Gov. Susana Martinez with Girl Scouts. Courtesy photo
By Peggy Sanchez Mills, CEO
Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails
I grew up in New Mexico and learned much about the Great Outdoors from my family and through Girl Scouts.
As a young girl, we took two-week camping vacations where all six of us piled into the station wagon and we were each allowed one brown grocery paper bag for our clothes, one sleeping bag, one blanket, a box of food, Coleman stove, Coleman lantern and a tent to hold all six of us.
Our favorite camp site was Fenton Lake – actually we thought as kids that Fenton was our summer home. We just shared it with the whole state.
There were a number of years that I lived in Florida and D.C. and would actually have these minor panic attacks for fear that I would never again wake up in a tent all cozy in my sleeping bag and smell the scent of bacon from the adjacent camp site and be able to wash my face in a cool stream, inhale the beautiful smell of ponderosa pines, juniper and pinion or sing around a campfire. But I did come home and camp as much as I could.
Let me tell you a story about a young woman named Molly who was a Girl Scout growing up. Recently, I took Molly to Rancho del Chaparral, she had not seen Rancho in over 30 years since she was a young girl. She told the story about her mother strongly encouraging her to go to GS camp and how she cried all the way to the camp. A week later, when her Mom picked Molly up, her Mom saw her crying and asked if she really had cried the entire week. And Molly looked at her and said she was crying because she didn’t want to leave camp. So 30 years later, when we got to the camp, she opened her window wide and inhaled the air and she jumped out of the car and pressed her nose against a huge ponderosa pine. And she said ahhh it smells like CAMP!
Camp and the great outdoors are life transforming moments that helped mold me throughout by life. I learned to be resilient, bold, courageous and confident – a Girl Scout – I developed a deep love for the Land of Enchantment. Conservation of our resources, protection of our water, leave no trace behind and feeling the buoyancy of your walk while hiking in the great outdoors were all things I learned by being outside.
What a joy to be the CEO of GS where we embrace the outdoor, provide opportunities for girls to zip line through a forest, kayak down our beautiful Rio Grande, rappel off a cliff and ride a horse for the first of many times.
We look forward to partnering with CYFD and New Mexico State Parks to provide opportunities for even more of our NM families to experience a great family camp out.
We have much to celebrate in this state and it begins with our endless opportunities to explore the great outdoors – our mountains, lakes, a fishing stream, a babbling brook and a book! We are pleased to be a national partner and join our sister Girl Scout councils throughout the country to celebrate NM and her natural beauty.