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All-girl Scout troop attends first winter campout at Camp Maple Dell

March 3, 2019

Whenever her brothers would go on an overnight Scouting campout, 12-year-old Morgan Dalley would complain to her mother and ask why she couldn’t go with them.

On Saturday, she and five other members of an all-girl Scouts BSA troop participated in their first-ever Klondike Adventure at Camp Maple Dell in Payson Canyon.

“It’s fun. There is a lot more stuff to do than I thought,” Dalley said.

The other girls in the troop were quick to voice their opinions of the Scout camp compared to a traditional young women’s camp with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“You don’t do the hard stuff like the archery or sled races or fire stuff,” said Amanda Johnson, 14.

“At girl’s camp, we just play games around tables and paint nails,” added Amy Coons, 16.

“You get there, you set up, you play games, you sit down and you go home,” said Abby Westling, 15, as she rolled her eyes. “This is like proving yourself.”

“This is the adventure,” Johnson said with a grin, gesturing to the snow-covered camp.

Even though the girls barely know each other, the group has come together over the weekend during the campout. The Utah County troop joined another girl Scouts BSA troop from Richfield and six other church youth groups for the activity.

Girls 11-17 years of age are now eligible and invited to join the newly named Scouts BSA programs. In May 2018, the LDS Church announced it would be breaking its 100-year-old ties to BSA. Newly designed youth programs for the global church will begin in January.

“I loved camping out. I just love being outside and I love the smell of being here,” said Olivia Nilson, 11.

Nearly 100 girls participated in the event that included skiing, archery, tomahawk throwing, rifle shooting, zip lining, fire building, paintball shooting, and trolley and sled races.

The overnight snowfall made it hard for Shiloh Hutchinson, 12, to wake up on Saturday morning. But she would not have missed sliding down the zip line for the world.

“It’s fun, especially when you are going over the lake. You see things you don’t see on the ground,” she said.

Scoutmaster Nicole Johnson has worked at Camp Maple Dell for the past 11 years, and this is the first time she has shown her Scout troop the ropes.

“It felt like we were always telling my daughter you can’t do this because this is for boys,” she said. “I wish we wouldn’t have picked a winter campout but I think we did a really good job over-preparing.”

Her girl’s troop started five weeks ago with only two girls. They needed at least five members to receive a charter, and the group finally swelled to that number and filed the paperwork last week.

“Their excitement is getting to do things they’ve always been told is for the boys to do,” Nicole Johnson said. “We’re not competing with the boys. We just want to play too.”

The girls at Troop 1734 decided to pick the patrol name “Fantastic Females” and eagerly shouted “And Where To Find Them” every time someone called the patrol name.

They were able to put up their tents before the rain and snow started Friday night. Each girl learned how to place tarps above and below the fabric tent to keep the water from coming inside.

Nicole Johnson said she was grateful for the snow since it acted as an insulator and didn’t get everything soaking wet like the rain.

“My favorite part was our tent getting snowed in at 3 a.m.,” her daughter added sarcastically.

“Our tent was starting to collapse and we needed to fix it,” Coons explained.

Assistant Scoutmaster Katy Lemley also works at Camp Maple Dell, and she noticed the boys in the Scout troops always like to wrestle and compete for whoever is the best at different activities.

The girls at the campout were much more likely to chat and work together as a team. They can also earn merit badges and pass off achievements with the youth program in the LDS Church at the same time.

“There is always going to be differences between the two genders but I think the biggest is that there is already a sense of trust between them,” Lemley added. “It’s been great to watch them grow and learn how to stay warm.”