Every year I get super excited when I register and count down the days till I am back at camp. Being part of Girl Scouts since I was a Daisy has taught me to be independent and more grown up, so I have learned to pack my own bag. I have to fit everything into one big duffle bag: pack two weeks of clothes, a sleeping bag, sheets, beach and bath towels, toiletries, flashlights, stationary with pre-stamped envelopes and books. No food though—food is not allowed at camp because all of the wildlife around camp.
Being at camp has also taught me how to have manners especially at the table and during cookout kapers (meal prep chores). Camp Blue Bay (CBB) has taught me so much every summer that I want to continue to grow and give back: this summer I’ll be a counselor in training (CIT).
Camp is on Gardiner’s Bay in East Hampton, so every day we go swimming. Every other day we go sailing, and it is always beautiful out on the bay. On the other side of camp is the Creek. The Creek is where you can go row boating, canoeing, kayaking or paddleboarding. CBB is all girls, secluded, peaceful and filled with fun.
At camp my favorite rule is no electronics. All of our interactions are face-to-face; you get to know people, listen to them and learn to read their body language.
Every year I meet so many different girls and make new friends. From the moment of waiting for the camp buses, I am so excited to reunite with old friends and make new friends. I have made many friends at camp but I have made one that is my best friend. She lives in Brooklyn and I live in Oceanside; if it was not for camp and being a Girl Scout I probably would never have met her.
The counselors, many who would have never met either, are from overseas. They are part of a program called Camp America which sends young overseas leaders to America to experience camp counseling. I have had counselors from England, Scotland, Australia, Wales and America. The counselors from overseas have accents and odd expressions that are fun to learn.
They say suncream (sunscreen), sunnies (sunglasses), bathing costume (bathing suit), wellies (rainboots) and much more. They are all extremely nice and caring. Meeting them has opened my eyes to see that even though we may not live in the same country, we’re all just people living life.
Every day we go to the dining hall for meals, but on some days we have a cookout—one of my favorite meal times because we get to stay with our group of girls and make our own food. We learn how to prepare food, make a fire, and watch it for safety and keep it going. We complete our kapers chart—assigned chores: bathroom cleaning, picking up trash in the unit, and cleaning up the meal.
At cookout we do fun activities like arts and crafts, baking, games and sports.
When I first went to camp I was a little scared and nervous, but when I got there I realized it was made for girls just to have fun. I enjoy my summers without distractions, always come home happier, more confident in myself, and just a bit tanner. I have learned to trust in myself, be independent, and enjoy receiving letters from family and friends.
I truly believe that Girl Scout camp is awesome and I think that if you’re a Girl Scout or want to be an independent young lady have your parent sign you up. Come enjoy camp with me; maybe I’ll even be your CIT.
—By Jillian Kostal