What better way to learn to live the Girl Scout motto Be Prepared than camping in Missouri in the middle of winter?!
Troop leader Michele Fowler from Service Unit 640 in Raytown, Missouri has been taking Girl Scouts primitive camping in the winter for 6 years now. She calls this adventure “Winter Survival Campout” and each year she hosts the event at a different state park for girls to navigate terrain that they’re not familiar with.
February 7-8, 2015. Knob Noster State Park. 14 Girl Scouts, troop leaders and parents.
Girl Scout Juniors, Cadettes and Seniors from Troop 1754, 1721 and 2002. Temperature – 70 degrees!
While the temperature was uncharacteristically warm for a February day in Missouri, girls still learned plenty about being prepared!
Dwight Fowler, troop leader for Girl Scout Seniors walked everyone through how to find and setup the ideal camp. Using only tarps and rope, they built a shelter for themselves that would keep them warm, dry and as comfortable as possible in the elements.
After camp was set up, they all gathered for lunch. Some brought their food, but most were open to trying an MRE or Meals Ready to Eat; a self-contained individual food ration that is commonly used by the military. Another food option , a classic camp choice – fried Spam, cooked up by veteran camper and Girl Scout Senior, Cecilie Fowler!
Cecilie is the daughter of Michele and Dwight Fowler, and for her just a normal weekend with her outdoor-inspiring parents. It didn’t matter if the temperature was 70 degrees or 7!
Cecilie has been a Girl Scout for 11 years and has four older brothers all of which she saw participating in in outdoor adventures through Boy Scouts. It was natural for Michele and Dwight to make sure that their daughter was having the same opportunities and experiences that their sons had.
Michele looks to Cecilie for her experience and leadership to get the girls into some fun and safe mischief! Last year on their hike, she was leading the group across a small shallow frozen stream (what girl doesn’t want to walk on ice at least once?!). On Girl Scout was wearing rubber rain boots and while crossing the ice, slipped and her leg went into the stream. Unharmed, she stood up, dumped out her boot from the water and found that she had caught a fish!
Its adventures like winter survival camping with Girl Scouts that give girls the courage and confidence to try things in a safe environment and make memories that last a lifetime.
If you’re looking to take your girl or troop on an outdoor winter survival weekend, here are the top 5 things that Michele says are a must:
- Layers, layers, layers. Bring plenty of clothes to change in an out of. You never know when you’ll fall in a stream!
- Pocket knife/multipurpose tool. You’ll need to cut rope, pull hot items off the fire, etc.
- Sleeping bag. This simple item can make all the difference. If you’re not comfortable, it will be a very long night!
- High protein foods. You want to stay fuller, longer.
- Solid boots/shoes. Mud, water, sticks, leaves, holes, etc. are all possible when you’re camping and hiking. To go above and beyond, wear boots that protect your ankles.
Does your girl want to try her hand at building shelter and cooking her own meals while camping? Sign her up for primitive camping this summer at Camp Daisy Hindman with an Outpost session!