A YOUNG LEADER’S PERSPECTIVE: BEING A PROGRAM AIDE AT GIRL SCOUT CAMP By Sarah Helmueller Grade 10 Student
Overnight camp is not just for the young girls, it’s for the older girls also, especially for me. Counseling at camp can be even more enriching than participating as a camper. My job as a counselor is to help the girls have the best time they can have. I look after the girls, plan activities, teach songs and games, and basically help them have fun. It’s like being a babysitter, but you become more like the girls’ best friend. To become a Program Aide (PA), I had to go through a training session and develop basic skills I need to have as a leader. This includes setting a good example, having a plan, and knowing how to discipline and control. Being in my fourth year as a PA, I look forward to another year of long nights filled with flashlight wars, never-ending hours of shoelaces, and sunburns. Fun, right? Despite that all these are true, none of them really matter in the bigger scheme of things.
Girl Scout camp is the yearly event I anticipate most. As a Senior Girl Scout, badges are more of a side activity while service to the Girl Scout community is more significant. Surprisingly, I feel like I learn more from the girls than what they learn from me. I have learned so much about myself and gained confidence while giving back to the organization that gave me so much.
were gathered in a circle in the grass playing a game, giggling, and rolling around. The older Cadettes were already leading and I saw the smaller Brownies learning camp traditions that I learned at their age. It was really special to see. The most heartwarming part was the fact that I was part of this experience. I had helped these girls and was a part of their Girl Scout journey.
Camp isn’t just about the arts and crafts, or who gets top bunk, it’s about the friendships you form and the inspiration you gain. I’ve been able to create strong bonds with my friends through Girl Scout camp, but it’s also amazing to see the younger girls connect. At one point during camp this year, Julia (my fellow PA) and I were up in the cabin getting ready for the next activity, already exhausted, and it was only 10:00 a.m. The girls were downstairs; we figured they wouldn’t die for at least five minutes alone. When we looked out the window all the girls
One of the main reasons I continued with Girl Scouts was because I always wanted to be like the older counselors. They always seemed so refined and confident. Now I’m one of them, at age 16, and I love being able to reciprocate what was given to me. Camp is not just about the three-day weekend away from home, it lasts much longer, continuing as a uniting tradition. That’s the main idea of camp, it is an opportunity to grow as a Girl Scout through learning experiences, working with great leaders, and strengthening friendships.