Call it hitting the ground running, or call it making up for lost time. Call it whatever you want, but I’m officially calling it the Best Summer Ever.
Liz Harder is a First Class Scout in Troop 1885 of Omaha, Neb., part of the Mid-America Council.
And in her first summer as a member of Scouts BSA, the 16-year-old is attending four different summer camps.
“I only have two summers as a Scout,” Liz says. “I wanted to do four camps so I wouldn’t have to worry about having enough merit badges to be able to complete my ranks — and so I could focus on schoolwork my junior year.”
That’s not to say Liz plans to slack off when fall arrives. She’s merely maximizing her summer as she aims for her goal of becoming an Eagle Scout.
I caught up with Liz — as her mom drove her to camp No. 2 on her list — to learn more about her quest.
A dream fulfilled
Growing up, Liz remembers pointing out to her mom a fundamental unfairness between her and her brothers.
“How come Nate and Daniel get to go to all the fun campouts?” Liz remembers asking.
“Because they’re in Boy Scouts,” her mom would say.
That all changed this year when girls like Liz were welcomed into Scouts BSA, the BSA’s program for older youth that was previously known as Boy Scouts.
Now I get to go on campouts and all the fun things that I was always jealous of my brothers for,” Liz says. “I’m really excited about the chance to make Eagle.”
Going for four
Each of the four camps has a special significance for Liz. At three of the four, she’s camping with another troop for the week, giving her the chance to meet girls from across the region.
At the fourth, she’ll join the members of her own troop — a group of girls chartered to a tree-trimming service in Omaha called Arbor Aesthetics.
The camps are:
- Camp Arrowhead, Marshfield, Mo. (Ozark Trails Council), attending with Troop 10 from Leawood, Kan.
- Camp Cornhusker, Dubois, Neb. (Cornhusker Council), attending with Troop 25 from Lincoln, Neb.
- Camp Cedars, Cedar Bluffs, Neb. (Mid-America Council), attending with her Troop 1885
- Camp Piercing Arrow at H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation, Osceola, Mo. (Heart of America Council), attending with Troop 612 of Kansas City, Mo.
She picked Arrowhead because her mom met a Scoutmaster in a BSA Facebook group who raved about the camp. She selected Cornhusker because she lives nearby. Cedars was her troop’s summer camp pick, so that was an easy choice. And H. Roe Bartle was the choice of her mom’s longtime friend who is going as Scoutmaster of a troop for girls and invited Liz to join.
Already planning ahead
Liz wraps up her week at Cedars today.
And even though she still has one more camp remaining this summer, Liz already is thinking ahead to 2020.
“Next summer, I plan on being a staff member — most likely at one of these four camps,” she says. “I intend on talking to staff to see how they feel about their jobs and how stressful it is to work at camp, and the pros and cons of staffing at their camp.”
That means this truly could be Liz’s only summer as a summer camp attendee.
Safe to say she’s making the most of it.