Changing the World
Girl Scouts Learn to ‘Change the World’ at Richmond Lake

Changing the World

Girl Scouts Summer Campers 2 Copy Large
Last year’s scouts completed an aquatic invertebrate survey to determine water quality at the lake. Photos courtesy of United Way

In partnership with the United Way and United Way Foundation, the Girl Scouts Dakota Horizons (GSDH) is offering a unique camp aimed at exploring Eco-Science and how we can all improve the environment. At ‘Camp Change the World’, Girl Scouts engage in activities that promote the idea that small actions can have significant impacts. The camp is divided into two age groups: Daisy and Brownie Girl Scouts, and Junior and Cadette Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouts Summer Campers Copy Large

Similar hands-on learning activities will take place at the Girl Scouts Change the World Camp.

The younger age group, composed of kindergarten through third grade, participate in a station rotation model. One of the stations involves the girls acting out the steps in the water cycle and studying how water pollution can affect an ecosystem. They will also construct models of the natural filtration processes that occur in watersheds to test their limits when faced with point-source pollution. Additionally, Scouts will learn about the life cycle of butterflies and create miniature pollinator gardens. They will discuss how something small, like planting flowers, can have an impact on an entire species and will create a craft that can be used to share native pollinator seeds with members of their community. Throughout the day, campers will engage in activities that promote the idea that every person has unique strengths and skills, and that everyone can have an impact on the world.

For the older age group, composed of fourth through eighth grade, their camp experience will focus on making choices that can create a cleaner, brighter future. They will complete stations where they calculate their carbon footprint and learn about alternative energy sources like wind or solar, which produce less air pollution than fossil fuels. The girls will build models of various alternative energy systems and explore how alternative energy is already at work in South Dakota. Other stations will involve analyzing real air quality data and modeling the impact of pollution on health. Throughout the day, the girls will learn how to become advocates for the environment and develop and complete a take action project to help raise awareness for their chosen issue within the Aberdeen area.

The camp aligns with the Girl Scout council’s strategic plan to increase girl program opportunities and to offer program support to volunteers by providing a quality camping experience in the Aberdeen area. GSDH Camp Manager Megan Howard, adult volunteers, and youth program assistants will plan and conduct the camp, providing one-to-one guidance for the camp participants. In addition to her duties on the Girl Scout staff, Howard is an earth science and physics instructor at Northern State University. “I love the combination of science and nature. Whether it’s astronomy, environmental science, botany or zoology, every field has chances for girls to wonder, marvel, and discover,” stated Howard, a lifelong Girl Scout.

The United Way Foundation has provided a grant to help offset the cost of the summer program. Girl Scouts and the United Way have been partnered for many years. “Girl Scout programming fits perfectly with our youth outreach focus for funding, we can’t wait to see the wonderful projects that come from this great summer-time opportunity.” //