For most Girl Scouts, camping carries fond memories and new chances to explore. Especially within Girl Scout camp properties, girls are surrounded by exciting challenges and the chance to join in a rich tradition of camp life. Behind these amazing properties are three incredible men that are “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout” – camp rangers Keith Broxterman, Dave Prihoda and Zac Sibert. These men lead a life dedicated to giving girls the best camping experience possible, and truly love their role in Girl Scouts.
Rangers Keith, Dave and Zac have been with Girl Scouts for many years. Keith is the ranger at Camp Daisy Hindman and has been with Girl Scouts almost 10 years. Dave celebrates 5 years with GSKSMO this March and facilitates multiple properties, especially Camp Tongawood. Zac is the ranger at Camp Prairie Schooner and has been with our council for 4 years. In their time at camp, they’ve seen thousands of excited girls, nervous parents and inspirational staff pass through the properties.
Girl Scout properties have been more than just worksites – they hold a special place in the lives of the rangers. Keith met his wife, Emily, at Camp Daisy when they were working as summer camp staff. As a girl, Emily camped at Camp Daisy and now they’re raising their daughter, Grace, on the property! Zac was raised on a Girl Scout camp and is now raising his son, Dallas, with his wife, Ashley, at Camp Prairie Schooner. Dave gets to work with his children’s grandfather, Ranger Larry Mills, who is a contractor at Camp Tongawood and loves the family bond that’s part of his work life. Being outdoors is a passion he loves sharing with his five, now adult, kids: Krystal, Matthew, David Neil, Jessica and Shyann.
Across the board, the camp rangers love getting to help girls connect with the outdoors. “Out at Prairie Schooner we run a lot of experiences for our Outreach Program, and many of these girls have not experienced an outdoor program. One girl asked me ‘there are no sidewalks, where do we walk?’ and that really hits you because some of them never have the privilege of camping before. It’s cool that we get to be part of that,” Zac said.
“I do [this job] because I love all the new experiences the girls get to have. A lot of them come from homes where they haven’t had the opportunity before, so getting them on the property and seeing them light up because they get a fire started…that’s pretty rewarding,” Keith said.
If you’re wondering what life as a ranger consists of, it’s just about anything and everything on camp property. From fixing leaks and checking waterlines to keeping up all the safety components of camp, these men truly put their blood, sweat and tears into making camp an amazing place for girls. “[At camp] you name it, we do it. As a ranger, we’re responsible for the day in and day out. We look at all the safety features at camp and make sure everything is safe for the girls,” Keith said.
Being a man in the world of Girl Scouts, the rangers see their role as an opportunity to make positive influences on the lives of the girls that come to camp. “There’s a good majority of girls that come who don’t have a positive male figure in their lives. So, I think seeing a man step up and say ‘I want to be part of this, I want to help you grow,’ I think helps. It may be the only way they hear that as a young person,” Keith said.
A special part of the camping experience compared to other Girl Scout programs is the setting, which tends to be more inviting for men and allows them to be involved in the lives of their daughters. “It gives a father the chance to connect with their daughter(s). I have two daughters of my own and liked to have more opportunities to connect with something I enjoy and can show them. For the girls, it gives them a chance to see their dad in a different way. Rather than just providing all the time they get to see him let loose and have a good time,” Dave said.
The three camp rangers are very excited about the new “You and Me: He” camping sessions this summer because of the opportunity it opens for dads, uncles, grandfathers and male caregivers to camp with girls. They had a few things to say about why camp is amazing for this type of adventure:
Keith: “It’s almost contagious, going to camp. If there’s a dad out there with a son, most of the time, the daughter stays home if they go camping or fishing. This is a chance to flip that role. To take the daughter camping and see if she loves it just as much as the sons do. Dad’s won’t know until they get out and experience that with their daughters and have that time together.”
Zac: “We offer everything from rappelling, horseback riding, tomahawk throwing, camping to STEM activities and more, so there’s something out at camp that men can relate to. It’s a place to get away, be unplugged from everything, not worry about what needs to be done around the house, and just spend time with their daughter.”
Dave: “Depending on the man’s background, it can be something good for him to show his daughter. Just get out there, spend time with your daughter. It’s a great time.”
We love these incredible men and all they do for Girl Scouts. You know there’s real passion in what they do when the rangers can say “It’s one of those things where it’s not even fair to get paid for it because it’s that rewarding,” Zac said. Next time you’re at Camp Daisy, Camp Prairie Schooner or Camp Tongawood, make sure to say “hi!” to these men who are great examples of what means to be “Man Enough to be a Girl Scout!”
Do you have an amazing man who’s Man Enough to be a Girl Scout? Do you have a great memory of one of our three great camp rangers? Share your stories in the comments below!