Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My Misspent Youth - girl scout camp seemed innocent enough

I was a Girl Scout. You're shocked, I know. Not only was I a Girl Scout but I was a Girl Scout in Oklahoma City when I was 10. I can't really say whether I was a good Girl Scout or not. I'll let you be the judge.

In 1970 our Girl Scout troop sold so many boxes of cookies we were able to go to camp for free. It was awesome. All of us girls and a few mom's went off into the woods of Oklahoma (wherever that is) to camp.The camp site included a lodge type thing where the mom's slept and cooked. All of us girls slept in these strange tent things. I was a Northern girl and had never seen canvas tents on stilted wooden platform bases in my entire life. In the Pacific Northwest when you slept in a tent it sat on the ground not perched of the side of the hill. These were more like huts built into the hills, on stilts, with wooden floors, and canvas tops and sides. Strange, huh?

Our tent, the one my friend Carolyn and I slept it, was built into the side of the hill like all the rest. Where the canvas met the platform there was a gap of about 6 inches or so. Loose canvas, large gap, small girls, this is vital information remember. Just setting the stage.

If I remember correctly, there were very few rules. Just your basics; stay with the group, follow the rules of the facility and NO food in your tent. That was the big one. NO FOOD IN YOUR TENT! The theory was that food attracted animals. Animals are bad. Animals would... I'm not sure what, nibble on your toes? Anyway, this was the rule that was drilled into our heads. Carolyn and I were sure that very bad things would happen if anyone in our tent had food. 

We found out that Sandy was a rule breaker. She was a rebel that didn't believe the NO FOOD rule. She was destined to get us all in trouble, infested with and bitten by animals. She kept candy in the bottom of her sleeping bag. Carolyn and I could not let this flagrant violation of the rules slide. Something had to be done. Something bold, something meaningful, something that would teach Sandy the lesson that she deserved. We thought long and hard. Then we came up with our evil plan teachable moment.
Our plan was simple. 
1. While Sandy and the rest of the troop were eating Carolyn and I would stay back in the tent/platform-tent-like-structure. 
2. We got all of the candy out of the bottom of Sandy's sleeping bag. We ate most of it (hey! we were 10).
3. We put a few of the wrappers back in the bottom of Sandy's sleeping bag.
4. We put a few of the stuffed animals that all 10 year old girls take to camp in the bottom of Sandy's sleeping bag.
5. We kept our mouths shut.

Later that evening, when all the girls in our tent were getting ready for bed Carolyn and I could hardly wait until Sandy crawled into her sleeping bag. We were pretty sure she would scream. We were pretty sure she would try to get out of her bag as soon as possible. What we couldn't have predicted was what happened next.

Sandy crawled into her bag. Her feet meet the crumbled candy wrappers and furry stuffed animals. She screamed bloody murder. She thrashed around so violently in an effort to get out of her sleeping bag that she rolled off of her cot. She rolled off not towards the middle of the tent but towards the edge of the tent. Where the canvas part of the tent met the wood of the platform. Still in her sleeping bag she slipped between the tent and the platform, fell about 4 feet to the ground, then rolled 30 feet to the bottom of the hill. All the while she was screaming and thrashing. It was hilarious!

Carolyn and I laughed our heads off. We stood at the top of the tent steps with tears running down our faces. The other girls were screaming, crying, and laughing (because Sandy was kind of stuck up). If it happened now I would pee my pants laughing (TMI? What? I've had a couple of kids and I'm old! It happens.)

The mom's came running out of the lodge, frantic that one of the girls left in their care was being attacked by some vicious animal. They pulled Sandy out of her sleeping bag. One mother tried to calm her down while the other moms tried to evict the feral beast from her sleeping bag. 
That is when they realized that her bag was infested with empty candy wrappers and someone's plush toy.

Sandy was ushered into the lodge where she was cossetted and comforted. The girls in our tent were scolded halfheartedly by our mothers (it wasn't until much later that our mothers found out it was Carolyn and I who set up the prank). The night passed in relative quiet after that; though I'm sure Sandy is still traumatized 40 years later.

My mom said later that as we were taking a hike we met up with another girl scout troop. The troop leader was all gossipy. She told my mom that she had heard that some "girl" was bitten by an animal that was in her sleeping bag. The "girl" had to be taken to the hospital. The "girl" had made the mistake of hiding candy in her sleeping bag don'cha know. The troop leader hoped that the "girl" and her troop had learned their lesson. My mom said that it was all she could do not to laugh.

My mom and I still laugh about it today. 

The moral of this story is; don't be snotty and selfish. Share the candy that you are hiding in your sleeping bag or you may be the one that rolls down the hill. Or maybe not.

There you have another little slice of my misspent youth. Did any of you go to Girl Scout camp? Was it as fun as my experience?



  1. Chandler: Tell us what happened, Brown Bird Ross.
    Ross: Well, I lost. Some little girl loaned her uniform to her nineteen year old sister, who went down to the U.S.S. Nimitz, and sold over 2,000 boxes.
    Which Base is near Oklahoma City ?. :D

  2. Vince: There is a Federal Aviation Administration school in Oklahoma City. Makes for a whole lot of Air Traffic Controllers in one spot.

  3. Nope, never joined the Girl scouts. Of course if I ahd, I have never been able to sell cookies, I couldn't even sell stuff to the debate team in high school. I don't like talking to strangers, or asking for money. I make a horrible salesperson.

  4. I cracked up when you said she was thrashing and screaming, and you followed that by saying it was hilarious! You are so bad, but then again...she had it coming!

  5. I went to Girl Scout camp once. And only once. I still block those memories out..
    Ps- Sandy deserved it. :-)

  6. Your moral of the story is so much funnier than the story. I think we went to the sister camp last year. Same kind of tents and stuff. The girls were too scared to sleep in them, since they were only 7-8 yrs old. We did have a racoon join us for dinner though. Hilarious about the gossipy leader. Word travels fast.

  7. You girls were a lot of fun...the moral is very good.


  8. I was not a Girl scout. Hilarious.

    Hmmmm...commissioned painting. Will keep that in mind.

  9. Hilarious!

    Please don't push me down the hill!

    I will always share candy.

  10. I never got to go camp. Apparently my parents were masochists who liked to keep us home (or more likely, couldn't afford to ship us off).

  11. I was never a girl scout but fully support them every year. And my big ass does too Thin Mint style.

    Your prank turned out to be priceless, don't you wish YouTube were around back then?

  12. I went to Girl Scout camp as a kid, it was lots of fun. Sometimes with my troop, sometimes with girls from all over the county.

    The wooden floor + canvas tent you're describing is commonly called a "platform tent." It's pretty common in Girl Scout camps, and a lot more wind-resistant :)