Camp Corner, Spring 2020 (Part 1)

By Madeline Jackson

Chippy has been lonely during our stay-at-home orders due to COVID-19 and hopes she will see you all very soon! While you’ve been away from camp, the property staff and volunteers have still been working hard to make camp improvements for you to enjoy once you can safely return. In Part 1 of Camp Corner for Spring 2020, Chippy will share the many developments at Camp Honi Hanta.

Troop 17 Completed Bronze Project - Honi Hanta Directional Signage

Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown of camp, Troop 17 completed their Bronze Award project. They designed and installed directional signage by the Lodge to assist first responders in locating campsites in case of emergencies. They were truly thankful for their business partners Gulfshore Landscaping and Violetto Customs for assisting with the completion of their project. In addition, Troop 614 painted the floor of the Eagles Bathhouse. Thanks so much, girls!

Eagles Perch Bathhouse Floor Paint 1 - troop 614

With volunteer assistance, staff installed a five-hole disk golf course near the Manatee House, thanks to funding from the Bradenton Kiwanis Foundation and the Junior League of Sarasota. What a new fun activity for everyone to enjoy! Honi’s Volunteer Caretaker, Lance, was able to repair wood and screen issues at the Roundhouse. In addition, the Bathhouse flooring at Armadillo Alley was pressure washed and freshly re-painted with a second coat of paint.

Disk Golf Basket #1 leading to Hole #2

Council staff oversaw a number of important projects, including:

  • New decks and stairways were installed at Eagles Perch campsite for increased stability and safety.
  • The old plywood partitions were removed, and new toilet partitions installed in the Eagles Perch bathhouse.
  • Our friends at Modern Air were kind enough to donate a used iced machine that we desperately needed. Service units and troops alike no longer need to worry about bringing ice to camp.
  • Fans were installed in all of the treetop cabins and bathhouses for added breeze and comfort. In addition, new floodlighting was installed to light up the stairs, so they are more safely utilized in the evenings.
  • New storm doors and window A/C units were installed in the Armadillo Alley cabins. YES, I said air conditioning in ALL of those units!!!! Can I get a Yippppeeee??
  • Mulch landscaped beds were cleaned out and prepped for crushed shell installation, so mulch won’t stream into the pool.
  • Several leaky roof locations at the Roundhouse, the Lodge Kitchen, and the Eagles Perch screen room were repaired.
  • All touchpoint areas at camp, including bunk beds and camp mattresses, were disinfected.

chipmunk-429699_1920

Next week, Chippy will share projects from Camp Caloosa, along with general camp reminders and information about how girls can earn a badge for helping around camp. Be sure to check it out!

Madeline Jackson is the Property Manager for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida.

Girl Scouts Step up for Hunger’s End

It takes more than a global pandemic to keep Girl Scouts from making their community a better place!

Troop 21 had been planning for several months to prepare and serve two Monday meals at Hunger’s End, a nonprofit that provides a food pantry and Blessings Closet in Bradenton. The girls were already familiar with the organization, having previously donated food and toured the facility.

Troop 21 during their pre-Covid visit to Hunger's End

But they wanted to do more. So they decided as a group to use some of their Cookie Program proceeds to buy all the supplies needed to serve two Monday meals in March and April. All the plans were in place—until the COVID-19 outbreak brought their project to a standstill.

Not to be deterred, the girls and their adult leaders came up with a solution. Troop leader Michelle Cramer purchased all the meal components and delivered a portion to each of the troop member’s houses. There, the girls worked independently to prepare individual parts of the meal, chopping vegetables, cooking sloppy joe filling, assembling pasta salad, and packaging cookies for dessert. Girl Scout cookies, of course. Cramer then retrieved the foods and delivered them to Hunger’s End for their Monday Evening Community Meal on May 4.

Monday Meal

“Michelle and her team were amazing and it was so helpful to our organization to have this meal prepared to serve 200 in our community,” said Vicki Snyder, co-founder and treasurer/secretary for Hunger’s End. “We are so proud of them for wanting to help those in need in the community and honored that they chose us to be a part of it.”

The group of determined second and third graders isn’t done yet! They are planning to do it all over again in June. “The girls are so excited that we are still carrying through with our commitment and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Cramer.

“One of the fundamental goals of our program is to instill in the girls the leadership skills needed to make the world a better place,” said Mary Anne Servian, Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida CEO. “Girl Scout Troop 21 is a shining example of giving back to their community.”

 

Lori Tomlinson is the Grants and Communications Manager for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida.

Camp Corner—Winter 2020, Part 2

By Madeline Jackson, GSGCF Property Manager, and Lori Tomlinson, Grants and Communications Manager

chipmunk-429699_1920Chippy’s back with more camp updates, this time from Camp Honi Hanta.  She also has a few important camp reminders. Read on to learn more!

Highlights at Camp Honi Hanta

Let’s start by thanking our sister troops for their hard work. Troop 42 painted some of the exterior walls of the Armadillo Alley bathhouse. Three girls from Troop 149 earned the Girl Scout Bronze Award by refurbishing the fire circle at the Round House. Troop 696 also has a Bronze Award project underway. They worked with Troop 248 to create an enhanced seating area using paver stones brought up from the Venice Girl Scout House. Talk about using resources wisely!

Honi Hanta Bronze Project Roundhouse Fire Circle (3)

Members of Troop 149 aren’t afraid of a little hard lifting!

Our adult volunteers tackled some much-appreciated projects, as well. Screen repairs have been completed in the Weaver’s Nest unit screen house, and rotted wood was repaired at the Rain Forest. Several tree-top cabin window shades were re-made or replaced. The archery shed got a much-needed clean out and reorganization, and some of the bathhouse sidewalks and unit house exteriors were pressure-washed. And, United Way Suncoast Day of Caring Volunteers completed a full interior repaint of the Lodge.

Hoin Hanta Service Project TAP - Troop 42 painting Armadillo Bathhouse

The Armadillo Alley bathhouse looks wonderful, thanks to Troop 42!

Your council staff is always looking for ways to enhance your camp experience, and has marked quite a few items off the to-do list, including:

  • A complete property tree trim to lift canopies, widen trails, and eliminate dead landscape
  • The addition of plastic bins for each unit’s screen house to organize miscellaneous items on the equipment shelves
  • Fabrication and installation of the belay benches for the climbing wall, and wood preservation coating applied to more than half of the structure
  • Installation of eye wash solution stations installed in each of the bathhouses
  • Equipping each screen house with a coffee maker, new dishwashing bins, and a new Coleman stove
  • Replacing the air conditioner in the Manatee House

If you’ve visited camp in the past couple weeks, you probably noticed the installation of a beautiful shade canopy for the archery range, thanks to funding from the Bradenton Kiwanis Foundation and Junior League of Sarasota. This grant project is still underway with even more great additions in process, including a new ice maker for the lodge and a fully equipped disc golf course (coming soon!).

Honi Archery Canopy Shade installation - 1

With the installation of this shade canopy, archery at Honi Hanta is even “cooler” than before!

Don’t forget, there is a Honi Hanta Hero patch that girls can earn for doing a service project at camp. We have painting projects, signage projects, trimming trails, and more. There are many ways to improve camp and leave it better than we found it.

Camp Reminders

Please remember, the rules we have set up for camp are for everyone’s safety, protection, and consideration.  We expect all our adult leaders to set the example for their troops by observing all the Safety Activity Checkpoints and being a sister to every Girl Scout.

  • GOLF CART USAGE–The golf cart may be used by service unit managers for service unit events only. Individual troops may not use the golf cart.
  • VERIFICATION OF OUTDOOR SKILLS TRAINING–To ensure your troop or service unit will meet all the requirements of your desired program, we are now verifying certifications when a camp reservation is made through the Double Knot system.
  • NO DRIVING AT CAMP–You may drive only ONE vehicle to your campsite to drop off your supplies. Vehicles may not be used to transport girls and their belongings to your campsite and/or to activity areas. There are wheelbarrows available for this use. Of course, there are exceptions for emergencies and those with physical limitations.
  • NO SMOKING AT CAMP–Aside from the obvious fire hazard, our council does not permit smoking at our campsite locations. Smoking may only occur outside the gate of each camp and NEVER in the presence of any girls.
  • MEN ARE ALLOWED TO BE AT CAMP–However, there are strict rules about their presence at a campout.  Please review our Camp Rules.
  • TRASH REMOVAL IS ESSENTIAL–In addition to removing your own campsite trash, please have the girls walk the grounds around your campsite and pick up any stray items.  Make sure you are throwing only garbage in the dumpsters and recyclables in their respective bins.
Honi Hanta Bronze Project Archery Field Area - 1

Great teamwork, Troop 696!

SAVE THE DATE

We will be hosting Girl Scout Open Houses at all our council facilities, including Camp Honi Hanta, on Sunday, April 26 from 2-4pm.  Please plan to visit camp and see all our improvements yourself.  It will be a family-friendly event where volunteers and staff host activities on-site for everyone to enjoy. We look forward to seeing you then!

What’s New at Camp? (Fall 2019, Part 2)

By Madeline Jackson, GSGCF Property Manager

Image by Jorge Guillen from Pixabay

Chippy, our new GSGCF camp mascot, is back with more camp updates! Last week, we shared a list of improvements made to Camp Caloosa. This week, we’re highlighting what’s new at Camp Honi Hanta. Chippy also has a few general tips and reminders for all campers. Let’s get started!

A number of Girl Scout troops and individual girl members worked with adult volunteers on a wide variety of service and highest award projects, including:

  • Painting picnic tables in the screen houses 
  • Painting G.I.R.L.-themed benches
  • Painting the Equipment Depot exterior (Troop 267)
  • Painting the Eagles Nest Bathhouse exterior (Troop 408)
  • Painting the Weavers Nest Bathhouse exterior, deep cleaning and organizing the Manatee House kitchen cabinets, deep cleaning the carpeting, and trimming the front entrance (Troop 149)
  • Painting the Weavers Nest Bathhouse flooring (Troop 489)
  • Weeding fire circles and adding crushed shell to raise them
  • Designing and constructing an elevated fire pit with benches for large-group campfires (Mia Haynes)
  • Decorating the Manatee House leader bedroom and bathroom (Troop 361)
  • Installing a pollinator garden and eliminating some of the invasive Brazilian pepper trees (Troop 140)
  • Assembling and installing bat houses with informational flyers in the screen rooms (Troop 86)
  • Designing, assembling, and installing campfire wood sheds for three of the fire circles (Troop 607)
honi-hanta-troop-lanscape-project-at-manatee-house

Have you noticed how amazing the Manatee House exterior looks?

Adult volunteers also did a wonderful job with projects including:

  • Clearing paths for additional camp exploration and back roadways for emergency egress and first responder access
  • Scraping camp roadways and installing new shell for greater stability
  • Building a climbing wall mulch containment area to prepare for belay bench installation
  • Repairing nozzles in the Rain Forest and repainting the wood frame
  • Chopping wood left from Hurricane Irma for use in fire circles (stored at ranger garage)
  • Replacing stairs and ramps at Armadillo Alley Cabin #2 and painting the interior walls of all campsite bathhouses (thank you, Publix/United Way Suncoast volunteers!)
  • Installing two standard beds in Armadillo Alley Cabin #2 for campers with disabilities
  • Building and installing new archery stands
honi-hanta-united-way-armadillo-cabin-ramp-rebuild.jpg

Publix volunteers rebuilt the ramp at Armadillo Alley cabin #2 as part of the 2018 United Way Day of Caring.

In addition, our council staff has been hard at work to provide the following:

  • A coffee maker, new dishwashing bin, and new Coleman stove for each screen house, and a broom for each cabin
  • Organized storage with added shelving in the lodge kitchen
  • A “Rainy Day” room in the Lodge with board games
  • New keypad front-gate entry access for a higher degree of safety
  • Deadbolt locks in the majority of the bathhouses, to serve as true “lock-down” areas
  • New PFD vests at the boathouse (some in larger sizes) for kayaking and canoeing (thanks to a grant from the Norman and Phyllis Siskel Donor Advised Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County)
  • Additional kayaks and paddles so larger groups can kayak together
  • New lifeguard board, portable pool umbrellas, and chairs
  • Refurbished “Spider Web” low ropes course element
  • Lightweight plastic tables and chairs in the Roundhouse
  • New, low-maintenance, reinforced benches and tables, thanks to a generous grant from the Bradenton Kiwanis Foundation
  • New stairs and decks for the Weaver’s Nest cabins
honi-hanta-new-firewood-boxes.jpg

The new firewood stations are so handy!

A few camp reminders:

  • Please turn over all your ash buckets once you’ve cleaned your fire circle. We don’t want them to collect water, which helps breed mosquitos and rust out the buckets.
  • Check for all your belongings. There is a lost and found bin in each camp’s Lodge.
  • Don’t forget to leave a fresh 35 gallon+ trash bag in all the garbage cans in your campsite.
  • Each lodge has the following supplies available: wasp spray, D batteries for smoke detectors, and extra light bulbs.
  • Nobody should wear sandals or flip flops. ONLY closed-toe shoes are proper footwear for camp.

If you worked on a project not listed here, please let us know so we can give you a shout out next time! Don’t forget, there is a Honi Hanta Hero patch that the girls can earn for doing a service project at camp. There is always something to do to improve camp and leave it better than we found it.

Subscribe to the GSGCF blog and watch for quarterly camp updates. There will also be tips for troops to make their camp stays fun and safe, along with some potential service project ideas.