When I fill out my vacation request form for work each year in late November, I put down that I am going to Girl Scout Camp
. The next question I usually get is: “Why are you taking a week off for that
It is a great question that usually gets asked by more than just my co-workers.
My initial joke answer is usually that my wife is the camp director and I do not really have much of a choice. But the truth is that spending the week together with my entire family at Camp Winding River is more than just a vacation.
Ever since my daughter Anna’s first trip to camp as a Girl Scout Daisy, I knew this was going to be a spring board to her and her troop’s future as leaders.
Kyle and his daughter, Anna, at camp
In one of her first years at camp, there was a Program Aide with the camp name Superstar. Superstar led all of the girls in songs at the opening flag, did announcements and always seemed to be in the right spot at the right time when something needed to be done. Even as a young volunteer, Superstar showed tremendous leadership abilities with the younger girls at camp.
In 2007, my wife was shadowing the outgoing camp directors and I was shadowing the outgoing canoe program area leader, Moose. Moose had been leading the canoe program for some time, but was ready to move on since his daughter was going off to college. My background as an Eagle Scout and my excitement for canoeing made this role a perfect fit for me.
So in 2008, I became the leader at the canoe station for one of the area’s largest volunteer run day camps, which brings me back to the original question of why I do this.
Although camp is a week-long exercise outside in the elements, it’s not just about playing games and building campfires.
Camp is really about giving young adults the proper environment to become leaders, to set a great example and to take on responsibility for the stations that they lead.
I know most of the girls are in school extracurriculars or have jobs, but volunteering as a Program Aide at camp is a completely different type of responsibility. These young adults are helping mold the next group of girls that will be in their shoes a couple years down the road. They are setting the same strong example that Superstar set for my daughter years ago. It is a win-win situation for all of the girls involved.
From my perspective, anything that I can do to help promote girls and young women in leadership roles it is a worthwhile cause. If I can give my daughter, who goes by the camp name of Otter, just one more opportunity to be in the position to use her strengths to succeed, the better off all of the Girl Scouts will be.
— Kyle Bedalov (camp name K-Dog), canoe program area leader at Volunteer Led Day Camp