Hiking plays a natural part in the activities planned at any girls’ camp. It provides exercise, opportunities for nature observation, time for relationships to develop and a chance to experience the beauty of the outdoors. While simply hitting the trail makes a perfectly acceptable camp activity, sometimes adding a twist to an old favorite can renew the experience. These easy activities will jazz up any hike and challenge girls to see the beauty around them through new eyes.
Keeping nature journals gives girls an opportunity to take a moment and reflect on the surrounding environment. They make observations and record them in a journal, detailing what they’ve seen, heard, felt, smelled and possibly tasted.
Nature journals provide girls a medium to record their experiences while developing artistic and writing skills. A nature journal can be a one-time event or an ongoing camp project, resulting in a personal memento to take home. The time spent on a hike to work on the journal will provide less athletic girls a chance to catch their breath without drawing undue attention to them. All the girls can use the journaling techniques they learn even after camp ends.
A scavenger hunt using native flora and fauna as the items to be found creates an exciting way to educate girls about the wildlife around them. You can use a specific hiking trail, or scatter the scavenger items throughout the campground and encourage girls to hike during their free time. Use scavenger hunts either to encourage individual or team competition, or as a mixer activity encouraging all the girls to work together to complete the hunt.
The entries in a fairy journal assume that fairies may be real while recording natural observations. Fairy journals allow girls an opportunity to be creative while using similar techniques to those for nature journals. Younger girls and those who enjoy fairies will quickly get involved in the pretend aspects of keeping fairy journals.
Challenge older girls or those who consider fairies foolish to view this as a problem-solving activity. Considering what challenges you would face if your total height were only 3 inches actually provides a valuable mental exercise. Even adults find it challenging to see the world from someone else’s point of view.
Edible Plants Hike
The plausibility of this hike will depend on the camp’s resources. The instructor leading this hike must have training and experience in identifying edible plants. The season will also affect the appropriateness of this hike.
An edible plants hike gives girls another opportunity to learn about native flora and fauna. The ability to safely identify edible foods in the wild provides a sense of independence. During the hike, teach the girls which plants in the area are edible. Have the girls gather samples of the plants and bring them back to camp. Use the gathered plants to prepare a salad or other dish.
Orienteering Treasure Hunt
A treasure hunt makes an exciting way to practice the skills learned in orienteering class. Orienteering simply means the ability to use a map and compass to travel unfamiliar terrain. Using their map and compass, the girls must use orienteering skills to travel a trail and reach a hidden treasure. An orienteering course can be as short as a quarter of a mile, or 5 miles or longer for girls with experience.
You can start a treasure hunt from one point with teams following the same trail in timed intervals. Or teams with different sets of directions can start from one point and end at different places. As a third option, start the teams from a variety of different points and have them follow directions to the same destination. Regardless of how you set up the treasure hunt, each group of girls working together will need a compass and either a map or a set of directions to follow. The treasure may be anything from a simple “No KP duty” pass to a package of candy bars.