S’more for Everyone

In honor of National S’more Day we here at GSHPA wanted to share some of our top s’more recipes! We have included twists on your classic s’mores and some brand new creations! We are especially excited about our fall-themed s’mores! We hope these recipes help you celebrate National S’more Day in style! Maybe you will even find your new favorite from our recipes below!

Chocolate Covered Pretzel

You Will Need:

  • Two Pretzels (medium to large in size)
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Chocolate

Once you have cracked your graham cracker add your chocolate and your freshly toasted marshmallow!

Autumn Apple

You Will Need:

  • Two Ginger Snap Cookies
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Sliced Apples (we recommend Honey Crisp)
  • Apple Pie Spice

Top your ginger snap cookie with apple slices and a toasted marshmallow. Sprinkle with Apple Pie Spice and enjoy!

Peach Cobbler

You Will Need:

  • One Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Sliced Peaches or Peach Pie Filling
  • Ground Cinnamon

Start by cracking your graham cracker in half then top it with your freshly toasted marshmallow and peaches. Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry

You Will Need:

  • One Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Chocolate
  • Sliced Strawberries

Once you have cracked your graham cracker start piling it high with chocolate and sliced strawberries. Then finish it up with your freshly toasted marshmallow!

Caramel Apple

You Will Need:

  • One Cinnamon Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Caramel Sauce

Simply crake your graham cracker in half, top with your freshly toasted marshmallow and drizzle with as much caramel sauce as your heart desires!

Pumpkin Spice

You Will Need:

  • One Cinnamon Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Pumpkin Puree or Pumpkin Pie Filling
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice

Start by spreading your pumpkin puree or pie filing on a graham cracker cracked in half. Then top it with a toasted marshmallow and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice. Try adding chocolate if you’re feeling bold! 

Mexican Hot Chocolate

You Will Need:

  • One Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Chocolate
  • Chili Powder

Add your chocolate and toasted marshmallow to a cracked graham cracker then sprinkle with chili powder and enjoy!

Salted Caramel

You Will Need:

  • One Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Flaky Salt

Crack your graham cracker in half then add your toasted marshmallow. Once assembled drizzle with caramel sauce and finish with a sprinkle of flaky salt!

Chocolate Covered Cherry

You Will Need:

  • One Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Chocolate
  • Slice Cherries or Cherry Pie Filling

Simply crake your graham cracker in half, top with chocolate, cherries and your freshly toasted marshmallow!

Peanut Butter and Banana

You Will Need:

  • One Graham Cracker
  • One Marshmallow (freshly toasted)
  • Chocolate
  • Peanut Butter
  • Sliced Bananas

Once you have cracked your graham cracker start piling it high with chocolate and sliced bananas. Spread peanut butter on your other graham cracker then put it all together!

We hope you enjoy our s’more recipes! Be sure to share your favorite s’more recipes in the comments below!

Backyard Camping

One of the easiest and inexpensive ways to get outdoors this summer is by traveling to your own backyard! You’ll save time and money, but can have just as much fun planning your backyard camping adventure as you would planning a trip away. Keep reading for some fun ideas for a summer backyard campout!

Shelter

First you’ll want to decide what kind of sleeping arrangements you’d like to have. Some of my favorite options include:

  • Setting up a tent: if you choose this option, you could sleep on the ground in your sleeping bags just like you might on a camping trip in the woods. Or, if you’re like me and enjoy a more comfortable arrangement, you could set up an air mattress with blankets and pillows for more of a “glamping” experience!
  • Create a tarp tent: all you need is a tarp and rope! This option would be more open-air than a tent, and allows you to sleep under the stars while still being protected from the elements. 
  • No shelter: if the weather is going to be nice overnight, you could choose no shelter at all! Remember to make sure this is a safe option – think about what kind of animals might come through your yard in the middle of the night

Remember that whatever shelter you choose to set up, you can make it as fun as you’d like! Adding extra blankets or stuffed animals will make the space nice and cozy. Some fairy lights strung up will provide you with light once it’s dark. Or if you want to imagine you are hiking through the mountains with only the items you can carry on your back, maybe your setup looks a little more rustic with just your shelter, sleeping bag, pillow, and a lantern. This camping adventure is completely up to you!

Activities

After your shelter is set up for the night, don’t forget to plan some camping activities! Some of our favorite Girl Scout activities include:

  • Singing songs around a campfire (don’t forget to have some fire starters on hand, as well as an adult!)
  • Going for a hike – this could be a walk through your neighborhood, where you listen for the sounds of nature, or if you have a hiking trail near your house you could explore that too!
  • Have an outdoor Soundscape Scavenger Hunt and listen to all of the different sounds nature has. 
  • Learn about the Leave No Trace principles, and make a plan to follow those principles both on your backyard camping adventure, as well as on future trips into the outdoors. 
  • Learn about the stars in the sky through GSHPA’s Constellation series. Remember to wait for the sun to set completely. You can use the app SkyView Lite (with parent permission), and watch the first video of the series here.
  • After the sun has set and you’re getting ready to sleep, another camping favorite you can do is storytelling!  Each person can take turns telling a story they’ve heard or have made up. Or you could make it a game by having each person say only one sentence of a story. Popcorn stories can be super silly since everyone only gets to say one sentence at a time!

Now that you have your shelter set up, and activities planned, we can’t forget one of the most important parts of a camping adventure…the food!

Backyard Cooking

Yes, it’s time for everyone’s favorite part: the food! We are going to be talking about all the fun and interesting ways to cook outside! Did you know that you can actually bake brownies in your backyard? How about a full chicken or a whole pie? Well you definitely can and we’re going to show you how!

Box Oven:

Kicking off our outdoor cooking adventure is a box oven! As the name suggests it is made with a cardboard box!

To create your Box Oven you will need:

  • A Cardboard Box (extra thick/sturdy if possible)
  • Aluminum Foil
  • 4-6 Empty Soda Cans
  • A Grill Rack (must fit inside box)
  • Charcoal
  • Small Aluminum Pan

You will want your box to have a flap to cover the opening like a door. The remaining flaps can be removed. Then start by covering your cardboard box in aluminum foil – shiny side out! Be sure to cover every inch of cardboard in foil to ensure it doesn’t burn!

Once covered place your empty soda cans on the sides to hold up your grill rack. After your box oven is all set up begin putting hot charcoal in your aluminum pan! Keep in mind each brick of charcoal will be around 50 degrees, so add enough to reach your desired temperature with that in mind!

Just let your box oven preheat – then start cooking! We recommend making brownies or pizza! And don’t forget a potholder or other heat protection!

Flower Pot:

Did you know you can grill using a flower point? You can – let’s talk about how!

To create this unique grill, you will need:

  • 10 Inch Ceramic Flower Pot (please use a plain undecorated flower pot)
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Perlite
  • Charcoal

Start by putting a layer of aluminum foil on the inside of your flower pot – shiny side out! Once the inside is fully coated add your pearlite. Perlite is a mineral that reduces moisture and insulates heat which can be commonly found in any garden center or store. You will want to pour perlite to fill your lined flower pot about halfway. After this has been added place a layer of aluminum foil on top of the perlite. Top the aluminum foil with hot charcoal and you are ready to roll!

Once hot you can use your flower pot just like a grill! We recommend roasting hot dogs and marshmallows to start! It is a great option for Daisy and Brownie Girl Scouts to try! You can even add a grilling rack to the top for more cooking options!

Tin Can Cooking:

Cooking on top of a tin can is great for camping, especially for breakfast! It is a great option for french toast and pancakes!

To create your own you will need:

  • #10 Tin Can (make sure the inside is not lined with plastic)
  • A Buddy Burner

Yes, that’s all you need! Before we talk about how to set up your tin can, let’s talk about how to make a Buddy Burner!

To create a Buddy Burner, you will need:

  • A Tuna Can (or similar – freshly washed)
  • Strips of Cardboard, Paper or Wood Shavings
  • Melted Wax

When making your Buddy Burner start by emptying, washing and drying your tuna can. After that fill the can with strips of cardboard, paper or wood shavings – this will be your fuel. When filling the can try not to pack your too tight to ensure air can circulate. We recommend making sure a few edges are sticking out for easy lighting.

Once you have filled your can simply pour melted wax inside about 2/3 of the way and allow to set! Once dry you are ready to get started!

So now that you have a Buddy Burner, let’s talk about your larger tin can! Start by washing and drying it. After that you should take a can open and create small holes along the top edge of the can, like the image above, to help with ventilation. And that’s it – you’re ready to get cooking!

Simply light the Buddy Burner and place your Tin Can Stove on top. Once hot you can use it to cookie pancakes, French toast and much more! After you’re done cooking we recommend flipping the top of your stove onto the Buddy Burner to extinguish it – just be careful, it will be hot!

We hope you enjoyed learning all about our favorite backyard cooking and camping methods! Be sure to share your favorites in the comments below!

Site Teams

Since I arrived at GSHPA in the summer of 2019, I have been amazed and humbled by the passion of our members for our four camp properties.   

I quickly got involved with the Camp Furnace Hills site team, hearing their questions and ideas for the future use of the camp, and sat in on phone calls between GSHPA and Supporters of Camp Archbald on a monthly basis, dialoguing about areas of priority focus in maintaining the second oldest Girl Scout camp in the United States. 

My holiday season in 2019 kicked off with the Foxfire Open House at Camp Furnace Hills.  Foxfire House is a Swiss German bank house, built in the 1800’s.  The volunteer led Foxfire Team cooked goodies for the open house, arranged for a string duo to perform in the living room, and conducted tours of the house for attendees.  Foxfire House programming and tours are a gem, and true resource for Girl Scouts to learn about the life of girls long long ago. 

At the Foxfire Open House I met a number of lifetime Girl Scout members who all shared their story of connection with Camp Furnace Hills and now I’ve gotten to know them all well through monthly site team meetings.  This group of volunteers has compiled a detailed excel spreadsheet of projects at Furnace Hills, ranging from repairing fascia, to removing dead trees, and blazing new trails.  Through a network of relationships we’ve now found new vendors for accomplishing work at Camp Furnace Hills and connected troops for Bronze and Silver Awards.   

The Furnace Hills Camping Association and GSHPA are partnering together for an open house on May 16th at camp.  The details are still being finalized but tours of Foxfire House, the chance to practice archery, learn about the history of Camp Furnace Hills, and plant trees are all on the list of possibilities for the afternoon event. 

The second site team I’ve had the delight to get to know, passionately cares for Camp Archbald.  This amazing group of volunteers has shared the history of the beginning of camp, and their personal stories of how camp impacted their life over the years, culminating in the time they’re now bestowing to repair Greenwood and the Caretaker’s House, along with numerous other projects on property.  Beginning in September of 2020, the Archbald site team arranged twice monthly work days, ranging in attendance from 10 to 60!  Their excel spreadsheet of projects, with a tab for every single building on property, is an inspiration for any project manager!  Supporters of Camp Archbald execute a sold out resident camp experience each summer, and planned a yearlong acknowledgement of camp’s 100th anniversary with a celebration scheduled for the weekend of September 18, 2021. 

The paragraphs above cannot begin to describe my awe and respect for the volunteers passionately involved with Camp Furnace Hills and Camp Archbald.  Next, I hope to tap into the passion of volunteers who are connected to Camp Small Valley and Camp Happy Valley, to re-invigorate site teams at those camp properties.  If anyone wants to join the site teams for any of our properties, please reach out to me at leberly@gshpa.org or 717-461-6947. 


Post by Lutricia Eberly

Ready to Camp in the Cold?

Winter camping can be a challenge, but we are here to tell you that winter camping can be fun for any age Girl Scout! When getting ready for your Winter Camping Adventure, it is important to remember the first step of Leave No Trace: plan ahead and prepare!  

Winter Camping Shelters 

  1. Quinzhee – Snow Shelters! 
    • A quinzhee is a snow cave, constructed from hollowed-out piles of snow.  
    • These winter shelters originate from the indigenous people of North America.  
    • Snow can be a great insulator and these shelters keep in heat and block the wind! 
    • See here for how your troop can make a – Quinzhee!  
  1. Tent 
    • Keep in mind the weather when choosing your tent!  
    • If the weather is cold, but little wind, then most tents work. 
    • If you will be camping during a snowstorm or blizzard, you will want a ‘four-season’ winter tent. 
  1. Indoor Camping: Cabin/Yurt 
    • Cabin or Yurt camping is the best choice for younger Girl Scouts (Daisy-Junior) or new campers as indoor camping provides a warm, snowless place to sleep. 
    • Check out your local and State Parks for indoor camping options!  
    • GSHPA properties also have a variety of options for winter camping at our four properties. 
    • Interested in renting out a GSHPA camp property? Click here! 

What to Pack:  

Before you set out on your camping trip, you need to prepare your supplies! The National Park Service lists the following “Ten Essential Items” recommended for all weather camping:   

Ten Essentials:

  1. Navigation 
  2. Sun Protection 
  3. Insulation 
  4. Illumination 
  5. First-Aid 
  6. Fire 
  7. Repair Kit/Tools 
  8. Nutrition 
  9. Hydration 
  10. Shelter 

When planning a winter camping adventure you will need a few additional items!  

  • Sleeping in the Cold 
  • Bring two sleeping bags or one sleeping bag specifically made for cold weather 
  • Down or synthetic sleeping bags work fine, but must be stored in a dry place to be most effective.  
  • Cold weather sleeping bags are insulated and reflect your body heat. 
  • Bring at least two sleeping pads 
  • Don’t be afraid to test your sleep system to ensure it is warm enough! We recommend trying it out in your backyard first! 
  • Additional items can be found by clicking here! 

What to Wear: 

  • Layers! 
    • When preparing for winter activities, layers are essential!  
      1. Base Layer 
        • This layer is should be tight to the body and quick to dry.  
        • It is important to avoid cotton in cold temperatures, as this absorbs moisture, like sweat, and it will not dry quickly! 
        • Nylon, wool, and polyesters are the best options!  
      2. Middle Layer 
        • A good option for the second layer is a lighter jacket, sweatshirt, or fleece.  
        • Remember, avoid cotton! 
      3. Outer Layer 
        • Your last layer will ultimately depend on the weather and outdoor conditions.  
        • Typically a waterproof jacket or insulated puffy jacket is best! 
        • And remember that insulation is important – it must protect you from the wind and precipitation in addition to keep you warm!  
  • Stay DRY! 
    • Keeping dry is essential!  
      • Wet and cold makes for cranky campers! So pack extra layers! 
    • Remember that a Girl Scout is always prepared. It is better to pack too many layers and not utilize them all, than to realize you do not have enough on hand.  
    • When you are done playing in the snow, make sure to change out of any wet clothes immediately and hang them to dry! 

Cooking and Fueling Your Body for the Cold 

Your body burns more calories than normal when trying to keep warm. You need to double your normal calorie intake when winter camping. 

  • We recommend foods high in carbohydrates, fat, and protein.  
    • And you should eat often!  
  • During winter activities, keep snacks with you to keep your body fueled and warm! 

Remember to stay hydrated too! We don’t always feel thirsty in the cold, but you can very easily become dehydrated on a cold day.  

  • Always keep at least one full water bottle nearby and drink water regularly.  
  • Insulated water bottles recommended! 
  • And include warm drink options 
  • Teas and hot chocolate, are great options to drink when campers come in from the cold! 

Benefits to Winter Camping  

  • Winter camping is a unique experience and provides several exclusive activities for you to try! 
    • Winter Hiking  
    • Winter Scavenger hunts  
    • Snowshoeing 
    • Cross Country Skiing 
    • Down Hill Skiing  
    • Sledding  
    • Winter Shelter Building 

Winter camping can be a great new adventure for you! Remember, you can always make changes based on your group’s needs, safety, and comfort. It’s all about having a positive outdoor experience! Enjoy your winter camping!