Camping with Delta Academy
November 5th, 2010
This would be our biggest group of girls to date! We hosted 17 girls and 5 of their mentors for a primitive Overnight Campout at Lake Rogers Park in Odessa Florida. The girls, mostly between 7-10 years of age, are all part of a mentor program with Delta Academy. I was told that most had never camped before and I was going to have my hands full!
Ellie and I arrived at noon and started setting up camp. We needed tents for everyone, a full kitchen and portable toilet facilities. “Primitive Camping” pretty much means no running water or electric and that is a culture shock to many persons camping for the first time. We could have taken the girls to a state park where there were such amenities but location was a concern and this park fit the bill! Many of the parents needed a bit of coxing to leave there girls out there in the dark with us, but soon we overcame their fears and promised that they would all survive the night.
We had a hearty meal of Baked Ziti, Peach Cobbler and Smores! The blazing campfire took the chill out of the evening air and all the girls were soon giggling, singing and goofing around in the tents. It was near midnight when they all settled down and it was my job to keep the fire going through the night so they had a warm place to gather in the morning. Temperatures were dropping to the low 40’s and I knew the girls would need heat in the morning!
Morning came and boy was it cold. We had to take one of the girls up to meet her parents as she had to leave early (6am). Then the first thing was to get the water boiling for hot chocolate and get the charcoal going for the Dutch Oven cinnamon rolls. We started seeing their cold, smiling faces around 8 am and approximately 50 cups of hot cocoa and 40 mini boxes of cereal, oatmeal and grits later they had all begun to warm up. I taught the girls a “Leave No Trace” workshop, they played the name game with their counselors, Ellie from Willingham’s Taxidermy brought out animal furs and skull to educate the girls on local animals found in the area, they all got to make lanyards with wood disks, rubber stamps and markers and then we took our first hike. I pointed out various plants, animal tracks and signs, ecosystems, birds and more as we walked the nature trail.
Lunch included hamburgers, vegi-burgers, hotdogs, chips and cookies. Right after everyone had filled their tummies they were back out on the trail heading up to meet NAC friend Sheryl Kay to learn about Geo-Caching and to do some treasure hunting.
Sheryl gave them some history and information and soon they were headed through the woods looking for caches! They were very excited finding the first and all signed the log and the 2nd was even harder to find because it was a nano-cache! It was getting late in the day and parents were due to greet their weary campers in 30 minutes, so we all thanks Sheryl for her time and headed back to camp. Everyone packed up, swept out their tents, gave “Bo” the last hugs of the day and soon they were on their way home. I even got a couple hugs!
These girls were all just wonderful and I know with the leadership from the mentors at Delta Academy they will grow into strong, educated and productive young ladies. I hope the girls walked away with great memories of their first night in the forest and I am glad I was there to experience this night with them!
For more photos from this event visit: http://cid-d8481b2b188e8808.photos.live.com/browse.aspx/Delta%20Academy%20Campout%20Nov%202010
Interested in bringing your group out on an adventure? Check us out at http://www.notaclueadventures.com – you can also find us on facebook!