Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pioneer Camping with American Heritage Girls

Another year has begun with American Heritage Girls (AHG). This year I am no longer the coordinator of the group, rather I'm happily the Pioneer leader. This group of girls are 12-14 years old and is comprised of most of our Explorer group from last year. To start our year off we went on our first REAL camping trip. When I say real, I mean that we were not sleeping in dorms like we did at the AHG camporee in May, rather we pitched tents and did not get to take showers!

Our family has owned a tent for a couple years, when my husband and I thought we "might" want to tent camp some day (somewhere other than our backyard). Sissy and I loaded up the van and headed out to D-Bar-A Scout Camp, about 45 minutes from our home. It was a beautiful camp. This is a horse ranch and local Boy Scout camp. We had planned on doing a horse trail ride and boulder wall climbing - imagine our disappointment when we arrived and were told that neither activity was available to us. That is a whole different story that we won't get into. Either way, we encouraged the girls that we were bound to have a great time. Considering that the temperature at night was to get below 40 degrees, the 3 adults were trying to convince themselves of the same thing!

We arrived at camp around 6:30 with 5 twelve year olds and three adults. The setting sun was all the encouragement that we needed to get the tents set up. Sissy and her friend did an excellent job getting the "mom" tent up and ready for us while the other 3 girls worked on the "girls" tent.

It just so happened that my dear friend (who only has boys) is helping with AHG this year and was excited to join us on our camp out. In addition, her sons and husband were camping in the same camp with their Boy Scout troop. We had arranged that some of the boys would come over to our site and walk through the Fire Safety and Building badge with the girls. They were able to finish nearly all of the badge requirements!

The next day the girls delighted in gathering wood. How funny and how "girl" that they should decide to organize their wood into appropriate piles! Keep in mind not only are we talking "girls" but we are also talking about the fact that all of the girls are first born!

The next morning the girls cooked our breakfast on a grill. We had wanted them to do it over an open fire, but the fire pit was SO deep and wide that we didn't have a grate large enough to go over it! They made a yummy bacon, eggs and hashbrown casserole and then washed dishes. So...how many 12 year olds does it take to wash a few dishes anyway????

For Saturday we had a friend (and elder) from our church come out to the camp and talk to the girls about reading topographical maps. He made this amazing 3-d model for the girls so they could "see" it all play out. Really cool.

My husband also joined us on Saturday as he lead the girls through a hike. We discussed several requirements for the Hiking badge and enjoyed a LOVELY hike (about 1.6 miles).

While they were on the hike, the girls looked for hiking sticks. Our visitor from church brought his drill, some twine and beads and a knife so he could help the girls make hiking sticks! How cool!

After our hike the girls headed to the Riflery Range to shoot 4 rounds of 22's. (This means nothing to me, I'm just repeating what I heard the instructor tell the girls!)

My husband had to bring our younger girls with him. Peanut decided to stay back at camp with 2 adults, but Sweet Baby wanted to watch.

Finally a shot of Sissy helping get the campfire started (that is her behind the smoke, in the blue). I love this picture because even I have not successfully started a campfire! She did a great job and learned alot on this campout.

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