Doing something for the first time can be exciting. The campers of the new Pathfinder group are the second group at Camp Duncan for Girls located in Aberdeen. ThePioneer group was the first one created when the girls wilderness camp opened in 2011.
Fourteen-year-old Maya scrapes bark from a pole that will be used in constructing a new living shelter. The other five girls of the Pathfinder group are doing the same. There is small talk and occasional laughter, but for the most part each girl is focused working at her task.
“I never dreamed that I would ever live in the woods,” Maya says. “Actually, I was a little upset when I first came here, but it’s getting better.”
As an only child, she says it is challenging living with other girls. Maya was added to the group soon after it was established in October 2016. Now after a little more than three months, she is making friends and feeling a part of the group.
The new living shelter is the third one built at the campsite. After the shelter is built, the group can grow to its capacity of ten girls.
Camp Duncan provides girls and their families the opportunity to work out problems. Maya works on goals that will help her at Camp and when she is at home. Her mom and dad learn ways they can support Maya and gain relational tools to help their family be more successful.
“My mom and I are getting along better,” Maya says. “I like to cook. When I’m at home, I cook for my parents. They say they enjoy it.”
Maya and her campmates Katya and Abi relate how they are learning to “go for it.” It’s an expression at Camp Duncan that means they are giving it their all.
Each group is supervised 24/7 by two counselors or chiefs. Three chiefs are assigned to each group. Chiefs are helpers and assist the girls to plan, execute and evaluate their daily lives. For each girl, camp is a goal-oriented experience.
“The more you give to it,” 15-year-old Katya says, “the more you get out of it.”
Katya understands how to reach goals. She has been at Camp since April 2015. She was in the Pioneer group at first.
“It’s paying off,” she says. “Things are better at home. It’s more peaceful.”
Thirteen-year-old Abigail or “Abi” made a commitment to Christ on January 17, a little more than a year after coming to Camp Duncan.
“Letting Christ into my life makes a big difference,” Abi says. “I want to be close to the Lord. I’m reading my bible more and I pray every day.”
Maya was raised in a Christian home and her family is involved with a Baptist church. She says that despite growing up in church, she needs to know more about God. Her spiritual curiosity is common among the girls at Camp Duncan.
“I want to be closer to God, too,” Maya says.
Camp Duncan is a licensed, non-public school where the girls learn through hands-on experiences. They write daily plans, budget money to purchase food and then prepare meals, plan trips to historical and cultural sites, explore natural science up close, and draft plans and build their own shelters.
“Camp Duncan is a great place,” Katya says. “It’s a safe place where you can talk things out and not fear being judged. It’s a place where you can deal with things and grow.”
Learn more at www.campduncannc.org