More than 500 girls and their leaders will gather Sunday through July 17 at Adair County Park for the first-ever Oregon Camporee, open to girls ages 14 to 18 worldwide.
Altogether, more than 700 girls and adults are expected to participate in the weeklong event. Participants are coming from 26 states and Washington, D.C., Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, England and Wales.
Highlights of the camporee include sporting activities, science and art classes, exploring Oregon, and service projects. The latter is an important part of Girl Scouting, teaching girls to become productive citizens who give back to their communities.
Service projects slated for the camporee include: creating art murals for the Habitat for Humanity store in Corvallis; making tie quilts for Quilts from Caring Hands; making blankets for Project Linus; building bird houses for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; working with children through the Corvallis Parks and Recreation Department and Boys & Girls Club; helping to restore habitat at the Finley Wildlife Refuge; building a causeway for the Adair Park disc golf course; planting a vegetable garden and more at the Children's Farm Home; hosting a paper airplane booth at da Vinci Days; and making handmade friendship bracelets for Corvallis' sister city, Uzhgorod, Ukraine through the Touch One Ukrainian Hand Project.
"Girl Scouts provides high school girls with the leadership and community service opportunities that are highly valued by colleges today," said Mary Jo Naef, communications coordinator for the camporee. "Increasingly, girls are recognizing the importance of having a well-balanced high school career to better prepare them for college and the future."
Naef calls Girl Scouts "the premier organization offering these types of experiences to girls, along with the chance to travel, meet new people and explore career options and the outdoors.
"This is an incredible package — and for many girls, an irresistible one," Naef said.
Naef is one of 14 women and girls from Benton and Yamhill counties who have worked for two years on a planning committee to prepare for the Oregon Camporee.
Although a mainstay in the Girl Scout international program, this camporee is the first for Oregon. Interest in hosting a state camporee was fostered in the summer of 2002, when a group of 40 Girl Scouts from Benton and Yamhill counties traveled to an international camporee called Star NW at Farragut State Park in Athol, Idaho.
"During the return trip, it was discovered that everyone — girls and adults alike — wanted to host a camporee, believing that we could effectively build on this Girl Scouting tradition and that Oregon is a showcase destination for such an event," Naef said.