WESTON, Conn. — A total of 114 girls are calling Camp Aspetuck in Weston home this week — along with a large population of fairies.
Although the day camp is run by the Girl Scouts of Connecticut, its programs are open to members and non-members alike. Buses bring campers from all corners of Fairfield County , with stops in Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Ridgefield, Stamford, Weston, Westport, Redding and Wilton. A day in the woods is a big change from many of those more urban towns and cities.
Campers spend their days swimming, making arts and crafts, playing outdoor games and working toward badges on the 16-acre camp on the banks of the Aspetuck River. They can also ride horses at a nearby farm. Many of the younger campers especially enjoy using their imaginations to build and tend to the camp's collection of fairy houses.
Each counselor — in full Girl Scout tradition — is known to campers and reporters only by a nickname.
Many of the camp's staff have spent many summers at Aspetuck or other Girl Scout camps. The camp has a loyal following.
“It’s great to see the impact on campers and how they love coming back year after year,” Willow, a unit leader, told The Daily Voice at camp Wednesday.
Another counselor, Tink, said she went to Girl Scout camp for nearly a decade as a girl and now enjoys continuing that tradition.
"I love making new memories with the campers," she said.
Tink and Willow are not alone.
“We have some girls who have been here forever,” said Camp Director Lauren Kaechele, also known as Freckles. “We have a lot of lifers.”
Kaechele said the girls who go through her camp become empowered and learn lifelong survival skills such as how to build a fire and cook in the wilderness.
The girls also participate in traditional summer camp activities, such as cooling off in one of the camp’s two pools.
“We have a lot of fun here,” said Monty, the waterfront director, fresh out of the pool. “It’s nice to watch the girls and know you’ve made a difference in their lives.”
Monty said that some campers are reluctant to swim. But after the girls receive some instruction, the counselors have a hard time getting them out of the pool.
But water brings mud. When one camp staff member tracked mud onto the lodge's wood floors, Kaechele took the mess in stride.
“It’s nice to soak in the natural good vibes,” she said before cleaning the floor. It was a fun day at camp, after all.