Meet Camp WaBak

What do you remember about your own childhood? Kayaking on a lake for the first time with your best friends? Maybe it was gathering the courage to climb up in the saddle and take a ride on that tall horse? What about hiking out to a waterfall in the mountains and feeling wonderstruck by nature? Maybe those aren’t your memories, but they could be your daughter’s.

maritza1Today, I would like to introduce you to our residential camp property, Camp WaBak. This camp is located in Marietta, South Carolina and is set in the lush green country side, with its’ own mountains, lakes, streams, and waterfalls. Driving down the small road that leads into the camp, you’ll pass the Administration Office, where you’ll check your daughter in and pick her up. That’s where our trained camp staff will greet you, and make sure your daughter is set for the best week of her life. Follow that small, camp-only road and you’ll see the stables to your left. In that large barn is where your girl will learn to care for the horses, and out in the riding ring is where she’ll have the opportunity to saddle up and ride.

IMG_4182 (3)As we keep driving (slowly of course because there are future leaders at play!) down this small path, we will pass the Arts and Crafts Hut where girls will create and explore. And just a little further past that, we will see the hub of camp- the Dining Hall. This is where girls gather to sit together as they eat a hot, fresh meal and talk about the incredible day they’ve just had.

Just a little ways past the Dining Hall, we have the large, in-ground pool where girls will cool off together on those hot summer days. Our camp counselors, who stay with the girls throughout the week are also trained life guards. They instruct the girls on safety, and are posted on-duty while girls are in the water.

tatiana-outreachAs we wind around the big corner that leads closer to the cabins, you’ll see a large lake with kayaks and canoes floating out on it’s glassy surface. This is where girls are taught how to use these water crafts, and take the lead as they go out on the lake with their friends (in life jackets of course!).



And as we continue around that big corner, we’ll be led to the lodging areas. This is where your girl will bond with her new camp friends, tell stories of the day, and rest up for another adventure.

Camp WaBakWhile we are certainly proud of all the amenities Camp WaBak has to offer, we know that the natural glory of the camp is one of its’ best features. With hiking trails that lead to breathtaking views, and river walks that bring girls to a waterfall, Camp WaBak’s natural splendor is unrivaled in the Upstate area.

Our new Camp Director, Michelle Pugh, is excited to greet each and every girl this summer! As a lifetime Girl Scout, and Gold Award Girl Scout, Michelle is passionate about connecting girls with powerful leadership experiences and the outdoors!

“This summer I’m looking forward to learning the traditions that make WaBak it’s own special place, while joining in universal camp traditions and celebrations that are comfortable and close-at-heart to anyone with a camping background.” – Michelle Pugh, Director of Camp WaBak

We hope you will join us at our ACA accredited Camp WaBak this summer! It’s not too late to register, and our camps are open to Girl Scouts AND non- Girl Scouts! See you there!

Click here for our full Camp Book.

written by michelle

My Week at the State House: A Guest Post by Elizabeth Stevenson


Girl Scout at State House

Elizabeth on the Senate Floor during Page Week

Hello fellow Girl Scouts! My name is Elizabeth Stevenson and I was a participant at this year’s Girl Scout Honorary Legislative Page Program. During my time at the South Carolina State House, I learned and experienced so many new things. From making copies for a senator, to meeting Governor McMaster, to going out for a late night ice cream treat, this past week will be an experience I will never forget.

In my government class at school, I learned about the legislative and the election processes. Being a Page allowed me to apply what I learned at school in a real world setting. I was able to see bills being passed in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate about issues that affect all South Carolinians. Before coming to Columbia to work as a Page, I did some research about my representative and senator. Once I finally arrived at the State House, I was amazed that my state legislatures, along with the other representatives and senators, actually care about my community. Additionally, I was able to meet and interact with the representative from York County. Some of the errands I had to run included handing out papers from lobbyists, passing along messages from legislative aides, and picking up coffee and a bag of chips so representatives could work through lunch.

Elizabeth S 1

Elizabeth with her Representatives

As a senior in high school, I know that the foundation for a fun time is great people. The girls that were first strangers to me, left being really good friends; I met wonderful girls from all across the state. At the end of our work day, we would talk, attend a painting class, go shopping, and watch movies. These supportive and lively girls made this adventure a top highlight in my high school career.


I encourage any high schooler to apply for this program in the future. The South Carolina Girl Scout Page Program allows girls to have real-world experience in government, network, and learn while having a good time with lifelong friends.

A Guest Post from a Traveling Girl Scout: Written by Lily Hendrickson

In August of 2017, our council held our first ever Destination- and it was a once in a lifetime experience. With our council right in the path of totality, girls from across our nation traveled to Camp WaBak to learn from NASA scientists, discover at the Challenger Learning Center, take part in experiments, and experience the solar eclipse.

The following article was written by a Girl Scout who attended the Destination, Lily Hendrickson:

Lily Eyes to the Skies

“The Eyes to the Skies Destination at Camp WaBak in Marietta, South Carolina has inspired me to do things differently in many ways. One of those ways is to always look up, because you never know what you might see. Another one is to try new things, even if you think you won’t like them at first. Finally, don’t be afraid to mess up or fail, everyone makes mistakes.

IMG_4537During the solar eclipse, we all thought that the sky was going to remain cloudy during totality. However, when it reached totality we all looked up and the clouds had parted.

Even when it was cloudy we all kept looking for changes in the environment. On the brink of totality an owl flew from the woods surrounding us to a secluded pine tree.

At this destination, at least for me being from Illinois, there were tons of new opportunities. We all went for barbecue, I tried hush puppies for the first time. There was a flight simulator at the Challenger Learning Center, I was a little scared at first, but it turned out to be tons of fun. Trying new things will never be a disappointing opportunity to experience.

There were a lot of things that I messed up on. We made bottle rockets out of two two-liter bottles, mine wasn’t the best but I wouldn’t necessarily say that it failed. We also did creek walking and I have to say, that’s the one thing that I messed up. Once we had gotten to the waterfall I slipped and fell into the knee deep water and skinned my knee on a stone. After that I had tons of fun wading in the ankle deep water with some of my new friends.

This destination has really taught me to always look up, try new things, and not to be afraid of messing up.”


Why YOUR Daughter Should be a Girl Scout

Sometimes it seems like nothing can really go too wrong in a small town. The businesses are usually family owned, the streets quiet, and the entire community comes together to cheer on the high school football team. But for Buford, South Carolina, tragedy shook the town when a 14 year-old football player was fatally struck by a car just before a JV football game.



Nicole Hudson, Girl Scout Alumni, remembers this day so clearly. She was in her Junior year of high school and had a volleyball game on the same night. Because of both games, the parking lot was packed with cars. Tragically, the small town didn’t have a helipad, and the crowded parking lot made it impossible for a helicopter to lift the young football player to a hospital.

As a Girl Scout, even through her grief, Nicole saw a clear need in her community and set her mind to making it a better place. Nicole had considered pursuing her Gold Award before, but just hadn’t found something she felt so passionate about. Now her goal was unshakable. She would build the first helipad in Buford, South Carolina. If all the work it would take only saved one life, it would be more than worthwhile.

Nicole started with research. No matter how many ways she cut it, the bottom line was this: She would have to raise at least $8,000 to make her vision a reality. For a sixteen year old who had never even held $8,000 in cash, the goal seemed insurmountable.



But Call after call, Nicole poured her heart out for anyone that would listen. The donations were sometime small, but it seemed that everyone she spoke to connected with her dream. They connected in such a way that Nicole’s dream became their own dream. The momentum exploded. This small town teen raised the $8,000 and even more, she rallied the community around her vision. Through her own manual labor, combined with the help of numerous volunteers, they cleared the land for the concrete to be poured.

“Even as a young female, I was able to make a real difference. Girl Scouts has given me the opportunity to literally save lives. It changes the way I live my life now.” -Nicole Hudson”

When it came time for Nicole to attend her Gold Award Ceremony, this award was so much more than an accolade in a frame. The Gold Award represented the heart of Nicole’s accomplishments; leading with courage, confidence, and character. Making the world a better place.

Nicole is now away at college, but each time she comes home to Buford, she is reminded of the power of community, and the difference one person can make.

“My dad is a volunteer firefighter in Buford. Every time I come home and hear his radio go off, I have no doubt that all the hours and hard work were worth it.” -Nicole Hudson


Do you want to teach your girl what it means to be a true leader? Do you want her to feel empowered, courageous, and strong? Consider joining Girl Scouts. We are the world’s largest leadership development organization for girls- we don’t empower girls, we prepare girls to empower themselves. Join the Girl Scout community and gain full access to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience including our programs, curriculum, sisterhood, and more. Give the gift of Girl Scouts.


A Message From NASA’s First Female Launch Director and South Carolina Native, Charlie Blackwell Thompson

She grew up in Cherokee County. She attended Gaffney High School, right here in South Carolina. And in her days in those high school halls, Charlie never dreamed that she would join the ranks of famous female “firsts” like Amelia Earhart and Sally Ride. In those days, she was still just a small town girl with a passion for science- with a thirst for knowledge, and a drive to succeed. Charlie is now the first female launch director for NASA.

Let that sink in.

It was in high school where she felt her passion spark inside her heart and mind. A teacher began encouraging her, and pushing her towards her dreams, even though women were a true rarity in the STEM fields. She could see that her future in STEM would have difficulties, but she was determined to break the obstacles down piece by piece and make it work. She innovate new solutions, and be a true Go-getter.

charlie directing

Charlie in action at NASA

“I didn’t know all the challenges that I would face at that time, but I owe a debt of gratitude to that teacher. I always will.” Charlie Blackwell Thompson, NASA

In 1988, Charlie had the opportunity to interview with NASA as they were preparing to return to flight after the Challenger accident. When Charlie walked into the room as they were testing the space shuttle, she saw the fully staffed control room. And something just clicked inside her. Even though the team each sat separately in front of their own little monitors, they were all critical to the mission. She wanted to be part of that. She had to.

Charlie has been with NASA now for 28 years and she says it still feels the same as her very first day. She still gets excited when she gets in the elevator each morning, and prepares her mind for the day. She still feels that the missions she undertakes help make our world a better place. She is still inspired.

Charlie Blackwell Thompson speaking

Charlie speaking on behalf of NASA

“I would tell a young woman to pursue her passions. STEM is open to everyone. Especially if you are passionate about it. The opportunities are endless when you combine passion and hard work.” Charlie Blackwell Thompson, NASA


written by michelle


3 Tips to Help You Prepare for Your Upcoming Girl Scout Year


1. Set Clear Expectations Ahead of Time

Talk-With-PeopleHow can you get the most out of a trip if you don’t know where you are going? Sure, you might have some fun along the way, but you will miss so many opportunities (plus be more stressed) if you don’t have a clear destination in mind. The same applies to planning your Girl Scout year.

Try these few tips to chart a smart course ahead, and to decrease potential friction between parents and volunteers:

  • Try sending an email, or text to all your parents and volunteers asking them what they want their daughter to get out of this Girl Scout year. Miscommunication is one of the leading causes of conflict, and an easy way to avoid future tension is to lay everything out in the open.
    • Do they want their daughter to focus on the outdoors? STEM? Career exploration? You will never know unless you ask, and once you have a feel for what the troop as a whole is expecting, you will be planning as a community rather than a lone wolf.
  • If you are the troop leader, let the parents and volunteers know what is expected of them. How often do they need to provide snack? Who needs to be available transportation? If the adults are going to be put on a schedule, perhaps make a chart letting each parent know what dates they are responsible for the next semester.
  • If you are a parent, engage in open communication with your troop leader. Trying to make the girls and adults happy is no easy task, and they need you to voice your opinion. That being said, try to be flexible, and supportive of your leader as he or she plans for the group as a whole.

2. Get the Girls Involved

four cute girls with their arms around each other smilingIn the tip before, we talked about getting the other parents and volunteers involved, and you may be thinking, “That’s great, but there is no way that I can make everyone happy!” And you don’t have to, because ultimately, Girl Scouts is about letting the girls lead and choose their own paths.

  • Once you have spoken to the parents and volunteers about what they are hoping their daughter gets out of this Girl Scout year, compile their suggestions, along with your own, and match the suggestions up with programs and badges.
  • Whether you just write the programs and badges down on a piece of paper or print out photos that represent them, have the girls vote on which programs or badges are most appealing to them.

3. Use Your Resources

Whether you are new to Girl Scouting, or bleed green because you’ve been with us so long, getting help and learning more is never a bad thing. So check out our resources coming up that will help you plan the best Girl Scout year yet:

Volunteer Kickoff– This event takes place right as the Girl Scout year kicks off in early August. Council staff facilitate key learning sessions that will help you plan, lead, and grow. Bonus: Attending the Volunteer Kickoff gives you first dibs on the new FOCALPoint!

The Volunteer Resource Fairs– Ever wonder what there is to do in your area that is Girl Scout friendly? Look no further! The resource fairs offer local vendors who either offer programming for Girl Scouts or offer discounts for the girls in green.

The FOCALPoint– Our programming for the entire year offered in print and digital. The FOCALPoint will makes its’ debut at the Volunteer Kickoff and will be available after.

G.I.R.L. Talk– Our weekly eNewsletter that comes out every Wednesday will catch you up on everything important going on in the council. If you aren’t subscribed already, click here to subscribe.

What planning tips do you have that we don’t have here? We would love to know so we can share them with your fellow volunteers! If you have a suggestion, send it to!







A Father’s Dream for his Daughter: The Gerald Vanlandingham Story

Gerald Vanlandingham has a dream for his daughter. A dream so many of us have for our own children. To have an unforgettable childhood, to have opportunities to discover their full potential, to become the kind of adult who makes the world a better place. More than just a hope, Gerald decided early on to do everything he could to make this dream happen for his little girl, Elizabeth. See, Gerald shares our Girl Scout DNA. When he saw the experiences the Girl Scout Leadership Program would allow his daughter to have, he didn’t stop at signing her up, he signed up as well. Gerald Vanlandingam is #manenough to be a Girl Scout.

Gerald V

Gerald and his daughter Elizabeth


“I have this goal for my daughter to be independent and self-reliant. To be open to new ideas. As much as possible, I want to prepare her to stand on her own as a woman that is unafraid to speak up and chase her goals. If I can have some small part in helping her, and helping other girls grow into self-reliant, empowered women, I will be happy.” – Gerald Vanlandingham, Elgin, SC

Initially, Gerald thought he would play more of a “behind the scenes” role in the troop- making supply runs, driving the girls, etc. Until one day when the troop leader couldn’t make the meeting and Gerald had a decision to make. He could tell Elizabeth and the other parents that the meeting would be cancelled, or he could step up and take the lead. Can you guess what Gerald did? Though unsure of himself at the time, and a little nervous, Gerald showed his daughter that leadership isn’t just defined as being the president of the United States or becoming a rocket scientist, leadership lives in those everyday moments where we choose to step up and be heard.

gerald v good

Gerald hasn’t gone back to “behind the scenes” since. When we asked Gerald why it was that he chose to give so much of his time and lead, his response was immediate and simple: “Because there was a need.”  This is the very essence of leadership the Girl Scout way. From the Gold Award Recipient who identifies a need in her community and makes a plan to address it, to the Daisy who asks the new girl to sit at her table, Girl Scouts use those everyday moments to create a lifetime of leadership. Gerald V 3

“The world is changing and these girls are the future of it.” -Gerald Vanlandingham, Elgin, SC

Gerald is getting ready for another year of Girl Scouts with Elizabeth, and the girls in her troop. In Girl Scouts, he has found a community of other volunteers who share the Girl Scout DNA and share that same dream for their girls. Gerald is constantly looking for new trainings or classes he can take so he can bring new skills and opportunities to his girls. All year round, but especially on this Father’s Day weekend, we are so thankful for our Girl Scout Dads, like Gerald, who are #manenough to be a Girl Scout.

Are you #manenough to join the Movement? Click here to become a Girl Scout today!



The Journey of Volunteering: A Guest Blog from Katy Sides

Some of my fondest memories growing up were from being a part of a Girl Scout troop in the Big Bend region of Florida. My mom was our troop leader, my best friends were in my troop, I loved selling Girl Scout cookies at my dad’s office and we went on wonderful trips to the beach, mountains and theme parks. I loved working on new projects and earning badges. Whenever I think about my time and experiences as a Girl Scout, it always puts a smile on my face. Katy Sides 3

Throughout my professional and volunteer career, I am driven to give back. The mission of the organizations I work for and volunteer with inspire me to work hard and to do my part in making my community a better place. One organization I have enjoyed volunteering with most recently is the Junior League of Greenville (JLG). I have worn several hats in the JLG throughout the years, including chairing the Grants Committee, Recording Secretary of the Board of Directors in addition to being a community agency volunteer. I am thrilled to be the Board’s critical connection between the community and the League during this coming year as Community Vice President.

The League does amazing work, focused on three Community Impact areas – Families & Children, Health & Wellness and Education. We focus on promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving our community. Due to the JLG’s Mission and Impact Areas, I knew that it was an organization I wanted to join.  I believe that through the power of volunteerism, women can come together and truly impact the significant areas of need in our community. I am inspired by our Impact Areas and the vast amount of work that can be done within them and still left to do. Since joining the JLG, I have been able to volunteer with community organizations, help foster partnerships between the League and nonprofits and witness the expansion of several of the JLG’s community-based programs.Katy Sides 2

Much of my League career has been focused on our grants to other organizations in the community. I have loved serving on that committee because you get to learn about amazing nonprofit organizations from across all of Greenville County that are working to make our community a better place, including the Girl Scouts of South Carolina-Mountains to Midlands. It is incredible to learn about the challenges facing Greenville, many of which may be below the radar and the great organizations and the dedicated people that are working to address those issues. The JLG is honored to partner with those organizations and our grant funding model is truly unique. Not only do we give of our money through grant dollars, but we also give of our time through volunteer Placements. Every organization that receives a JLG grant also receives volunteers who support their organization through a commitment of 40 hours of volunteer service. This is an incredible view of grant-making that ties together our financial support with the man power and incredible skill sets of our League Members. So many nonprofits are not functioning at full capacity due to limited resources, and the JLG is uniquely addressing that challenge in a two-pronged approach.  Katy Sides 4

As I reflect on the development of my drive to make my community better, I must think that my time in Girl Scouts shaped me into the woman I would become. I learned there the true meaning of friendship, how to carry myself as a young woman, that hard work and commitment pay off, and how even the smallest projects can combine with the hard work of others to truly make the community in which you live a little brighter. This is a lesson I continue to learn daily through my volunteering at the Junior League of Greenville.

Now that I am raising two young daughters of my own, I look forward to their involvement in the Girl Scouts and one day the Junior League, so that they too can be part of something bigger than themselves.

To find out more about the JLG, our grant process and how to apply please visit:

To learn more about Girl Scouts, click here.

The Bonds of Love: A Tribute to Mothers


Can you think of a woman who has poured encouragement, understanding, and love into your life? Maybe in this very moment, you can rattle off a long list of the women who have mentored, loved, and shaped you into the person you are today.

Motherhood isn’t always perfectly pressed or neatly folded, rather, motherhood is more  often messy and loud. It is a daily practice of patience, perseverance, and most importantly love. And it is this very love that makes one a mother, not just the bond of blood, but the ties of the heart. Mother's day quote 1It is this literal labor of love that drives you to reach for more for your daughter. It is love that compels you to take her entire troop camping even though you aren’t an “outdoor person”, because you know she deserves that leadership opportunity. It is this undying affection that causes you to drive her across town after a long day at work to step up and lead at her troop meeting.

“I know my mom doesn’t like camping, but she tries not to show it. She takes us anyway, and she teaches me not to be afraid. I want to be like that.” -Bailey, Columbia 1152 in 2013 tbt.jpg

Everyday you put in the work to prepare her to empower herself. You refuse to sit on the sidelines because you know her world is a better place with you in it. I recently had the opportunity to speak with a volunteer who leads a troop, though she has no daughters of her own in Girl Scouts- and she has done so for the past 6 years. This volunteer shared that she didn’t have an involved mother growing up, and she didn’t have a long list of strong and loving women from her childhood. So when she grew into an adult, she vowed that she would be the difference for young girls. Her name would be on their list of role models and mentors. This volunteer asked to remain anonymous, but her selfless love is part of what makes Motherhood so special.

So to all the mothers and mother-figures out there who press on through the challenges- we admire you. To the women who give love and encouragement- we commend you. To the moms who give the gift of Girl Scouts to your girls- we thank you.

From all of us at Girl Scouts of South Carolina- Mountains to Midlands, Happy Mother’s Day.



3 Creative (and easy!)Troop Meeting Ideas for the Spring

Cookie season has officially come to an end, and I for one, find myself needing a little bit of a breather.  Growing up, my mom was always the Service Unit Cookie Manager. And I mean always.  So I know the triumphs,  glory, and sometimes the struggles of cookie season.

With summer still a few months away, you may be looking for some fun, fairly easy to put together, and budget-friendly meeting options that the girls will still enjoy and learn from. Here are a couple ideas!

  1. DIY Spa Day   bath-salts-recipe-lavender-mint-homemade-3-of-18-2

Not only does this project leave skin soft and smooth, but it also makes a great gift! Fairly quick, easy, and inexpensive- here is what you will need (5-7 jars):

  • Small mason jars with lids
  • 5 cups of coarse sea salt
  • 3 cups coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of rosemary
  • Your favorite essential oil (lavender, mint, etc.)
  • Twine or ribbon and construction paper to make a tag


  • Get all your mason jars ready and make sure they all have lids!
  • In a large bowl, combine sea salt, then coconut oil, rosemary, and 10-15 drops of the essential oil. Mix well, and then spoon into each mason jar.
  • Once the girls have filled their jar, have them tie the ribbon around the top and cut out a piece of construction paper to make a tag with their names.

And Ta-Da!  You have the beginnings of a great spa day (or afternoon).

Now that you’ve gotten a little messy, and made some awesome scrub, it would be the perfect time to talk to the girls about dealing with stress. Even better- have the girls lead the discussion!

Here are just a few ideas of managing stress:

  • Yoga
  • Journaling
  • Reflection and quiet time

2. Stop and Smell the Flowers flowers

While our weather may not agree lately, Spring is officially upon us! And that means that South Carolina is in full bouquet. Did you know that there are several FREE botanical gardens within our council?

Check out some of these awesome resources:

  • Wells Japanese Garden in Newberry
    • The garden features a Temple, Torri Gate, Moon Bridge and Tea House. The posts of the Tea House originally held up the balcony at the Newberry Opera House prior to renovation of that structure in 1930!
  • South Carolina Botanical Garden in Clemson
    • The South Carolina Botanical Garden (SCBG), located on the campus of Clemson University, is a diverse 295-acre garden of natural and manicured landscapes within the South Carolina Piedmont ecosystem.
  • The Gardens at Furman University
    • The Furman University Asian Garden is a Asian garden located on the campus of Furman University at 3300 Poinsett Highway, Greenville, South Carolina. It is open daily without charge.

Taking these breathtaking trips may be the perfect opportunity for girls to learn about ecosystems and plant science. While visiting the gardens, I would encourage you to have the girls pick out several unfamiliar plants and look up the plants once they are home!

3. DIY Scrapbook Partyscrapbook

Spring means a couple of things for the school-going Girl Scout. While summer is always welcomed, the end of the school year can be a great time to look back on the year and record some of the best moments!

The best part about DIY scrapbooks are that you can make them as simple, or fancy as you want them to be. You are more than welcome to buy pre-made scrapbooks and fill them with memories, but for the sake of DIY, I will be listing the materials needed to make one from scratch.

What you need:

  • Heavy construction paper
  • A hole punch
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Photos
  • Stickers (optional)
  • Twine or other sturdy string
  • Markers or colored pencils
  • Photos (provided by each girl)


  • Talk with the girls and decide how many pages each scrapbook should have
  • Punch holes in all pages of the scrapbook
  • Let the girls decorate their pages
  • Tie the pages together with your twine or string and- TaDa!

This is a great opportunity to have the girls present their scrapbook in front of the troop. Have each girl explain why she chose each photo and what the memories mean to her. This is a great confidence building exercise.

Whether you’ve finished your Badge series with a few meetings left, or you are just looking for something fun and different, these meeting ideas are sure to create fun and impactful memories for your girls.

What meeting ideas do you love or use? Send them to me at to be featured on our blog!