This past weekend, my mom and I loaded up our camping equipment and took nine Brownies camping for the first time! It was… eventful, to say the least!
One of the perks of living in Orlando is that we can camp in places like Disney’s Fort Wilderness on a random weekend, so we took full advantage and did just that! I’ve done camping here before with Cub Scouts, which was really helpful because I knew how to pack and prepare.
Mom, Gracie, and I got to the campsite about two hours early to set up the tents and camping equipment. I was super impressed with us because we had both tents popped up in under half an hour. We spent the rest of the two hours walking around the campgrounds, double checking how far away some of the activities were.
The girls were dropped off at 3:00pm and by 4:00, we were off and running on our first adventure! We took the Disney ferry boat from Fort Wilderness over to the Contemporary resort. We could have driven, but why drive when you can take a boat ride?! The girls loved it!
From the Contemporary Resort, we took the monorail over to the Grand Floridian Resort, which was our actual destination.
At the Grand Floridian, we completed a badge requirement by having a scavenger hunt. I read about the mosaics on the floor of the GF on Pinterest and thought they would make a great scavenger hunt. There are mosaics all over the hotel floors that display different Disney movies and characters. The girls each got a little scavenger hunt paper and Mom and I broke them into two teams. We spent about 20 minutes scouring the hotel floors, looking for mosaic scenes! It was a lot of fun – for me, too! Here is my scavenger hunt list, if you find yourselves at the GF anytime soon!
(These aren’t all of the scenes, just the few that I snapped pictures of while we were on the hunt!)
After we finished our scavenger hunt, we headed outside to the lawn. I knew from previous visits to the hotel that there were yard games and activities for the girls, so we spent about an hour out there, letting them run around and play games. One of their badge requirements was to make up a game, so they did that for a while. They also had to show good sportsmanship and change the rules of a game they already knew. That completed our Fair Play badge requirement that we had been working on.
By this time, it was about 6:00 and time to head back to the campsite to cook dinner. I brought prepared taco meat and taco toppings so that we could have “walking tacos” for dinner. The girls loved them! They were a crowd pleaser in Cub Scouts, too – and at my own dinner table! You pick an individual bag of chips (my favorites for this are Fritos and Doritos) and each girl crunches up the chips in her chip bag. Then, you spoon in meat and fill with toppings. The best part is that you get to eat right out of the bag! (For those wondering, I stayed on keto by just putting my taco ingredients in a bowl and having a taco salad.)
By the time we finished dinner, we were ready for the most fun part of our trip. We planned to walk down to the Chip ‘n Dale Campfire, where they show an outdoor Disney movie while big bonfires roar where you can roast marshmallows. They also have chuckwagon concession stands where you can purchase drinks, popcorn, and goodies during the movie. I asked each girl to bring $10 with her so they could get a treat from the chuckwagon, if they wanted. (Incidentally, we paid for the rest of our trip with some of the money we earned from cookie sales this year, so the trip was no cost to the girls.)
But, you know what they say about best laid plans, right?
As we were walking to the movie, which was a good 20 minute walk, the heavens opened up and it began to POUR. I mean, it came out of NO WHERE. It just suddenly started POURING. BUCKETS and BUCKETS, y’all. The girls freaked out, so Mom and I pulled them under some trees to see if we could wait the rain out.
And that’s when the lightning and thunder started. Like, SERIOUS lightning. Cloud to ground kind of lightning. And it was popping all around us, as Mom and I stood there with nine, soaking wet little girls.
Which is when the crying started.
So, right there, from underneath that tree, I texted all the parents an SOS and told them to come get their kids! While we waited for parents to get there, we ducked into the closest bath house to wait out the storm.
Parents came and picked up the girls by the time the rain stopped. Mom and I went back to the campsite and collected as much camping equipment as we could in the dark and agreed to come back the next morning for the tents. And I’m so glad we did because the next morning when Mom and I went back, the people camping next to us said we left at just the right time because it actually HAILED several times that night!
The amazing thing was that as much as we worried we had traumatized the girls, almost all of them were asking when we were going to camp again! They wanted us to try again over the summer (a definite no in central Florida), but I promised we would have a redo in the fall.
So, it didn’t really go our way, but we still had a great time! And I was so proud of the girls. Three years ago when we started our troop, if you told me that our troop would be standing in the pouring rain of a thunderstorm and the girls would actually BEG FOR MORE, I would have told you you were crazy! But they have grown up so much and are just the most fun to spend time with! We are done with Girl Scouts for the year, but I can’t wait to fire the troop back up in the fall!