February 29, 2012


I didn’t know I was a geek, but according to the Urban Dictionary a geek is “an outwardly normal person who has taken the time to learn technical skills.” It’s kind of a boring definition and unfortunately not the only one, but when I think about my newly discovered love for everything science I realize that I am a self-proclaimed science geek!

February 22, 2012

Do MORE for your Cookie Sale!

Cookies are almost here! What are some of the ways you are preparing to sell MORE cookies? How can you motivate customers to donate Gift of Caring cookies to the charities you care so deeply about? What are some of the ways you plan on contacting customers?  

February 19, 2012

Snapshots in Nature

By Sarah Kafer, Outdoor Program Manager

After a long day at work or a busy weekend with friends and family, I sometimes find it hard to get off the couch and out for a trek into nature. But whether it’s snowing, raining, or the sun is shining brightly, it always ends up being worth the effort. Each season brings with it new sights, smells, and things to explore. I tend to notice the small details in nature like a uniquely colored leaf, crazy-looking bug, odd-shaped mushroom, or track left behind in the mud. One of my favorite things to do is take photos of the interesting things I find. My camera is nothing special – a Canon digital point-and-shoot with a 3x zoom, 7.0 megapixels, and sand inside the display from a trip to Florida a few years ago. I always take it with me when I visit our Girl Scout camps, just in case I see something cool. My friends think I’m silly, taking photos of bark, bees, flowers, and fungus. What do you think?

This curious, young doe watched me carefully one winter day through the picture windows in the lobby of the Elam Environmental Center before walking off into the woods.

February 15, 2012

Welcome, New Safe Sitter Graduates!

“Why are you crying? Just stop crying!” I think to myself. “Thirty minutes ‘til bed, Johnny,” I yell. “You can’t tell me what to do!” he yells back. Gosh, can’t he just listen! “Oh my gosh, he’s choking. What do I do?”

Safe Sitter taught me how to handle a choking child, a child with attitude, even how to get safe babysitting jobs. This course provided me with a folder to guide me, and even supplies. I think this course really helped me learn all the necessary needs for handling kids of all ages!
-   Written by Sage, age 12

I had the honor of spending the day with thirteen wonderful young women as they completed our Safe Sitter® babysitting course at the Zanesville Service Center.

February 12, 2012

Winter Camping

Every season has its beauty, and winter is no exception. Many troops choose not to camp during winter because of the possibility of icy roads, getting snowed in, and otherwise dangerous travel. While all those are possible, if you can come, you may be rewarded with a unique and fun experience.

People are often concerned about what to do if they can’t go outside. After all, winter is a time of shorter days and sometimes frigid cold. However, there are many activities that you can still do in the winter all while enjoying a much quieter season of the year. 

February 7, 2012

Camp Wakatomika: It’s My Story

Let me introduce myself, I am a camp, Camp Wakatomika to be exact.  This story is for the girls and adults who have travelled through my gates, hiked my rolling hills, cooked around crackling campfires, and dreamed under a sky full of stars.  It is also for those of you who have never wandered my trails.  Maybe after learning a bit about me, you will want to visit someday soon.

In the beginning, I was nothing like I am today.  Years of farming had eroded my hills and young woods grew on the tired farmland.  But a group of women from the Newark Area Girl Scout Council had a dream.  They wanted a camp that would become a special place for girls.  They formed a committee and on May 13, 1942, they purchased my 262 acres. 

That was a lucky day for me.  The committee was led by a lady named Ruth Shollenbarger and over the next ten years all kinds of wonderful changes were made.  The old farmhouse at the bottom of the hill was winterized and turned into the lodge.  In the summers, girls would sleep on straw mattresses in the old barn, nicknamed Wagon Wheel.  Soon three tent units were built and the first summer camp program was off and running.  Mrs. Shollenbarger (whose nickname was Sholly) became the first camp director.

Through the hard work of Girl Scouts of all ages, thousands of pine, locust, and tulip trees were planted.  My worn out farmland was on its way to becoming a beautiful forest.  Before you knew it, trails were crisscrossing my hills and laughter echoed as girls made their way to the creek by the old red covered bridge.  I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I was every time I heard a new group of girls driving down the road. 

By 1952, I had started to outgrow the farmhouse.  So many girls were coming to visit me that we needed more room.  So the girls were moved to the top of the hill, and with them came the brand new Sholly-O lodge (I bet you can guess how it got its name).  Dogwood became the first tent unit on top of the hill.  Before long, I had two more tent units, Tall Timbers and Briar Glen, and then everybody’s favorite, the pool!  The office and trading post were built as well.  My summers were full of games, cookouts, songs, and laughter.  More and more girls came to visit and became life-long friends.
Just like you, I continued to grow and change as the years passed.  Letz Lodge was added and became a favorite troop camp spot.  Big wooden bunk beds provide lots of space for girls to giggle away the nights.  The summer camp season got longer, weekend groups were bigger, and I loved it!  In 1992, some of my tents were removed and Dogwood Lodge, with the shady porch and beautiful stone fireplace, was built.  The six cabins that were built along with it meant that now even more people could visit me in the winter!  All those trees that were planted in the early years now look like a holiday card with the snow. 

With all of the girls visiting me over the years, some parts began to wear out.  It was exciting when I started getting a facelift.  By 2005, I had a sparkling new pool that was even bigger than the old one.  It came with a new shower house and then Aspen Grove replaced the old office and trading post.  The four cabins are used by the camp director and other staff in the summer, but troops can use them to visit me the rest of the year

Now that my life as a camp is 70 years young, it is nice to remember all the people who have helped me to grow.  I started out as part of Newark Area Girl Scouts, then in 1956, I became part of Heart of Ohio Girl Scout Council and went from serving girls in one county to nine counties.  As most of you know, in 2009 Girl Scouts had this big realignment process.  Now I am a part of Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland.  This is just fine with me because I have over 30,000 girls who can now call me their camp.  Girls still fill my hills with laughter and songs, but there are so many of you that I have not yet had a chance to meet.  I would love it if you would find a time to come and visit.  My trails and campfires are just waiting for you.

I would love to hear your stories about visiting my rolling hills.   If you have a special story to share, please post it as a comment or send it to my current camp director at kgoodin@gsoh.org.

February 2, 2012

What Girls Want

Remember that camp survey we asked you to fill out in the fall?? Well, here are the results. Do you agree with what we heard?