As school draws to a close, parents are beginning to think about what activities their children — daughters in this case — can get involved in and enjoy. The answer is simple: Join a local Girl Scout Summer Camp.

This year, there are three camps in Arizona with a variety of programs to choose from within each camp: Shadow Rim in Payson; Camp Maripai and Willow Springs, both in Prescott.

Each camp is overnight, with Camp Willow Springs being a day camp as well and is available for girls in first grade through 12th grade. Anyone is allowed to register and participate, even if you are not a Girl Scout. An extra fee of $15 is required if you are not a Girl Scout.

Girl Scout camps are a fun way for girls to get out of their comfort zone and to learn valuable life lessons while in a beautiful nature setting.

“Our camps are a place where girls can create memories, make new discoveries, develop life-long friendships and learn new skills,” said Heather Thornton, communications manager for Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-Pine. “Girls will get out of their comfort zone, take risks, and learn to care for nature in a camp community setting.”

The three camps offer enriching programs ranging from horseback riding and archery to culinary, drama and visual arts. Each camp also has traditional camping activities like hiking, camp fire activities and arts and crafts.

“In the outdoors, girls are constantly presented with new challenges, like building a fire, cooking dinner in the wilderness or canoeing across a lake,” said Dr. Denise Mitten, graduate chair of Adventure Education at Prescott College. “Learning skills to overcome these challenges gives girls confidence that translates to real-life success.”

Camp Shadow Rim offers arts and crafts, canoeing, climbing, outdoor cooking, hiking, camp fire activities and archery. Camp Maripai offers horse riding along with traditional camp activities and Camp Willow Springs offers archery along with traditional camp activities.

This year, Camp Willow Springs is both an overnight and day camp that is available to all girls.

The day camps are typically five days long and are arts and crafts and nature based in theme. There are also weekend camps open to families and adults. Check-in for these programs is at 6:30 p.m. on Fridays and check-out is 9 a.m. on Sundays.

Each camp varies in length, from a weekend stay to about two weeks depending on what your daughter is interested in.

“Girls get a sense of wonder, peace and belonging that comes from being outdoors,” Mitten said. “These feelings ultimately help girls understand her role in the world, and give her confidence to reach her full potential.”

For more information on the Girls Scouts Summer Camps or to register, visit

• Angela Crusco is a junior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She is interning this semester for the AFN.

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