Girl Scout Camps in the San Francisco Bay Area

by Stacy Zeiger Google
Roasting marshmellows is a common activity at summer camp.

Roasting marshmellows is a common activity at summer camp.

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Going to camp is one of the most important experiences for a Girl Scout. The Northern California branch of Girl Scouts of the USA offers many summer camp programs for a memorable summer. Overnight camps are offered at Camp Bothin, 1/2 hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge, and at Skylark Ranch, 1 hour south of San Francisco, near Santa Cruz.

Camp Bothin

Camp Bothin is located in Marin County, about 30 minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge. The camp is open to girls from first through 12th grade. At this overnight camp, girls stay in dormitories or open-air cabins and tents and enjoy meals that contain plenty of fresh options, including a salad bar for lunch and dinner. Each day begins and ends with the traditional camp flag ceremony. Campers participate in traditional camp activities such as swimming and singing around a campfire. Daily activities vary based on the specialized program chosen by each girl.

Camp Bothin Programs

Sessions at Camp Bothin last between four and 10 days. The "Summer Fun" programs allow girls to have a traditional camp experience and spend the day participating in hiking, camp games and arts and crafts activities. Each specific session has a theme, from bugs to beauty treatments, and groups girls of similar ages together. Special interest programs are also offered. With the culinary arts program, girls spend the week learning how to hone their cooking skills. The fine arts and fashion programs allow girls to choose to focus on pottery or multiple art media or fashion design during the camp. In the performing arts programs, girls learn the basics of being a performer, write scripts and put on musical productions.

Skylark Ranch

Skylark Ranch is located near Santa Cruz and overlooks the Pacific ocean. Girls choose to bunk in tent cabins or more primitive living quarters for which campers build their own tree beds. Campers are housed by age and program. Meals are served family-style in the main dining room, which also serves as the center of the camp. Skylark Ranch has hiking trails, low- and high-element ropes courses, an art center, a nature center and open space for games and horseback riding. Sessions last from four to 11 days. Transportation to the camp is provided by a chartered camp bus.

Skylark Ranch Programs

The "Summer Fun" programs at Skylark Ranch allow girls to have the traditional summer camp experience while enjoying the amenities of the ranch. Programs are grouped by age level and engage girls in activities such as exploring the beach and trails around the camp, learning wilderness survival skills and practicing archery. Creative arts programs make use of the art center at the ranch, where campers can explore different art media, learn the guitar or create gourmet meals. In the "Pacific Adventure" program, campers explore local bodies of water and work out on the ropes courses. A main feature at Skylark Ranch is the equestrian program, featuring quality riding school instruction. Lessons are offered for all levels of riders and campers learn how to care for and groom horses. Girls can choose from English or Western riding disciplines and practice vaulting.

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