Thursday, May 21, 2009

Girl Scout Camp!

It’s almost time for camp … And from the ages of eight to twenty+, camp was the favorite part of my year. It was at sleep away camp that I could indulge in my active fantasy life. In my youngest years, at camp I was not the chunky, smart kid who was being raised by her aunt and uncle. At camp I was the smart, beautiful, athletic, artsy and somewhat wistful kid, and when her parents didn’t come on visiting day, it was easy to be busy in the craft shack, or otherwise occupied. Nobody asked.

As I got older, I made summer friends that lasted into college – Kathy Bray was even my roommate one year – and in adulthood. In high school I became a camp counselor, a job where they paid me to go swimming and ride horses! … And all the way through college, I went back as a volunteer counselor for two weeks at the end of each summer at the Sertoma Camp for Handicapped Kids, held at Camp Winnataska in Alabama.I was lucky. 

The camps I went to did not charge a lot of money, and a couple of summers I even went to very fancy camps where my aunt worked as the dietician, and I got a much reduced fee. When money was tight, my other aunts and uncles helped a little with the fees, made sure I had the niftiest white shorts and shirt for Sundays, and sent me an extra dollar each week for the canteen. I was lucky!

Every girl does not have the opportunity to go to camp. There are the real benefits of discovering the outdoors, seeing nature up close --including human nature, learning new skills, and connecting with friends. Girls can take action and earn badges and develop interests that will last them way past August. This is true for sleep away camp and for day camp.

The Girl Scouts of Nassau County camps are more affordable than many. A week at Camp Blue Bay cost $525 and a week at Day Camp cost $300 … However, not every family can afford to send their daughter to camp for even one week. With unemployment at a record high on Long Island, we know that some families are having to take camp off the table as an option for their daughters. Our requests for Financial Assistance are more than ever, and we don’t want to turn any girl away.

Your gift of a Girl Scout Campership can make a difference in the life of a girl. You can give a girl the chance to spread her wings, her imagination and her brain. Some girls need a respite from the slings and arrows of their home life, like I did. Most just want a chance to take a break, disconnect a little from their electronics, and have fun in a place that is safe, nurturing and so different from life in the real world.

To learn more about Girl Scouts of Nassau County Camps go to http://www.gsnc.org/camp or call Laura Bissett- Carr at 516 741-2550 ext 233 who will tell you all about camp – and why camp can benefit every girl!To donate toward a campership for a deserving girl, please go to http://www.gsnc.org/support/support.asp and click on Campership in the right column. Checks can be mailed to Girl Scouts of Nassau County, 110 Ring Road West, Garden City, NY 11530 or speak to Joyce Wagner, ext. 225.

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