What’s New at Camp? (Fall 2019, part 1)

By Madeline Jackson, GSGCF Property Manager

Image by Jorge Guillen from Pixabay
Chippy has some exciting updates to share!

Chippy, our new GSGCF camp mascot, has been all a chatter wanting to inform everyone about what’s been happening at our camps over the last few years, so she is going to give you quarterly updates to make sure you are in the know. These updates will include projects completed by council staff and volunteers, Girl Scout troops performing service projects, and Girl Scout members working on highest award projects. There will also be tips for troops to make their camp stays fun and safe, along with some potential service project ideas. Let’s start with a review of highlights from Camp Caloosa.

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

  • Painting screen house picnic tables and fire circle stones
  • Building stable benches for fire circles at Pelican Perch and Flamingo Flats (Troops 133 & 153)
  • Assembling and placing new outdoor picnic tables and benches throughout the camp, thanks to a generous grant from the Claiborne and Ned Foulds Foundation (Troop 664)
  • Installing a solar light for the flag pole (Troop 495)
  • Deep cleaning and disinfecting the refrigerators
  • Cleaning and organizing the Equipment Depot (Troops 657, 658, & 659)
The Equipment Depot is looking awesome!
The Equipment Depot is looking awesome!
  • Painting the upstairs sleeping quarters in the Chalet (Troop 405)
  • Researching, creating, and installing informational posters about local plant and animal life in the unit screen houses (Troop 374)
  • Installing a sign at the Equipment Depot and creating a portable outdoor activity kit (Troop 427)
  • Installing owl boxes with informative literature (Troop 756)
  • Installing back trail signage with educational boards (Troop 354)
  • Clearing back paths for additional camp exploration
Our new outdoor furniture is low-maintence and will save on repair time and expenses for years to come.
Our new outdoor furniture is low-maintence and will save on repair time and expenses for years to come.

Volunteer Jason Hodson did an amazing job with projects including:

  • Scraping camp roadways and installing new shell for more stability
  • Widening the camp entrance to provide better traffic flow for large events
  • Elevating fire circles with shell to prevent flooding after minor rains
  • Installing a keypad gate entry to replace the combination lock and chain to provide greater security
  • Assembling a pergola outside the lodge for outdoor movies, skits, and other performances

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

  • Dishwashing bins for the screen houses
  • New PFD vests at the boathouse (including larger sizes) for kayaking and canoeing
  • Additional kayaks and kayak paddles
  • Additional archery supplies to update aged equipment (supported by a grant from The Daniel R. and Anne M. Harper Foundation)
  • A new refrigerator at the Timberford House and new carpet for the sleeping quarters in the Chalet (with grant funding from Claiborne and Ned Foulds Foundation)
The new solar lighting provides proper illumination for Old Glory.
The new solar lighting provides proper illumination for Old Glory.

If you worked on a project not listed here, please let us know so we can give you a shout out next time! And don’t forget, there is a Caloosa Champion patch that girls can earn for doing a service project at camp. We need help with painting and signage projects, trimming trails, etc. There is always something to do to improve camp and leave it better than we found it!

Ask a Girl Scout: Mandi K.

by Cathy Brown, guest blogger

Mandi K. is one of the GSGCF Shop’s newest Junior Sales Specialists (JSS). While she lives in Lee County, she has become an integral part of our traveling shop team and participates in many shop functions held at council headquarters. During our traveling shop this past November, I was able to spend time with Mandi and ask her about her experiences as a Girl Scout.

I was impressed by her responses and her sense of humor. She was very shy at the beginning of her JSS training, but by the end, she was right in the thick of things. When I asked why she liked being a Girl Scout, she responded, “I like being a Girl Scout because there are a lot of opportunities for girls, like me, to be heard and find a place to be welcomed for who I am.”

When asked how Girl Scouting has impacted her life she was quick to reply: “I have always been really shy around people. I think it is because I like to hang back and watch instead of being right in the middle of things… until I’m comfortable. But, in Girl Scouts, the girls and leaders will actually wait for me to BE comfortable.”

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Mandi with her Girl Scout sisters, Troop 673.

“That doesn’t happen in other groups or activities I’ve been involved in,” she continued. “A lot of times people expect me to feel or be a certain way. But Girl Scouts has actually let me be me. That makes it easier to open up and try new things on my own. Girl Scouts has given me that.”

Hands down, Mandi’s favorite thing she has done as a Girl Scout is lead as a Counselor in Training (CIT) during the Cadette Leadership Weekend. “I wanted to be a CIT since meeting Ms. Gina [Sauer]. It felt great, going through the program to learn how and then actually doing it! I was a little afraid that the girls in my group wouldn’t listen, but they were great!”

Some of Mandi’s many accolades are in part the result of her involvement in a variety of extracurricular, community, faith-based, and Girl Scout activities.  She feels “really lucky to be involved with different groups and learn different things.” “I am active in my church and youth group, school, animals, and community causes as well as being in Girl Scouts,” Mandi said.

“In 4th grade, I became a full-time home school student. This has given me so many opportunities! I was accepted into Disney/Pixar’s program for arts and development. I have [increased my] global awareness through a group called Girl Rising, furthering education for girls around the world. I have also been able to take classes from several universities around the country through edX.”

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Mandi with her proud mom, Tracylee.

“I created and have run my own not-for-profit charity #MandisBackpack that provides different items (based on time of the year) to those in need throughout the country…for right around four years now.” This includes back-to-school items in the late summer/early fall, pantry donations to food banks in late fall/early winter, toys during the holidays as well as care packages to our service men and women serving our country overseas, and shoes in the spring. The program operates on a voluntary basis with donations from the community.

“I also branched out to add #MandisBookbag to donate books to children that are in the hospital that could use a ‘staycation’ through reading a book,” said Mandi. “Taking both #MandisBackpack and #MandisBookbag to social media has made it possible for those across the country to get involved! You can find my CEO page on Facebook and Twitter.”

But Mandi hasn’t stopped there. “I have also been able to give back to my community by joining the Junior League to donate my time. I make ‘bags of hope’ to give to our homeless population. They contain anything from a toothbrush/toothpaste to a voucher for a free meal. I remain involved with our local animal shelters as well. I want to be a large cat vet in South Africa. I’m always looking for activities that get me closer to animals. I have been invited to submit my application to become a MobSTIR for the Ian Somerhalder Foundation and am biting my nails to see if I’ll be accepted. If so, Africa may not be too far off!”

Mandi has earned a number of formal Girl Scout recognitions. “Over the course of my Girl Scout years, I’ve completed both my Bronze and Silver Award; earned [my] PA pin, CIT II pin, Cadette Safety Cross, Cadette service bars, Silver Torch Award, and Summit Award; [and received] numerous accolades for cookie sales and magazine/fall fundraisers.”

Mandi firmly believes Girl Scouts prepares girl leaders. “I belong to a handful of groups that encourage girls to be leaders. But, Girl Scouts gives girls tools to help make them successful and become leaders. I also think Girl Scouts encourages girls to break through stereotypes.”

mandi-snorkel

Mandi knows that Girl Scouts is about more than just cookies and camping.

Mandi would definitely recommend Girl Scouts to other girls. “It is harder when girls are older. But, I’m the first one to say ‘So, yeah, I sell cookies. And I go camping. But I also learn how to kayak, paddle board, zip line, rock climb, do marathons, prepare business Powerpoint presentations, and a ton of other stuff.’”

Mandi has accomplished so much, and she is quick to remind me that she is only thirteen. I am amazed!  Mandi is “so looking forward to the future,” and based on all she has accomplished, truly the sky is the limit for her.

~Cathy Brown is the Shop Manager for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.