Popular activities in early young ladies’ camps promoted education and entertainment.
Hiking was a walk with a purpose! Every hike combined vigorous exercise with “elements of instruction, relaxation, and pleasure.” All hikes were carefully planned in advance by the leader—the distance reasonable and the pace moderate. Young ladies were continually encouraged to keep “an eye to the beauties of nature.”
An especially popular activity was trailblazing. A small group of girls would precede the rest of the group by 20 to 30 minutes.
They would leave signs and notes that would lay the trail, warn of danger, or instruct those who followed to gather specimens of a tree or flower that was close by. Sometimes notes would direct them to sing a certain camp song, dramatize a story, or pantomime a nursery rhyme. This helped to “socialize the group” and increase the fun of physical activity.
Arts and Crafts
Young ladies were encouraged to participate in “joy-giving hobbies” and discover interests that may increase in value through a lifetime. Girls delighted in crafts, making such things as willow baskets, rag rugs, memory books, stencils of the camp symbol, and prints of leaves and flowers.
Encouraging young ladies to find joy in God’s great out-of-doors was a central focus of girls’ camp 100 years ago and remains so today.
Try a trailblazing activity at camp. Plan your course and your clues. Determine which activities should take place along the trail.
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