One of our favorite things about the summer is our Volunteer-led Day Camps! Full of Girl Scout traditions and summer camp fun, each of the day camp weeks create memories and friendships that last far beyond the summer.
Our day camps are planned and led by a group of amazing Girl Scout volunteers each summer, and girls across Middle Tennessee love coming together to enjoy all of their hard work! We’re gearing up for another summer of day camp fun, so what better time to hear from some of our volunteers that are behind the magic? We spoke with our Day Camp Coordinator, Meredith Hines, as well as volunteers, Amarie Hundley and Kathy Wantland, to help you learn all about our volunteer-led day camps. Read on below to hear about their experiences with this summer program!
First, let’s get to know you guys! How long have you been involved with Girl Scouts and our volunteer-led day camps?
Kathy: I’ve been involved with Girl Scouts for 41 years and day camps for the last 38 years. I first got involved in 1983 as a Unit Leader with Camp Lincoya and now still work with Lincoya Day Camp.
Amarie: I’ve been involved with GSMIDTN since 1992 and first got involved with day camps in 1994. Now, I work with Maury County Service Unit 183!
You’ve both been involved for a long time! What are the most rewarding aspects of volunteering with day camps?
Kathy: Knowing that the girls are getting a fun experience while enjoying the outdoors!
Amarie: I love the camaraderie with the volunteers and leaders, as well as seeing our plans come to fruition as the girls learn and have fun!
What does a typical day of day camp look like?
Kathy: We always open at the flag pole. Then, participants go to their unit site. The day is filled with crafts, outdoor skills training, songs, games, and programming that fits the theme for the camp! At the end of the day, we finish back at the flag pole.
Amarie: Organized chaos!
Meredith: Honestly, every camp is different and chooses to run in its own unique way. But in general, most camps start out with raising the flag and saying the Girl Scout Promise and Law. Girls work in small units on outdoor living skills, learning new songs, completing themed crafts, as well as making themed snacks and meals. They also participate in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) related projects. Most camps cycle through stations throughout the day, so each unit gets time to participate in all the offerings. In downtimes, they sing songs, play field games, and enjoy the company of their fellow Girl Scouts.
What is your favorite day camp memory?
Kathy: A funny memory… we used to hold day camp at Camp Lincoya, and we didn’t have water inside the building, just a water faucet outside. I saw a bottle of dish detergent sitting there, so I stopped to see what they were doing. Looking over them, I saw there was a bowl of chicken with bubbles on it. Asking what they were doing, they told me that their unit leader had sent them down to wash them chicken and had come into the building to get the detergent to clean it!
Amarie: I’ve had so many great memories! One week, the girls learned the Hannah Montana Hoedown Throwdown in the parking lot, and our first year, we had a huge downhill waterslide!
What would your advice to first-time day camp volunteers be?
Kathy: Be flexible! Plans may not always follow the agenda, but if the girls are having fun, that’s all that matters.
Amarie: Plan, plan, be flexible… And then just go with whatever happens!
Meredith: HAVE FUN! The joy of our volunteers radiates to the children. Find something you enjoy and are good at and offer up your specialty to the camp director. Also, be yourself with the girls! Volunteering is often hard work but is beyond rewarding, so HAVE FUN doing it!
What qualifications are needed to become a day camp volunteer?
Meredith: Day Camp volunteers should meet the following criteria:
- Current Girl Scout membership or willing to become a Girl Scout member
- Complete the volunteer application and pass a background check
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Attend all day camp staff trainings
- Be willing to work the days and times agreed on
- And of course, love working with children!
How can volunteers sign up or get involved?
Meredith: We’re always looking for more volunteers! You can get involved by doing the following:
- Contacting your local Regional Executive
- Contacting your Service Unit Manager or Troop Leader
- OR contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org