thing… campfires.

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Name: River

Favorite camp thing… the sun!

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Name: Flamingo

Favorite camp thing… s’mores.

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Name: Pixie

Favorite camp thing… being outside

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Name: Harmony

Favorite camp thing… singing songs around the campfire.

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Name: Dimples

Favorite camp thing… learning new skills and meeting new people.

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Name: Wolf

Favorite camp thing… s’mores.

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Name: Luna

Favorite camp thing… the atmosphere.

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Name: Starry Night

Favorite camp thing… campfires and the stars.

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Name: Aspen

Favorite camp thing… canoeing and creek hopping.

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Name: Bubbles

Favorite camp thing… singing and swimming with Giggles.

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Name: Giggles

Favorite camp thing… Being a unicorn, dancing, exploring, and swimming with Bubbles.

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Name: Phoebe

Favorite camp thing… hiking.

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Name: Buddy

Favorite camp thing… the laughter and s’mores.

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Name: Twinkle

Favorite camp thing… the people.

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Name: Luce

Favorite camp thing… feeling special and nature.

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Name: Anchor

Favorite camp thing… campfires.

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Name: Sunshine

Favorite camp thing… being outside.

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Name: Leche

Favorite camp thing… being there!

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Name: Gingko

Favorite camp thing… camp!

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Name: Red Hat

Favorite camp thing… talking to and learning about the girl.

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Name: Paddy

Favorite camp thing… campfires with friends.

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Name: Bee

Favorite camp thing… campfires

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Name: Nessie

Favorite camp thing… making s’mores.

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Name: Sparkles

Favorite camp thing… the adventure.

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Name: Frankie

Favorite camp thing… the songs.

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Name: Sky

Favorite camp thing… campfires.

 

What’s your favorite camp thing? Leave us a comment below!

We’ll see you at camp!

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The Case for Girl Scout Camp: 5 Powerful Reasons

From our Spring issue of Focus, read below to learn what your girl will gain from a summer at Girl Scout camp.

1. She’ll Develop Confidence.

You’re giving her the opportunity to be self-reliant. Growth in confidence and independence happens at camp.

2. She’ll experience outdoor childhood fun and adventure.

You’re giving her the gift of magical childhood memories – dirt, adventures, stories, and joke-filled days and nights spent with friends outdoors, under the stars, and around the campfire.

3. She’ll relax.

You’re giving her a break from the pressures and stress of competitive sports and school.

4. She’ll get unplugged.

You’re giving her the chance to unplug and connect face-to-face with other girls and positive adult role models.

5. She’ll get better at making and keeping friends.

Friendships that are built at camp are different from those that occur at school and on sports teams. The intensity of living together and experience life together, without distractions, creates the ideal setting for life-long friendships.

 

Learn more about our 2019 summer camp programs at gsbadgerland.org/camp

The Girl Scout Camp Difference: a conversation with Jill Joswiak

Jill Joswiak: troop leader, parent of a Girl Scout, and big-time Camp Advocate!

She didn’t go to camp when she was younger, but she’s let her daughter, Helen, go back every summer for the last 10 years. Why?

“The opportunity for experiential learning. There is nothing you can’t try or learn to do. The counselors provide a safe environment, encouragement and enough guidance to help the campers not get frustrated, while letting the scouts figure out the task by having to problem solve, and ultimately have success. My favorite example of this is learning to sail at Camp Black Hawk.

“I think that having this opportunity in a single-gender environment allows them to try, and fail, and try again and succeed and then ultimately lead. At camp, they learn and do with a greater comfort level that translates into more confidence and success. Knowing that they have tested out new skills (including leadership skills) in this environment, they can go out into the world and have success. Finally, Girl Scout camp is built around the promise and law, which is the foundation of the movement.”

As a parent, what was it like sending her to camp for the first time, versus sending her off last summer?  “There was a great sense of pride in that what she knew she wanted to do after the very first summer (attend leadership camp in a journey to become a counselor) was actually happening.”

What would you say to a parent who’s just not quite sure they’re ready to send her off to resident camp yet?  “Attend a Me and My Guy or Me and My Gal Session with your scout. Meet the staff that will be leading your scout. Get the feel for the camp, and the activities and the facilities. That way, you will have a good idea of what it will be like for your scout. The comfort that I gained as a parent from meeting the staff was what made it so easy to send her the next year. The anxious parent in me knew that she would be safe, and the Girl Scout Leader in me knew that she would have an opportunity to learn and grow that was separate and distinct from her Troop experience. She would make new friends, and gain independence.”

What sort of growth have you seen in your daughter that you’d credit camp with?  “Courage – Her choice of location for her solo overnight amazed me, and she is a hammock camper, something she learned at Black Hawk. She is braver than I was at that age, and even in some sense, now. Problem Solving – the opportunities to have to make things up on the fly due to changing weather conditions, or changing schedules, the mood of the campers or equipment and supply needs, abound and is one of the great things that you gain from Girl Scouting. Compassion for younger Scouts when they are homesick. Leadership – Leading younger scouts, volunteering to help. Confidence in her outdoor skills and the ability to lead. For example, she went to resident horse camp, and when she returned for Me and My Gal, her and some of her fellow resident campers volunteered to help get the horses ready for the Me and My Gal campers so more scouts could experience horseback riding. I was amazed at the skills she learned in such a short time. Always open to trying new things in the Girl Scouting environment. Tradition­- carrying on those ever important camp traditions and especially the songs.”

Anything other general information you’d like to share? “As an adult, I found my a-ha moment in Girl Scouting at Girl Scout camp with my daughter. Lying in a tent, while being serenaded to sleep, I realized I had a gigantic smile on my face and was truly happy. I would encourage parents or grandparents to share in that experience of Me and My Gal or Guy. I am humbled by the fact that Helen wanted to attend Me and My Gal with me last summer, regardless of where it was held. She suggested and insisted because she knew how much it meant to me. I am so very grateful for all that camp has brought to our lives, including a lifelong family of friends.”

Meet the Camp Director

Bonnie Griswold-Camp DirectorBonnie Griswold is the dynamo directing camps this summer. Now retired from a stellar career in aquatics leadership and education, Bonnie’s impressive resume includes serving as Aquatics Director at UW-Madison Recreational Sports. So what drew her out of retirement to take charge of Girl Scout camp? “I want a retirement with purpose – to give back to those who helped me along the way. I worked on the waterfront at Girl Scout camps all four years of college, which gave me a strong foundation for my career. I’m elated to have the opportunity to give back to the organization that helped me so much.”

As camp director, a key responsibility is building the camp team – the counselors who work directly with the girls. Bonnie has lots of experience creating effective teams and says her Girl Scout crew will be strong. “My camp staff will be focused on helping the girls build their own confidence and independence, and that’s why the counselors will be selfless, positive role models with tons of creativity and initiative.”

Resident camps this year are all themed with activities that girls will experience on top of the traditional camp fun. Bonnie, who grew up an active Girl Scout, says her favorite things are teaching girls all the traditions, including Girl Scout songs around the campfire, swimming, hiking and canoeing.

Sign your girl up today for the adventure of a lifetime at summer camp.

Camper Confident: Introducing a Badgerland Camper

Camper Confident-AlexaSome girls are natural campers. But most don’t realize their love for the outdoors until they try it for the first time. Just like Alexa P.

A fourth grader, Alexa says she’s the kind of girl who would spend every waking moment hiking through the woods, paddling around in a canoe or gathering around a campfire.

Her love of camping was ignited when she was a Daisy Girl Scout and introduced to camping – she went to ‘Me & My Gal’ (a family camp) with her mom. “It was scary at first because it was my first time sleeping outdoors, even though I was in a cabin,” Alexa said. “But it was OK because my mom was with me.”

Alexa says she was a bit nervous to return the next year, on her own but was so glad she found the courage to do so. Because once she started… she couldn’t stop! Just last summer, Alexa packed in three Girl Scout camps including CampHERO, Horse Lovers Adventure, and her all-time favorite – Camp Confidence. “We got to climb on this big pole and then jump off with a harness on!” she recalled, adding that she would “definitely” do it again.

Lucky for her, she’s attending NinjaGIRL at Camp Ehawee this summer where she’ll do lots of adventure activities, along with ninja challenges and warrior trainings.

But that’s not all she’s up to in summer 2018. Alexa will be onsite at spring Camporee and will be traveling to Camp Ehawee for two more camps – RiverQuest and Hogwarts: An Intro to Magic.

While the different weekly themes make camp extra fun each time she goes, Alexa says the best things about camp stay the same. “It’s really fun and you get to make new friends,” she said. “And you get to learn how to work as a team.”

Alexa’s mom, Ann, couldn’t be happier that her daughter fell in love with Girl Scout camp. “I went to camp as a Girl Scout when I was younger, and I really liked the experience,” Ann said. “I did things at camp I wouldn’t have done anywhere else.” She agrees with Alexa that camp is the perfect opportunity to make new friends, while simultaneously gaining confidence and independence.

Along with camp, Girl Scouts has provided other opportunities for the two of them. As a co-leader of Troop 2446, Ann motivates girls and their families to attend programs, sell cookies and serve their community.

But for Alexa – nothing is better than a week at Girl Scout camp.