Published April 10, 2014
By Devin Corbitt, News Editor
On Wednesday of spring break, 11 young women made their way to Lake Belton to spend their time off a little differently than most of their peers. For these girls, spring break was not about lounging around the house, but about getting out and getting active.
As dawn broke over Lake Belton, the rays of sunlight warmed the shoreline of Camp Kachina, where girls from the Mariner program were busy preparing for a day of sailing.
“This is the second Spring Break Camp for Mariners,” Jena Recer, this year’s Sailing Camp Facilitator, said. “The girls learned to sail but they also learned to teach, to communicate, to support each other and to pitch in and help.”
The Spring Break Camp for Mariners is sponsored by the Girl Scouts of Central Texas. It began three years ago when Karen Stewart, Sailing Coordinator for the Girl Scout Mariner program, decided to design something a little more hands-on for girls in the area.
“I think the longer sailing camp experience allows the girls to not only learn but enjoy what they are learning because they get more of a chance to try out what they are learning,” Recer said.
The first camp hosted six Girl Scouts in 2012, and although they were not able to organize a camp last year, this year’s camp saw an increase in interest from girls in grades 6-12.
“I loved it,” Mariner Summer Stewart said. “At Spring Break and Summer Camps you get more time to sail than on a sailing weekend. You meet new people and get to know them better. I’ve learned a lot about how to teach through the Mariner program.”
During their stay at the camp, the girls participated in a multitude of activities aside from sailing. Before they even touched the water, the instructors and sailing aids ensured that the girls would be safe on the water through various games and learning sessions.
“Making the wooden boats helped us to learn the parts of the boat and the points of sail,” Mariner Morgan Berasley said.
Most of the activities were led by more experienced girls, called sailing aids, in attendance, allowing everyone to learn more effectively.
“It’s nice to help others,” Summer Stewart said. “I think kids learn better from other kids.”
The camp also offered an adult sailing training run by Karen Stewart.
“It worked out great,” Recer said. “(Karen) and the other volunteers discussed how to build the program and the adults all learned to sail so that they will be able to help more as volunteers. The adult volunteers also created structure for the girls’ program so that they will earn different titles and patches/badges as they learn more.”
The Mariners invite any girls who will be in grades six through nine over the summer to join them at summer camp. Camp Kachina offers a variety of summer camp programs for girls from 1-12 grades. Both Karen and Recer plan to continue the spring break camp next year, as do the girls.
“I feel very lucky to have watched the girls who began with the Mariner program a couple of years ago grow into not only good sailors but excellent leaders,” Recer said. “I hope that we will have another spring break camp next year and that we will have both a basic sailing camp and a more advanced camp going on simultaneously.”
This weekend Camp Kachina will host an Open House on Sunday from 2-5 p.m. Anyone interested in learning about the camp is welcome to join in the fun. To register for the event and to receive directions, please e-mail KJ Falchuk, Camps Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay until the end for the chance to win fabulous prizes, including a free week of camp. Must be present to win.