Guest Author - Denese Tyler
Handling tent assignments within a Girl Scout troop can be tricky depending on the dynamics of the group. There are several ways to handle tent assignment. Here are a few suggestions:
• require each girl to bring her own tent. If a girl does not have a tent, she is to find someone who will share with her.
• leader assigns girls together by grade or age.
• leader conducts a lottery in advance of the camping trip. This allows those placed in a tent together to get excited about being grouped together.
• group together those that prefer to go directly to sleep at night and those that prefer to whisper or chat before bedtime.
• group together those that rise early and those that sleep late.
• let patrol leaders make assignments based on what they know about each girl.
• give Girl Scouts 4 minutes to work together on tent assignments so that everyone’s needs are met. If just one girl is not satisfied, then the leader takes over. The girls will quickly work it out.
• ask each girl to list three girls they would like to have in their tent. Leader groups the girls so that each girl has at least one of her chosen girls in her tent.
•allow girls to "trade" assignments among themselves; however, establish a time limit for trades. For example, make the rule, "No trades after dinner."
Once the tent arrangements have been made, enforce the following rules to help prevent “cliques” from forming:
• No hanging out in tents during the day. Napping during free time is allowed, but chatting, reading, and hanging out should be done outdoors.
• Tents are only for sleeping and/or changing clothes.
These rules help prevent the feeling of “We are here and YOU are somewhere else.”
Remind Girl Scouts that they must turn off tent lights or flashlights before changing clothes in the tent at night. The light will cast a shadow on the tent that can be seen from the outside.
Remember, according to Girl Scout SafetyWise, girls do not share tents with adults. Dads and other males must be separate from the girls. Happy Camping!