Girl Scouts support Leave No Child Inside movement
Council encourages girls to spend time outdoors at resident or day camps
Remember the days spent playing outdoors during the summer, only to come home when the porch lights came on and your mom or dad gave the whistle indicating it was time for dinner? Most likely today’s youth will have no such memories, since much of their spare time is spent indoors.
According to Allison Pastor, Vice President of Program and Camp Properties at the Girl Scout Council of Southeast Louisiana, there’s a growing movement across the U.S. among camping and outdoor professionals called “Leave No Child Inside,” to reconnect children and nature, and to battle "nature deficit disorder."
The local Girl Scout council, concerned about how lack of outdoor play negatively affects girls, is encouraging its members to make a commitment to this movement by sending Girl Scouts to resident and day camp.
“By sending a girl to camp, you’re ensuring that instead of being ‘logged on’ inside, girls will put a ‘log on’ the campfire, enjoying structured and unstructured play outside, all while making new friends and memories that will last a lifetime,” said Pastor, in a letter to Girl Scout families.
Pastor, a grown-up Girl Scout and former camp counselor who now oversees the Council’s resident and day camp programs, has always been a proponent of outdoor activities for girls, but it was facts presented at an American Camp Association conference last month that she found particularly chilling.
“I didn’t realize that the divide between children and the outdoors had gotten as large as it has,” remarked Pastor.
Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, writes about the staggering divide between children and the outdoors and the consequential disturbing trends: the rise of childhood obesity, attention disorders, and depression. The University of Michigan Health Systems reports that on an average children watch 120 hours of television a month, and over 12 and a half million young people (aged 2 -19) are obese.
According to Pastor, encouraging children to be active outdoors is not only important for their health but very important for their physical and social development. Evidence suggests that forests and urban green spaces help in an individual’s recovery from stress and attention fatigue.
"At camp, outdoor play is what we specialize at,” said Pastor. “Campers have the opportunity to hike, cook over an open fire, swim, boat, tube, and challenge themselves on our high ropes course. With all of that fun, there is also the benefit of de-stressing, gaining a sense of independence, and learning new skills.”
Pastor encourages parents/guardians of girls new to the resident camp experience to attend Girl Scout Camp Open House at Camp Whispering Pines in Independence on Sunday, April 20, from 1 to 3 p.m. Attending open house provides parents a great opportunity to ask any questions they might have about resident camp, tour the camp’s living units, meet some of the camp staff, and learn about the various camp session offerings.
Resident camp is open to girls including non-Girl Scouts, ages 6-17, from June 8 to July 18 with four-day sessions costing $165, six-day sessions $250, and an eight-day session costing $335. There are also Senior Aide sessions ($125) available for Senior Girl Scouts.
Camp Whispering Pines’ facilities offer many program options including: a stocked 23-acre lake for canoeing, fishing and rowboating; a junior Olympic pool; a ropes challenge course and rock climbing wall, many hiking trails; sports equipment; a creek and river. The camp is accredited by the American Camp Association which means it undergoes a thorough review process by outside camping professionals every three years, achieving the highest standard in the areas of personnel, program, site administration, and health care.
For directions to the camp or to receive a camp brochure, call the Girl Scout Council of Southeast Louisiana at (504) 733-8220 or 1-800-644-7571. Session information is also available on its website at www.girlscoutssela.org.
Day camps are currently being planned by Girl Scout volunteers across the Council’s 13-parish jurisdiction. If you would like to volunteer this summer, please contact the Girl Scout Council’s program department at (504) 733-8220 or (800) 644-7571.
Media contact: Marianne Addy, VP of Communications
(504) 733-8220, ext. 226 or email@example.com