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These Camp Adventures Around Pennsylvania Will Make for a Fun-Filled Summer

A great camp experience can have an impact on you throughout your life. Heading out into the wilderness teaches a love of nature; camp crafts and activities instill independence and confidence; and spending time with a new group of people your age can build not only social skills, but critical early friendships. 

Those are values that can be particularly impactful for young women and girls, so to extend the fun all summer long, we looked at all the Girl Scout Camp activities that are happening around Eastern Pennsylvania (ranging from Camp Mosey Wood in the Poconos to Camp Shelly Ridge just outside Philadelphia), so that everyone from Delco to Bucks County can join in on the fun too.

Plus, to make things more convenient for people who don’t want to leave the city, the Girl Scouts are launching a new initiative to bring camp experiences to girls in Philadelphia. This summer, through their Camp Philly program, there will be four weeks of camp in four different neighborhoods of Philadelphia, making it easier than ever to get outside and experience a summer full of adventure. The Girl Scouts will also be making camp more accessible, thanks to their “camperships”: an effort to connect the financial resources necessary to attend with those who most need it (you don’t have to be an active member to join). 

So with so many options out there, here are the camp activities that could make your kids’ summer this year.

Game Time

Camp should always be a learning experience, but games are just as critical to development–and, truthfully, it’s those childhood memories of flashlight tag that many of us remember long after our ability to tie an obscure knot or make a fire with a flint rock is forgotten. 

Fun of all kinds is built into the schedule at the Girl Scout camps in the southeast. Every camp, for one, has a game called “gaga,” a dodgeball variant played in an octagon, popular with today’s kids. But there are also lots of organized programming around pure fun. 

Games Games Galore, for example, offers a week of classic camp activities like scavenger jokes and relay races, and also gives you the opportunity to create your own board game and design a new sport. Summer Spinners makes board games in particular a much more engaging experience–by having kids create a life-size board to play with their friends. Finally, if your kid is more into scoring than rolling dice, there’s Sporty Girl, where athletes can test their mettle with everything from basketball to volleyball to roller blading.

Exploring and Growing

There’s nothing that builds confidence in a kid like striking out on your own, and that’s what camp is great for. With Girl Scout camps, that’s actually quietly and consciously built into the experience itself, thanks to their “Girl Scout Leadership Experience” approach, with activities selected for the opportunity for girls to take the lead when striking out.

Exploring is also always fun in its own right. Journey into the Outdoors gives kids the classic outdoors experience with unique twists: learn to use a solar cooker, check out a beaver habitat, and more. Trekkers teaches kids new skills in not only navigating the wilderness, but leaving minimal environmental impact as they go along, while Kid Naturalist doubles down on communing with nature with lessons on tracking animals and picking up survival skills. 

Hungry for Adventure

From roasting to marshmallows to cooking over a fire you built yourself, learning how to eat in nature is a classic part of the camp experience. And while there’s a dining hall at every camp, all Girl Scout campers will get the chance to try their hand at cooking outdoors–with some even learning to prepare a full three course meal. (Just because they’re living in the wild, doesn’t mean they have to rough it.)

For burgeoning chefs, there are lots of programs that double down on chef-y artistry. Campfire Chefs covers all the fundamentals of becoming an expert cook, from mixing to measuring to baking–they even get their own chef’s hat and apron. For those campers who want to challenge themselves, try Sweet Treats for some creative delights, or International Ingredients to create dishes from all over the world. If they just love making and eating food for fun, they’ll have a blast with Snack Attack or Brownie Baker.

Bonding Together

The most important part of a camping experience is that everyone should be welcomed and included, regardless of their background. Girl Scout camps make that a priority, by making camp activities accessible for everyone from novice campers to woodland experts. Whatever your background, culture or identity, all campers are welcome, and the camps do not give any indication of who is receiving financial support. As a result, being at camp can feel like a family away from home–staff often even have fun nicknames for each other that they picked up from camp experiences, so don’t be surprised if you meet Camp Counselor “Chatter” or “Smilez”.

Team and community building is often a conscious activity at Girl Scout camp as well. Activities like the Feel Better Fairies teach kids to support fellow campers while learning the basics of First Aid. Programs like Dumbledore’s Army transport kids into a magical world, while also teaching them to connect over common ground between competing Hogwarts houses. And Social Justice Advocates teaches young women how to take that sense of community out into the world, with lessons on how government officials make decisions and using art to make sure your voice is heard.