by Satvika Ananthanarayan
On a sweltering Monday in July, over a hundred Girl Scouts were making the best of the Texas heat as they started their weeklong adventure at Camp Bette Perot.When we arrived at the camp, the girls were still getting to know each other on their first full day, over a hearty breakfast of bacon and pancakes. The sleepy chatter came to an end when the girls cleaned up breakfast, each doing their part in the process.
After breakfast, the girls ambled off to their morning activities, and we followed one of the units to their first archery practice. The girls buzzed with excitement as a trained counselor described to them the safety procedures. After explaining archery as a “listen and follow directions game,” she showed the girls the basics of the sport, and they quickly caught on. With arrows zooming through the air, some girls had more success than others, but even those who were tentative eventually mastered the technique.
From the shooting range, we trekked across the sports field to the tie-dying station, where a group of girls had just created brightly-colored tie-dyed t-shirts, which now hung drying under the sultry Texas sun. On the field, a group of scouts were playing the game "Ride that Pony," with Skip, a counselor. Though they were at first tentative about what looked like running in circles endlessly, the girls were quickly enchanted with the quirky game, and burst into fits of giggles as they bumped into each other.
From the sports field, we made our way to the flagship program at Bette Perot, the Equestrian Center. Here we crossed paths with a group of scouts just leaving the center on their first trail ride, and we were greeted at the doors by a friendly former Tejas Rider, Duckie. Now a trainer at the EQ Center, she showed us around the stables and to the arena, where a group of older campers were practicing for the rodeo they would hold on Friday. For many, it would indeed be their first rodeo.
Upon leaving the EQ Center, we bumped into a group of scouts relaxing at the trading post, where they had purchased stuffed ponies to remind them of camp, and slushies to combat the rising temperatures. Two counselors were leading the girls in a rousing round of Girl Scout songs, and we joined in for an old favorite, "The Coconut Song."
From there, we followed shouts of excitement to the pool area, where the Treehouse Unit, dedicated to all things relaxation this week, was taking a swim test before enjoying an hour at the pool. Girls leaped off of the diving board, and most of them avoided an accidental belly-flop.
After a lunch of tacos, all the girls headed back to their cabins for an hour of Turtle time, where they relaxed for an hour, away from the smiling sun. As one camper aptly said, “you don’t appreciate water until you get to camp.” Soon afterward, we caught up with a unit beginning its first foray into a ropes course. There, camp counselors Smokey and Superwoman led a game of “Wha!” to help the girls learn each others names. Afterwards, the girls worked together to create a human ladder to carry each other across the ground.
Though this was a challenge, the girls emerged closer than ever, and ready for another days’ activities at Camp Bette Perot.
About Satvika Ananthanarayan
Satvika has been a Girl Scout for 12 years. She has received her Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards, and graduated from Coppell High School in 2010. Satvika currently attends the University of Texas at Austin, and is majoring in Business Honors and Plan II Honors. She spent her summer working as an intern at the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, helping out in the Fund Development and Marketing departments. Her favorite thing about being a Girl Scout is the family it gave her, and continues to give her, through her Girl Scout troop.