A new outdoor program is providing young girls with an opportunity to sleep under the stars in a non-intimidating introduction to camping.
Appropriately called Girls Night Out (Under the Stars), the overnight camping experience is open to middle school girls, ages 11-14, and will take place at Dorris Ranch on Aug. 12-13. Its purpose, according to Willamalane’s Outdoor Supervisor Kerry Jack, is to focus on basic camping skills while making girls feel more comfortable in an outdoor setting.
“Camping is fun, and we want more girls to be able to experience it,” she said. “We also hope that these young women will feel confident and empowered to seek opportunities to spend more time in the outdoors.”
Empowerment and building leadership skills are at the heart of this program, which is being funded by a $2800 grant through the Oregon Community Foundation. Willamalane won the grant when they submitted the program idea for Girls Night Out (Under the Stars), which fit the criteria of “empowering young women to choose healthy, active lifestyles, appreciate the outdoors, achieve academic excellence and help instill young girls and women with a sense of confidence.”
“We were over the moon that they chose to fund the entire program, which included camping gear like tents, sleeping bags, pads and even staffing,” said Jack.
With the help of grant funding all food and camping equipment is provided, bringing the cost down to only $20. Ten spots are available and can be reserved by registering online or calling 541-736-4544.
The evening will begin with a bike ride from the Jasper Trailhead to Dorris Ranch, where the girls will camp out and learn camping basics from set-up and tear down to fire-starting. There will also be campfire stories, s’mores, morning stretches and team building activities to develop communication and leadership skills.
Along with sleeping under the stars, the youth campers will have the chance to see shooting stars during that evening’s predicted Perseid Meteor Shower, said Jack, who oversees Willamalane’s other outdoor programs.
According to Jack, Willamalane’s outdoor program has been in existence for one year, with staff gradually rolling out a series of adventures for patrons of all ages. These programs have included paddling trips, fishing trips, survival classes and even snowshoeing.
Coming this fall will be a family bike camping trip and an introduction to backpacking trip. Camping gear is provided to those who need it. Learn more about outdoor trips.