On a warm June morning at Camp Whippoorwill, 11 Girls Scouts enjoyed canoeing on the Magothy River, most for the very first time. Longtime water-certified volunteers Tammy Sturges, Lisa Cloud, and Gretchen Neill taught members of two Girl Scout Beyond Bars troops (7140 and 7856) the techniques of getting in a boat, paddling, and working together to steer. Tammy’s Cadette granddaughter, Morgan, also helped the girls learn the basics of canoeing. The girls seemed at ease on the water, happily rowing as they gained skill and confidence.
After the lesson, Tammy said: “They all seemed to really enjoy being out on the water. They each did a fantastic job of learning the basics. Please tell them how great they did and tell (their moms) how proud we were of how quickly the girls learned and were so excited and enthusiastic.”
In addition to learning watercraft skills, the girls spent the afternoon enthralled by Ranger Billy “Box Turtle” Heinbuch’s descriptions of how certain animals live in the wild. The girls gingerly touched Billy’s snakes and watched his owls and turtles with wide-eyed wonder. The camping weekend also included making a campfire, singing Girl Scout songs, and preparing such traditional treats as S’mores and Doracos (tacos in a bag).
Girl Scouts Beyond Bars helps girls deepen their relationships with their mothers incarcerated at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women. It also offers remarkable experiences to its participants. While camping, the girls were able to breathe fresh air and gain fresh experiences, that are part of the traditional and educational Girl Scout activities, valued by Girl Scouts everywhere.
Written by Valerie Montague