Thursday, January 26, 2012


In class this week I was given the task of free writing about a place that I love. I chose Camp Meridale. Here's what I wrote...


It's summer.
The air is hot.
The sun dances in glimmers on the surface of the lake.
Laughter echoes through the trees from groups of campers.
The sun dips down behind the trees.
Campfire crackles.
Girls huddle with flashlights.
Sticky marshmallows.
White smear.
Sticky mound in the pine needles.
Start again!
Campfire crackles, sparks and pops.
Fire fairies floating up from the flames.
Fire will die out.
Faces smeared with chocolate.
Happy Girl Scouts.
Day is done.

S. Hickox

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rosemary Gray Stevens

If you are drowning in a pool, or a lake, more likely a lake, I can save your life, and it has to do with her. (Points to Karen Leach.) She is the one who I credit for that skill that I learned. But it was just because my life depended on it. If you didn’t know me when, I don’t know how old I was, but you (indicates Karen) were here as a counselor. If you knew me when I was in middle school or grade school I wasn’t bigger than a minute. And when you get your life saving and water safety you have to actually go out in a lake and save somebody and I was as big as a pencil. I was maybe 75 pounds soaking wet and I had to save a full grown woman and that woman was Karen. And she had blonde hair down to here (gestures to her seat) and she fought me in the water with all of her hair wrapped around my face and I thought I was going to die that day, but I managed to save her, pull her to shore, and live to tell about it. Now when I tell my son about my camping experiences and why he should be in camp and all the fun I had and all the things I learned and everything that I know how to do today from Girl Scout camping and I remember always to tell him and anybody else about the day I had to save my counselor. Who fought and tried to pull me under the lake. That’s my story. Karen almost killed me!

(This story was transcribed by Sarah Hickox from the 2011 Camp Meridale Reunion interview footage. If you have stories to share let me or Evelyn know and we'll help you post your story!)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The smell of the treehouses, the creak of the beds, the sound of the screen doors slamming, the crickets...
It's been too long.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Welcome to Camp Meridale Memories!

This blog was created as a result of the 2011 Camp Meridale Reunion.  During the weekend of May 14-15, 60+ grownup Girl Scouts returned to Camp Meridale to make new friends and reunite with the old.  The weather was wonderful and the laughter and happy tears abundant.  There were girl scouts from the 1940's all the way through the 1990's.  Old memories were relived and remembered, while new memories were made.  We slept in the tree houses and tall trees again. Canoed on Trefoil Lake. Made smores around the campfire.  We sang Kookaburra, Barges and other campfire songs together again.  It was truly a wonderful weekend full of enjoyment, free of the hustle and bustle of modern life. 

"Growing up" causes you to grow up.  You never forget those fun times you had as a child.  However, life, family and responsibility tends to push those memories back until they become hard to recall.  Returning to the scene of those memories is like reliving your childhood again.  I remembered many things from Camp Meridale.  But returning for the reunion allowed me to recall even more.  The smell of the campfire.  The voices singing campfire songs in rounds.  The sound of the crickets and girls giggling before lights out.  The flashlights shining in the sky in the dark.  The sound of the dinner bell.  The feeling you have when you wake up in a Tree house excited about what new things the new day holds. These are the things I miss the most.

I was a Camp Meridale camper in the late 80's and early 90's. I remember the millipedes that came into our covered wagons and tents after the rain.  I remember getting all the other girls addresses in my little plastic covered address book (I wish I still had it). I remember how scared I was that first time I jumped up and rolled over the "earth ball."   I remember when the first time staying in the tree houses and tall trees, thinking how grown up I was that I could walk that long walk to the campsite.  At 30 years old that walk was nothing.  Age makes your perspective.  That old lodge holds many many fond memories of mock suppers, skits, games, and capers.   The adventure course was always the highlight of my day.  During free time, I would run back and forth, back and forth through it until I wore myself out.  I remember getting stung by a wasp (I'm very allergic) and not telling anyone because I knew my parents would be called and I would have to leave camp.  Someone eventually noticed the abnormal size of my arm.  I remember crying my eyes out as I sat in the window seal in the lodge, waiting for my Mom to come get me, contemplating what I could say to convince her to let me stay. 

I remember singing "Pass it on" on the last night of camp.  Tabitha Hardy, a fellow Troop 16 member, sang this during our "Scouts Own" at the reunion.  It was bittersweet and I cried. A lot.  You know, they say you can never go home again.  This is true in a sense because your perspective of home is different when looking at it through grown up eyes.  But this statement is false as well.  You can return to those places and relive those memories with a new appreciation.

I look forward to reading and sharing memories on this blog site as well as future reunions.  The 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting is 2012.  If you want to return to relive and remember those happy times at camp, please stay in touch with the Girl Scouts of Greater Mississippi.  Great things are in the works for the coming years... I have a feeling! 

Evelyn (Kowall) Watkins

It only takes a spark to get the fire going.
And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing....