Apr 13, 2016

Girls Camp On Trip

We are overwhelmed by the excitement around our second annual “SOLD OUT” Girls Gone Camping weekend happening this fall. Back in the summer of 2012, veteran Canoe Trip and P.A.C.T. paddler Marc Soberano experienced a different “Girls Gone Camping” adventure…

Campers and staff frequently say to me: “I love going on canoe trips but I would never be a tripper… YOU SMELL!”

Then, after people get to know me better, they often say, “Oh, I get it. Marc’s just a weirdo.” While I may not disagree with that assessment of me, I don’t believe that’s why I still find it incredibly fun to be out on trip all summer long.

After three summers at the stern of my beloved Grumman ‘Maria” and more than 100 Algonquin Park campsites behind me, I still love being a tripper more than anything else in the world. For me, every trip is its own adventure and source of satisfaction. Every journey brings its own set of challenges and twists that as trippers we are forced to unravel and turn into positive memories.

This past summer, my main challenge – or, should I should say, mandate? – involved a new responsibility for me. At times, it was frightening. At times, it was engaging. At times, it was educational. At times, it was more mystifying than any twist I’ve ever been asked to untwist. The assignment? Being in charge of girls trips.

Of my 37 days on trip during the summer, my only trip with boys camp was an overnighter. In late June, when I received my schedule, I believed one of the main dividends of my work was going to be discovering the secrets of the female mind. Two months later, I came to the conclusion it would take a ninja with far more wisdom than I possess to fully understand my opposite gender. That’s not to say I didn’t learn a few things on these trips, which I’m glad to share with you.

On my first trip of the summer, a first year 49er 5-day, I was taught the term ‘trip-pretty’. There was a time in my life when I believed prettiness had no boundaries. Now I understand that no female is truly pretty unless she can maintain her status as a ‘prettysman’ (one who is pretty) after five days of sweat, mud, and impetigo.

My second trip was the Senior Girls’ 15-day. If I were to tell you everything I learned on this adventure, I would be a marked man at camp. Nevertheless, here are a few revelations I experienced that may serve as tips to help you survive in the woods with 15-year old girls.

Firstly, Sunbutter is never safe. While no tripper could ever pack enough salami to fill up nine boys’ bellies, the girls skip the protein and fight for sugary, allergy-friendly alternatives. In the future, I will fill a full food barrel with Sunbutter to avoid any potential stabbings over the last scoop.

Secondly, I learned that girls are far more boy-crazy than I had previously been led to believe. For all you fathers of Foresters: chicks dig swimmers. Drop what you are doing and sign your children up for lessons now!

The second session brought about the JSG 8-day Temagami trip. For newcomers, the G in JSG stands for girls. Much like my 15-day girls a couple of weeks earlier, the JSG girls reminded me there really is a difference between men and women as they kept me in an almost perpetual state of confusion and wonderment. But I was terribly moved by the way they took me in and treated me like a friend. No less impressive was the way they supported each other through the silver days, and chuckled through the golden ones.

What I really learned during the summer is that somewhere beneath (make that deep beneath) the bickering, pinching and hair pulling, girls just love to talk. Both the campers and staff just want to chat, hear about your life, talk about their own and really just be friends.

My position as ‘Female Tripper’ this summer allowed me to make friends with a whole side of camp I had hardly met before 2012, and I now feel more a part of the Tamakwa family than ever. Thanks girls, we made it!



The South Tea Echo is our annual Newspaper featuring articles from Campers, Staff and Alumni! Click here to see the full list of publications. This particular article is from the 2012 edition.

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