OGDENSBURG — A dozen Girl Scouts of varying ages from across the north country participated in the fourth annual Day Camp, held at the former St. Marguerite D’Youville Academy, Ogdensburg.
Day Camp ran from Aug. 13-15 and Girl Scouts were able to explore space, create some amazing crafts, participated in outdoor games, challenges and more. Day Camp Director Ashley Durham said that this was the fourth year of Day Camp which did not occur in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This would have been year five. However, we weren’t able to have camp last year due to the pandemic. Day Camp is a way for girls who aren’t necessarily ready to go to one of our residential camps for a week or so at a time to still get a camp-like experience,” said Durham, “Day camp provides the girls with the opportunity to not only have a camp experience and earn badges but they get to meet other girls that they may not have otherwise since our area is so large.”
Durham explained that planning usually takes between 5-6 months, but they decided to move forward with and they only had about three weeks to plan.
“It was a little stressful at first,” admitted Durham, adding that “we also had to be sure to implement all of the COVID guidelines to ensure that all of the girls volunteers were safe at camp. Even with the added time restraints and guidelines to follow we were beyond excited and happy to be able to have Day Camp again this summer.”
Although a smaller group, this year’s Day Camp participants, ranging from kindergarten to 9th-grade, were able to interact and build relationships with each other, according to Durham.
“We had a very small group this year, 12 girls. Our largest group was 53. Day Camp is for any girl in the county, or in scouting. This year, we had girls and a leader coming all the way from the Syracuse area. It’s one of the amazing things about Day Camp and scouting, the girls are able to interact and build relationships with others who share similar interests but come from all over, expanding view of the world,” said the camp director.
This year’s Day Camp was space-themed and focused a lot on STEM and space badges as well as other badges such as comic artist, model car design and game design badges “to make sure there was something for each girl’s interest.”
The more involved space activity was the “break-out rooms,” according to Durham, which was when the girls were given a series of clues, based on their level, to solve. Each puzzle or clue solved unlocked a box which provided another until they reached the end for the final prize which was miniature Mars rovers that they got to assemble, play with and then take home.
Girl Scouts were also able to launch bottle rockets made from 2-liter soda bottles, worked on their painting badges, completed model car where they designed and built prototypes of cars/rovers of their own design out of recycled materials.
“Our Junior level girls also completed their jeweler badges, where they made some beautiful wire wrapped jewelry and earrings, the flowers badges, and product design. Cadettes and Seniors completed their comic artist and collage artist badges, as well as their Field Day and Game Visionary badges,” said Durham.
Cadettes and Seniors also completed their CPR training with Richard DeRouchie from the Lisbon Volunteer Fire Department training the girls.
Durham said that being able to use the former SMDA school allowed the Day Camp to provide adequately socially distance activities for the Girl Scouts.
“We are very beyond grateful to the Diocese of Ogdensburg for the use of the building, especially with such short notice,” she said.
Durham said that the Day Camp is run entirely by volunteers with some taking time off from work to be there or driving long distances to make the trip.
“Everyone is always thanking me for hosting Day Camp but I could not do it without the help of the volunteers. I am truly and deeply grateful for each and every one of them,” stated Durham.
She thanked Julie Bush, their Service Unit Manager, who purchases the fun patches every year for Day Camp; Amy Nugent who is the camp’s nurse; Kevin Nugent who is her “go to outdoor guy”; and Michael Durham, who “legit builds all my crazy ideas for the camp which has been everything from ‘Giant Kerplunk’ to the walkers, to earthquake tables.”
“Without all the support Day Camp couldn’t happen. I am beyond blessed and so very grateful to everyone that has helped make Day Camp happen,” she said.