Keystone Science School and the Girl Scouts of Summit County make a dynamic team. This spring marks the fifth time that the two organizations are teaming up to create an educational, informative camp for Girl Scout participants.
In March, Keystone Science School held its Wild and Wacky Weather Camp, a 24-hour experience during which the girls learned about Colorado microclimates, weather and the importance of snow in Summit County.
The Wild and Wacky Weather Camp was the first in a four-part camp series, made possible by funding from The Summit Foundation and the Copper Environmental Foundation.
"The collaborative programming will educate the girls on the environmental impact of human life and how we can reduce this impact," said Cricket Hawkins, membership manager for the mountain communities, which include Lake, Summit, Grand, Jackson, Routt and Eagle counties.
For example, one section of the weather camp focused on snow and what it means to Summit County, beyond its immediate effect on skiing and tourism.
"What we were trying to also teach them is the value of snow melt in providing water," said Hawkins, connecting snow melt to water in lakes and for use by plants and animals as well.
Other camp activities included weather prediction and a hands-on demonstration of the science school's weather station.
In addition to teaching, the camp series is meant to go hand-in-hand with the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, aiding the participants as they move forward to pursue and achieve the Girl Scout "highest awards" and honors. These are the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards, representing the highest level of award a Girl Scout can earn.
"The Girl Scout Leadership Experience ensures that girls are learning new skills, they are discovering more about themselves and the world and they're connecting with others in their community by taking action to make the world a better place," Hawkins said. "This provided a hands-on opportunity for them to learn a little bit about environmental issues on a local level. Ultimately our Girl Scout Leadership Experience helps them on the global level as well, so this camp was one camp in a series."
The next camp in the series will occur in April, with participation extended to Daisies, the youngest group, grades kindergarten to first, in addition to the second- through seventh-graders that attended the weather camp. The older girls, in sixth and seventh grades, will have the opportunity to assist the adult education staff and instructors as a way to improve and practice their leadership skills.
"We're combining our Girl Scout Leadership Experience and curriculum with Keystone Science School's environmental curriculum to provide practical environmental education to the girls of Summit County," Hawkins said.
The camp series also assists the girls in going through the "It's your Planet - Love it" journey program, for which they earn badges and move closer to their "highest awards" goals. Each girl works individually toward her badges and personal achievements.
"They will develop a sustainable set of positive environmental values," Hawkins said, "and they will be able to demonstrate those values through their individual badge work."
Working with the Keystone Science School has been very helpful for the girls, Hawkins said. "They are a fabulous resource."