THE BUS: If you were a camper from Mill Valley, you would catch the bus at the Mill Valley bus stop. Your mom or dad would wait with you at the bus stop until the bus checker checks you on to the bus. Once you’re on the bus you have to sit down the whole time, but there are older girls called Camp Arequipa Aides who ride the bus too. They are very cool teenagers who teach songs and laugh and talk all the way to the camp. There are about 3-4 bus stops and at each stop lots of new girls get on the bus and the singing gets louder!
Purple people making faces
Camp Arequipa Aides
Finally you will reach Camp Arequipa. Your mom probably told you that you would be in the unit called the Purple Parrots. So when you get off the bus you see two ladies holding up a purple parrot on a stick and you walk over to them. They are both very nice and introduce themselves as “Totem” and “S’more,” your unit leaders – they sure have funny names!
OFF TO THE HAWKS NEST!
When the flag ceremony is over, the units all gather near the Shed (which is the center of camp, where all things are kept and where the directors can always be found) to collect their unit tubs and juice. We then set off for our unit which is a beautiful unit set up in the trees above the flagpole. It has a hawk’s nest in the trees above us so its name is – Hawks Nest! It has two picnic tables, a BBQ pit, a garbage can and water. You have to go up the steps to get to it. But it overlooks the pool and you can see the fire circle and almost everything in camp from up here. It is a wonderful unit. We spend some time getting to know everyone of the girls in our unit. We play some games and each girl ends up with a buddy for the day. Tomorrow we will play another game and have another new buddy. We all know someone in the unit, but it’s really nice to get to know other girls also.
SOME UNIT ACTIVITIES… and LUNCH… WORKSHOPS… and SWIMMING!
Our unit is going off to do archery this morning. Last year at camp I hit a bullseye! I want to get more than one this year. After archery, we ate lunch and talked about our cookout this week and planned what we wanted to make. We decided to make a Dutch oven dinner and a box oven dessert – and of course, homemade ice cream!
After lunch we go to a workshop and learn all about minimum impact camping and how to survive in the forest if we ever get lost. We learn to identify plants in the forest that we can eat if we don’t have food and how to find water that we can drink.
Next it’s time to go to leather workshop. We learn all the safety rules about leather and begin our special project for the week which is a leather pouch that we will first decorate with leather tools and pens, and then sew together.
It’s sooo fun to jump off the board!
Afterwards it’s time to swim. The first thing the lifeguard does is give us all a swim test to see how well we swim. Then she gives each of us a ribbon to wear on our bathing suit, which indicates our swim level. Our Unit Leaders help the lifeguard as pool watchers, but the Camp Arequipa Aides come and swim with us so it’s lots of fun. When we get out of the pool we go back to the unit and pack up everything into our unit tub. There is a clothesline in our unit and each girl has a plastic bag with her name on it, so we all put our purple nametags inside for the next day. We sit in a circle and talk about what we liked best about the day, and play another game so see how many of the girls’ name in our unit we each can remember.
Being just a little bit silly
Then it’s time to go down to the fire circle again for singing with the Camp Arequipa Aides. The CAA’s are really very funny and very happy. They sing lots of songs that are silly and they make a lot of funny faces too! After a while it’s time for flag again. My unit gets to do flag tomorrow so we have to practice during the day. We all go through the Bridge of Silence and the Color Guard takes down the flag. We sing Taps and the Director asks us if we all had fun on the first day of camp… we all yell “YES”!!! Then the color guard is dismissed, and, the Girl Scouts are dismissed, then we get loaded onto the buses. The Bus Rider is very careful to be sure that each girl getting on the bus is getting on the right bus. We wave goodbye to all the staff and head out of camp. We sing songs all the way home to Mill Valley. When we get back to the parking lot, there is mom waiting for me. I get off the bus and mom has already signed me out with the bus checker.
What a great day I had at camp. I can’t wait until tomorrow!