Kids Today!

30 Jun

Yesterday I received a phone call from my mother that brought with it some sad news. A piece of my past is about to disappear. The news brought tears to my eyes and has me questioning how kids today are being brought up.

I was a Girl Scout for nearly two decades of my life. It all started in first grade and I continued on until college when I became a troop leader. Girl Scouts played a huge role in growing up for me and I can say without a doubt that I am the woman I am today in no small part because of scouting. I met people. I went places. I had experiences that I would have never had had it not for Girl Scouts. One of the things Girl Scouts brought into my life is camping. I don’t come from the kind of family that would ever go on a camping trip. The thought of my father setting up a tent and building a fire is downright laughable. I’d say the same for my mother, but she was my leader for a large part of my scouting life and I know she could start a fire (if she had to).

I got my first taste of camping at Camp Tweedale in Oxford, PA. It was the first time I had ever been away from my family for more than a few hours. I remember doing a lot of crying (right along side the rest of the campers in my group), but I also remember having an amazing time and doing things I not only never thought I would do, but never thought I could do. Over the years, Camp Tweedale became a beloved second home. I not only went there for summer camp, but my troop did a camping weekend there every December (though not in tents). Even after I graduated from high school, I would still sneak away with my old troop for that fun filled weekend. The things I learned from my time at Camp Tweedale are the things that have gotten me through life: Leadership skills, team building, primitive camping, healthy habits, compassion, humility, the importance of friendship, honesty, accountability, and the list continues.

I can tweet from my iPhone while starting a campfire. Can the Girl Scouts of today do that? Spokesperson from the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania, Kim Fraites-Dow said, “The Girl Scouts of today are a far cry from the Girl Scouts of yesteryear and enjoy a wider variety of activities and digital technology.” I think she’s right, they are a far cry from the Girl Scouts of yesteryear. The article from The Daily Local News states that, “Girl Scouts who want to go to camp also want to travel less than an hour to get there. They also want bathrooms in each cabin, air-conditioned dining halls and cabins with electricity, heating and air conditioning.” I totally understand not wanting to travel more than an hour to get to camp, but that begs the question, what do the Girl Scouts of Chester County do now? As far as the rest of their wants, they make me sick! There is no air conditioning at camp! I’m afraid we’re making a generation if wimps, camping is about being outside with nature. Keeping cool in the pool or under the shade of a tree. Camping is about being unplugged from the world and enjoying the real social network around the campfire. Camp is hiking, and fishing, and canoeing, and learning about the world around you. Camp is not parking your butt in an air conditioned cabin for a week. It makes me sad that the youth of today put so little value on what camping really has to offer.

I fear that The Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania are making their decision for monetary reasons. The property that Camp Tweedale sits on is over a hundred acres of residential zoned property estimated at 1.4 million dollars. I can see Toll Brothers swooping in and developing it into a neighborhood of cookie cutter houses.

I’m sad. I’m angry. I want to do something to stop it, but short of chaining myself to a tree, I don’t know what I can do. I don’t have any daughters (yet), but I still feel that closing the gates at Camp Tweedale for good would do a major disservice to the Girl Scouts in this area. I feel like the powers that be are spitting in the face of over seventy years of ┬átradition and the memories of every girl who has ever set foot on the grounds. If things continue to go as planned, by this time next year, a major part of who I am today will be just a memory.


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