The week of July 29th – August 2nd, 2019, 74 middle school Girl Scouts attended Summer Leadership Camp at Camp Mary Atkinson in Selma, NC. The girls all came from diverse and underserved backgrounds and represented 23 different counties across central and eastern NC. Sponsored by Bank of America, Sonitrol of the Triangle, and M&F Bank, the camp was provided free of charge to the girls and allowed them to develop leadership skills while stepping away from their daily lives to explore the outdoors.
Summer Leadership Camp is an annual program where girls participate in traditional camp as well as special sessions to help build their self-confidence, learn to maintain healthy relationships, define their value system, and explore giving back to their communities. This year, the campers discussed topics like first impressions and bullying and learned how to be better communicators based on their personality types. The girls were encouraged to plan for their futures and pursue their goals by meeting with strong female mentors and Gold Award Girl Scouts and they enjoyed a tour of Meredith College.
Each girl also explored her passion for making a difference and started to formulate a local community take action project. During a half-day workshop, volunteer female mentors from the community walked girls through their take action project, further defining action steps and engaging them in strategic thinking on how to make sustainable change.
“Leadership Camp was a great way to help create forever friends, fan those flames of imagination and give the girls the tools to be leaders, not followers,” said Leslie Young, camp parent and troop leader. “After camp, my daughter Jensyn is now less likely to be the one standing in the corner hoping to not be called on and more likely to be the one right up front and raising her hand.”
According to the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), women who had attended Girl Scout camp reported developing life skills and attributes at camp that continued to help them into adulthood, including an appreciation for diversity, the ability to persevere, and the willingness to try new things. Programs like Summer Leadership Camp instill positive values like these in Girl Scouts while providing them with the unique opportunity to learn about themselves and build confidence and leadership skills in a safe and supportive space. Whether it was learning to work on a team to paddle a canoe or identifying how they could take action against an issue that is important to them, there was something for every girl at Summer Leadership Camp and each made friends and memories to last for years to come.
Learn more about Girl Scouts and how to get involved in outdoor leadership building experiences like Summer Leadership Camp at nccoastalpines.org.