METAMORA, Ill. (WMBD) — The group sizes are smaller and masks are required, but Camp Tapawingo in Metamora is back in-person this year after going virtual last summer.
The camp is run by Girl Scouts of Central Illinois and boasts a large equestrian facility.
“After spending over a year where they didn’t get a chance to see each other or go and do these activities, being able to offer that to our campers is really important,” said Kailyn Miller, camp director of Camp Tapawingo.
Miller said the camp offers weekly sessions divided into age groups, but many attend multiple weeks. Day camp is Monday through Friday. Overnight camp, which starts in July, is Sunday through Friday.
Chloe Machula, director of programs for camps and events at Girl Scouts Central Illinois, said the camp focuses on building leadership, communication and independence skills. And of course, making friends and memories.
“I think a lot of them gain a lot of confidence, they go home and they can take more initiative, they know how to lead, they’ve been in this really supportive environment and go home with greater enhanced sense of self,” she said.
Bekah Laughlin, 10, said she loves going to camp every year.
“We’re going to be riding horses on trails, in the stables, and we are going to be swimming and brushing the horses… not swimming with the horses,” she giggled.
Miller said the most rewarding part is seeing the impact the camp has on the girls.
“Over the course of a week you can really seem them growing in confidence, making new friends and getting to try new things, its amazing to see,” she said.
Machula said being back in person is especially important after a long year marked by isolation and virtual learning.
“It’s so important for the kids to have that social interaction and to actually be face to face with the other girls, making friends, developing social skills, trying new things, its such a huge deal,” she said.
In terms of COVID-19 safety precautions, campers are required to wear masks and there are hand sanitizing stations throughout. Session sizes are reduced from 75 to 48 participants.
Machula said spots are still available and participants do not have to be registered Girl Scouts to attend.