The sunrise over Lake Langlois was a rose-pink delight. Mist rolled across the water in the crisp forest air. My shoes crunched on gravel as I walked down the path to Helena’s Lodge for a gourmet breakfast. Glamp, the Girl Scouts of Western Washington’s annual fundraiser, was finally back in person at Camp River Ranch in Carnation for the first time since 2019, and I intended to make every moment count.
I went through the breakfast buffet line and loaded my plate with eggs, bacon, gluten-free scones and blueberries. By the time I joined my morning activity, F45 Total Body Fitness, I’d probably eaten enough calories to fuel me all day, but there were so many things to do, that I needed the extra energy.
Glamp had something for everyone. You could kayak, canoe, rock climb or swim. If you wanted to be crafty you could do block printing, cake decorating, botanical jewelry or cyanotype prints. “When Zombies Invaded” taught shelter building and disaster prep. An empowerment self-defense class, belly dancing, hula hooping, Pilates and yoga were also on the docket. It was impossible to do everything.
One of my favorite parts of Glamp was meeting women from across the Pacific Northwest. There were a few Girl Scout leaders like me, but most were not. Many women had no prior exposure to Girl Scouts at all. People came because they wanted to support girls and to attend an awesome women’s retreat. Two sisters-in-law traveled all the way from Alaska.
When I looked at my watch at 9 a.m., I already had 5,000 steps because I’d been in too much of a rush to flag down the shuttle. Accommodations like the shuttle made Glamp accessible to women of multiple ages and ability levels. There were inside cabins with heat and electricity, and outside options for people who wanted a rustic experience. The food was inclusive, too, and as someone who cannot eat gluten, I appreciated that.
I spent my afternoon wine tasting with Guardian Cellars and Baer Winery. At happy hour, I bid on a bunch of items at the silent auction and won a purse. When campfire came, I looked out across Lake Langlois, which was now a silver shimmer against the green trees, and reflected upon the day. I’d spent every waking moment having fun. I’d relaxed, learned new skills and made friends.
That night at dinner, the grand tally was announced. The weekend raised $318,142 to send girls to camp! I cried when I heard that amount because I know firsthand that camp changes lives. I’ve been the camper, the counselor, the Girl Scout leader and the mom who’s sent her daughter to camp. Now, I was the glamper. For two whole days, I wasn’t in charge of anyone or anything but me. The weight of all my responsibilities being lifted off my shoulders — at least for a little bit — was a gift. Knowing that my fun-filled weekend had helped send girls to camp made the gift even better.
Jennifer Bardsley is the author of “Sweet Bliss,” “Good Catch” and more. Find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as Jennifer Bardsley Author. Email her at email@example.com.