When Alex Good left his home in Australia in 2006 to come be a Girl Scout camp counselor in the United States for a summer when he was 19, he didn’t realize that would be the first time he met his future wife, Kelsey. Just a camper at the time, Kelsey met Alex at Camp Oakledge when she was just 15 and he was her kayak instructor. “She complained to me saying ‘your kayaking program, we just stayed in the glade’ and I go ‘it was storming! I couldn’t take you past the glade in a storm!’ So she judged me on that one session,” said Alex.
Four years passed after their initial meeting and Alex took the familiar trip to the United States to become “Bacon” (Alex’s camp name) one last time at Camp Oakledge. That’s where the two reconnected as staff and by the end of the summer they started emailing when Alex left for Australia. “Squeaky” (Kelsey’s camp name) and “Bacon” hit it off over email and the two began dating long distance. Less than a year later, Kelsey packed up her life and headed to the land down under to be with Alex and see where the relationship would take them.
Around Kelsey’s birthday in 2013, Alex surprised her with an adventure – climbing up the Sydney Bridge. This daring, dangerous experience required that everyone wear harnesses and have no loose objects. That became a challenge for Alex, who was using the opportunity to take the biggest adventure of all – to propose to Kelsey. Armed with an engagement ring attached to a ribbon around his wrist, the two climbed the Sydney Bridge and with the help of the guide, Alex got a private moment at the top of the world to ask the love of his life to marry him.
Surrounded by friends and family, including a wedding party that mostly consisted of friends from camp, Alex and Kelsey got married in Missouri in 2013. Since then Alex and Kelsey have welcomed their first child, a son named Jonah, although sometimes Alex refers to him as “Bacon Bit,” recalling his camper name.
As a girl, Kelsey loved camp because it gave her opportunities to become confident and have stability she didn’t always have at home. She had a life full of love, but moved between a couple of relatives with her twin sister and other siblings. It was Girl Scouts that she could always depend on because every caregiver made it a priority to get her to troop activities.
Leaving for camp was the most exciting time of the year for her because she could get away and be her own person for a week or more. “I learned confidence from camping with Girl Scouts. Some things they do put you out of your comfort zone, but that’s good, because by the end, you usually liked it. As an adult I get pushed out of my comfort zone and going to camp gave me confidence to do that,” Kelsey said. As she transitioned into alumnae, she knew she wanted to return to camp as a counselor.
Alex also loved the opportunity to make an impact at camp. As a male counselor he knew he had a special role to play. Many of the girls he interacted with came from homes where they didn’t have a positive male role model, and he saw it as an opportunity to make a difference in their lives. “People say things to me about being involved with Girl Scouts and I go ‘I don’t care! I’m proud of it! I’m man enough to be a Girl Scout,’” Alex said.
More than just being a role model, Alex learned the true meaning of GIRL POWER being involved in a female outdoor experience. “Being around a Girl Scout camp really opened my eyes to what girl power is. Girls are tough. I’d rather play scatterball with a bunch of boys because the girls are vicious! But in today’s society, I think that girl power is really important and I’m glad I saw that,” Alex said.
The two love the life lessons girls learn at camp and how it prepares them for life. “I think it should be absolutely necessary for girls to go to camp. Just like out on the lake, life can be dangerous. Going out in town with a bunch of friends is dangerous and they need to use skills like the buddy system they learn at camp. From an early age it sets them up to know what to do when they’re older, how to be safe and how to have courage,” Alex said.
Kelsey said one of the biggest lessons she learned in Girl Scouts was from Robyn Ratcliff, former director of Camp Oakledge. “Robyn told me, ‘we are in the change business’ and I’ve never forgotten that. As I got older, I realized how right she was even though I may have not understood it as a young counselor. But that’s what we do at camp for girls,” Kelsey said.
As a couple, Alex and Kelsey have joined Daisy’s Circle, the monthly giving program for Girl Scouts that provides critically important, dependable income for the organization. Giving to the organization is more than just the slice of their income they put aside for charity – it’s paying it forward for another girl. As Kelsey put it: “in order for me to go to camp, I had to have a scholarship. Someone had to donate for me to be able to have this experience, so now I feel like I’m returning the favor.”
Alex and Kelsey’s story is an incredible one of love, finding girl power and outdoors. If you have a memory of kayaking with “Bacon” or camping with “Squeaky,” share in the comments below!