Monday, July 29, 2013

Guest Post: My Girl Scout Camp Experience - Winter Break Tradition at Camp Agnes Arnold

In the third and final post of her "Girl Scout Camp Experience" series on our blog, GSSJC's MarComm intern (and former Girl Scout!) Michelle Sheena focuses on Camp Agnes Arnold. She shares how memories made at this camp are still some of her favorite and how she and her former troop members keep those memories alive now that they're all away at college.

By Michelle Sheena
Former Girl Scout, MarComm intern

My troop, Troop 4532, experiments with light painting,
a form of long exposure photography.
I was in the same Girl Scout troop from fourth to twelfth grade, so naturally my troop forged some very strong bonds. We planned and executed multiple trips outside the Houston area including family camping, water parks and even an Alaskan cruise. However, one of my favorite trips became tradition within my troop: winter break camping.

Every winter break since entering high school, my troop organized a camping trip at Camp Agnes Arnold. We made countless memories huddling together for warmth in the yurts and battling bugs in the tree houses, as well as cooking our own meals over a fire and finding engaging new activities in the area.

My troop got to pet Koa, one of the wolves
at the wolf sanctuary.
While at Camp Agnes Arnold one winter break, we found a wolf sanctuary that we visited multiple times over the years. The Saint Francis Wolf Sanctuary was founded by Reverend Jean LeFevre, a lifelong Girl Guide, and houses many wolves in need of a loving environment. After petting and watching a few of the wolves, Rev. LeFevre took us into the main building and wowed us all with a scrapbook of her early life adventures. That moment truly emphasized the depth and reach that the Girl Scouts community has and the lengthy history that we contribute to every day.

Another tradition my troop has while camping is shopping. The Conroe Outlet Mall is conveniently located right by Camp Agnes Arnold, so we make a point to stop by a few stores before leaving the area. It's always fun to try on new clothes with old friends, and one year we bought matching black shirts to decorate with neon paint. Those shirts later became our troop shirts, and we wore them to several meetings and events while back in Houston to commemorate our trip.

In addition to leaving the camp grounds, we always found ways to entertain ourselves at Camp Agnes Arnold. We have ventured to archery and raced in the canoes. It may sound cheesy, but picking a buddy to canoe with was always a challenge because everyone wanted to ride together. We have resolved this issue by aligning all the boats next to each other, holding on to the rim, and just coasting.

Although we have all since graduated and moved to various parts of the continental United States, we still make an effort to stay in touch. This past winter break we organized our annual camping trip around the time each (former) member of our troop returned from college, and rented a beach house in Galveston for a few days.

With Girl Scouting, it was never just completing activities to fulfill requirements. Every member of my troop was driven by a passion to grow and contribute to the world, and we all motivated one another to better everything in our lives. I loved spending time volunteering, earning badges, or camping with my troop, and I love how we all still spend time together.

Read Michelle's previous posts on Camp Agnes Arnold and Camp Casa Mare.