By Barrett Seaman—
It was unseasonably chilly to be camping out in the woods but a lot more comfortable than it would have been the night before. Predicted thunderstorms and occasionally torrential rains drove the leaders of Irvington’s Girl Scouts to put off the planned June 2nd overnight campout near the O’Hara Nature Center and try again the following night.
It was worth the wait. All told, more than 100 scouts, ranging from Daisies (kindergartners and 1st graders) to Cadettes (6th to 8thgraders), participated, 54 of whom stayed the night in tents patiently constructed with the help of accompanying adults (24 of whom bravely spent the night themselves).
Irvington currently has 11 Girl Scout troops with approximately 130 girls and 28 leaders who enjoy the support of the village’s Recreation Department’s Recs & Parks Superintendent Joe Archino and CJ Reilly, the Nature Center’s Naturalist.
For the younger scouts, there were games, including an old-fashioned sack race and another competition that required them to bounce on rubber balls the length of a swimming pool and back.
Older scouts organized these competitions, built campfires and practiced the fine art of marshmallow roasting. All the girls got to make bandanas, decorated with their own artwork and useful in protecting their hair while building or cooking over a fire.
Katherine Lark whose daughter Elena earned a Silver Award for her role in organizing last year’s overnight, said that space limitations at the Nature Center precluded the younger scouts from staying the night. “The Daisies were welcome to attend the event for the day and stay for s’mores,” she explained, ”but not to stay overnight.”
Last year’s event was the first since the pandemic. This year’s almost doubled the number of participants. Soon, the class of Cadettes (currently eighth graders) will “bridge” (a scout term for moving up to the next level) to Seniors. “This is big for us,” said Katherine Lark. “We have not had an Irvington Girl Scout in high school since 2017.” To have girls continue in the scout system creates role models that in turn encourage the younger ones to join—and stay.Read or leave a comment on this story...