Monday, February 11, 2013

The difference between Scout Camp & Girls Camp

There are two cultural markers within the LDS youth community: Girls Camp and it's more masculine counterpart, Scout Camp. Having spent 8 of the last 10 years at girls camp (and, having been up to my eyeballs in girls camp literature for the past several months... *wink, wink*), I excitedly attended my first ever week long scout camp this past summer.  

After a week of full on sun, dirt, and laughter immersion, I couldn't help but notice several differences in the camping styles and traditions of our young female and their male counterparts. In fact, it took less than 24 hours before the differences started to emerge.  

Upon arrival at our Troop's campsite, we were greeted by not one but two dead animal skulls. Now, I'm by no means dissing the decor, but never - and I mean NEVER! - have I seen a Girls Camp decorated with animal carnage. Which brings me to my first of  three key observations:

1. Camp Decor: 

Young women camps are infamous for their decorations. Themed decor is as rampant at a girls camp as it is at a crazy, colorful, perfectly themed birthday party! Aside from the smiling, skinless jawbone prominently hung for all to see, our scouts didn't invest a whole lot into decor. And, by not a lot, I mean NONE! Not so much as a tablecloth - coordinating or otherwise. Which brings me to my second observation:

2. Sanitation:
Not only would girls never consider sitting down for a meal on a scratchy, paint-peeling, dirty table without a clean tablecloth, they would be absolutely disgusted by the presence of a random pair of dirty socks or a discarded, wet shirt anywhere near their food. Scouts? Not so much. In fact, after failing to be a "fly on the wall" I not only offered up a tablecloth (which was politely declined), but more importantly, by the end of the second day, I'd removed nearly a full load of dirty laundry from the picnic table. Tidiness, however isn't the only sanitation difference. At girls camp we will polish off an entire bulk-sized pump of hand sanitizer and sometimes we'll even break into a second one. Aside from their fascination with it as a fire-starter, the scouts rarely touched the germ-killing wonder gel. Now, I'd like to believe that since they weren't using the sanitizer they were washing with soap and water, but honestly, that too may have been a stretch for some.

3. Entertainment
This is almost a no-brainer, I know, but girls are honestly harder to entertain than boys are! Give a group of boys a simple rope and hours - yes I said HOURS! -  of testosterone infused time passes without a bored soul in sight. Bloody noses, torn up hands, muscle and pride aches, sure. But not a skiff of boredom. Nuff said!

And the girls? Well they've got a little something I like to call "Camp Chic."

That's right, the infamous Girls Camp hair dos... and in some cases hair don'ts! Girls may never find hours of delight playing tug-of-war, but boys will definitely NEVER try to devise creative, striking, and sometimes downright strange creations out of each other's hair.

I think we could go on and on about the differences, sharing stories till we are all blue in the face, but I can tell you this: at the the end of each adventure-filled day, whether it's in the company of the young women or the scouts, when the fire casts shadows on their beautiful, dirty, smiling faces, their is no place on earth I'd rather be.  

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