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.

Girl Scouts Ensure a Happy Birthday for Local Foster Children

Birthday parties can be easily taken for granted. Most of us can count on family and friends to come together with gifts, balloons, decorations, and of course, a birthday cake complete with candles! But for children in the foster care system, a traditional birthday party isn’t always a given.

Thanks to the generosity of Girl Scouts in the Manatee 4 Service Unit, a number of local children will have everything they need to celebrate their next birthday. The girls collected and donated supplies to create “birthday kits” to be distributed to children in Manatee, DeSoto, and Sarasota Counties via the Safe Children Coalition.

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The birthday kits include such items as cake mix, frosting, and candles; baking pans; party hats, decorations, and favors; plates, cups, and plastic utensils; goody bags; party invitations; gift wrap; and gifts.

Girl Scout troop leader Karey Papin, who works as a Registered Nurse Case Manager for the Safe Children Coalition, said that there are currently about 1,450 children in foster care or living with a relative caregiver or in facility care. “We unfortunately had a severe spike in [the number of] children this year,” she explained.

birthday-kits-2

With so many children and families in need, the birthday kits couldn’t have come at a better time. When the project was completed, approximately 45 kits were ready to go. That’s a lot of celebrating!

“Every single person can impact the joy of children going through this experience,” Papin added. “We need and welcome more outreach projects on every level to support these families and children.” If your troop would like to learn more about the many ways they can help, contact the Safe Children Coalition at 866-661-5656.

~Lori Tomlinson is the Manager of Communications and Marketing for Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.

Sydney of Venice Goes Gold

Gold Award Project: Books and Bears for Literacy 

See the Video Interview here: http://youtu.be/47Aj-PTZcJ8

Sydney Ring (1)Sydney is a Junior at Suncoast Polytechnical High School. She has been in Girl Scouts since she was five years old. Her project focuses on encouraging preschool aged children to love books at an early age in order to improve literacy. Her original goal was to collect 500 books for children but then she included 500 bears so each child could have a “reading buddy.” In the end she collected 1,000 new bears and 1,400 new books to distribute to area preschool children.

Sydney said, “Literacy is a world need, but the awareness begins in each of our own communities.  Getting businesses, family members, and each of us personally committed to making literacy a goal for young children will allow us to ensure that we all do our part to promote the love for reading and future success of each child.”

IMG_4949 (2)“Girl Scout Gold Award recipient Sydney’s “Take Action” project will make a measurable and sustainable difference in our community.  Her positive attitude, teamwork, and commitment to service defines Sydney as an inspiring leader and role model,” states Sue Stewart, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Inc.

The Girl Scout Gold Award is so prestigious that some universities and colleges offer scholarships unique to Gold Award recipients, and girls who enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces may receive advanced rank in recognition of their achievements.Congratulations Sydney!

Learn more about the Girl Scout Gold Award: http://www.gsgcf.org/girls/gold-award

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