Posts Tagged "Camping"

Teaching Camping Hazards with GIANTmicrobes

giantmicrobesdisclosureCamping Girl Scouts Vintage PatchIt’s almost time for Summer Camp!  Which means there’s no time like the present to start teaching younger girls about the importance of insect repellent to keep their mosquito bites to a minimum and the dangers of watching for ticks.  A great way to make this fun is with the use of the plush mosquito, tick, and Lyme Disease organisms from GIANTmicrobes!

These fun plush toys are a million times larger than the actual organisms and cells that they represent.  They are a tactile way to teach kids about health, their bodies, and their environment without complicated technical drawings.  GIANTmicrobes was good enough to provide Girl Scout Guide with a plush mosquito, tick, and Lyme Disease in their original 5″ size complimentary to spread the message!


GIANTmicrobes MosquitoAs I mentioned, these plush pests are 5″.  They’re are 3,000 species of mosquito, but the most common are Culex pipiens.  Only the females bite, sucking your blood like tiny vampires!  Girls going off to camp need to know that they can get some nasty infections and viruses from mosquitoes, so regularly applying a good insect repellent is very important, for more than just avoiding itchy bites!

Mosquitoes can carry malaria, yellow fever, and West Nile Virus.  Insect repellents with diethyltoluamide (DEET), lemon eucalyptus, or picaridin are the most effective to keep mosquitoes away while your girl is having fun on the lake with her new camp friends!


GIANTmicrobes TickThese slightly larger little vampires can be found in deep woods and grassy plains.  Ticks can be as large as grapes or as small as a pinpoint, but all can carry diseases.  Ixodes scapularis, their scientific name, are actually not insects, but arachnids more closely related to spiders.  These little buggers can carry tularemia, Rocky-Mountain Spotted Fever, and most famously Lyme Disease.

Girls should always check for ticks after prolonged time in the woods, like camping in deep woods or a hike through.  There is ample time to remove ticks before they can transmit these diseases.  While there are many remedies floating around that involve heated pins, matches, or gasoline, all of these should be avoided as they can drive the tick further into the skin.  The best method of removal is to grasp the tick with tweezers, as close to the skin as possible, flip it onto it’s back slowly (you don’t want to dislodge the “head”, or mouthparts, from the skin) and pull gently until it’s removed.  Washing the area with alcohol and maybe a clove of garlic should make it safe to remove.

Lyme Disease!

GIANTmicrobes Lyme DiseaseOne of many diseases that can be transmitted by ticks, Lyme Disease is the most commonly reported tick-borne illness.  This disease is initially identified with aches, fever, fatigue, and the signature bulls-eye shaped rash at the site of the tick bite.  Antibiotics can help, however Lyme Disease is sometimes hard diagnose quickly as it can be misdiagnosed.  This disease can lead to more problems later in life like arthritis, facial paralysis, meningitis, and more.  Some victims of Lyme Disease can also develop cognitive issues like memory loss and mood changes.

Lyme Disease is diagnosed in approximately 300,000 people in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. has published a Lyme Disease symptom checklist that all campers should be familiar with.  All leaders and camp counselors should also be diligent with checking for ticks after extended periods of time outdoors and should know what to do if they find a tick to avoid this disease.

Each GIANTmicrobes toy comes with some facts about the microbe in the tag and their website has lots of information about the organism as well.  All of these facts will help with teaching your girls about not just how important insect repellent or checking for ticks can be, but with their wide selection you can use these plushy germs to teach them all kinds of lessons!

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Review: Quick Stitch Sewing Kit

quickstitchdisclosureWe don’t have to tell you that the Girl Scout motto is “Be Prepared”.  The motto, as explained in the 1947 Girl Scout Handbook, means “A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency.”  One of the things we can often forget in our quest to be prepared are that rips and tears can happen, and sometimes a safety pin is not enough!

Here at Girl Scout Guide we were given a Quick Stitch Sewing Kit complimentary to review.  Having a sewing kit on hand is very important in all activities and travel – from troop camping trips to day trips, weekly meetings to awards ceremonies.  You never know when a badge might come loose or an inconvenient hole may need a few quick stitches on the trail.

Product Specs

Quick Stitch Sewing KitThe Quick Stitch Sewing Kit is compact for sure – measuring at 4.5 x 0.8 x 4.8 inches it weighs just 3.7 ounces according to my package scale.  It’s easily slim enough to fit unobtrusively in any duffle bag, backpack, or suitcase.  It contains 24 stainless steel needles in 8 sizes contained in a plastic case, 12 spools of thread in assorted colors, stainless steel scissors, a seem ripper with plastic cover, 2 aluminum needle threaders, a tape measure, 2 straight pins, 3 white opalescent buttons, a safety pin, and a thimble.  It retails on Amazon for $11.95.

The kit we received was actually missing it’s thimble, which isn’t a big deal to us because none of us use one, but it might be a big deal to you if yours comes up missing.


For all that’s contained within this kit, it’s remarkably lightweight.  It doesn’t add any bulk to a day pack or even a larger purse, though it might be somewhat cumbersome for a fanny pack or smaller purse if you travel light on troop outings.  It is relatively thin, so it can easily tuck into some pockets out of the way within those larger bags.

Quick Stitch Sewing KitA distinct downside is that there’s only one lonely safety pin.  Being the all-stars of any travel emergency, safety pins are invaluable when on the go, so we recommend tossing a few extra into your kit before heading out.  While small, there’s still plenty of room within the zippered walls of this kit to hold some extras.

The stainless steel scissors are a HUGE bonus and very easily justify the price.  Yes, you can get less expensive travel sewing kits, but those flimsy scissors won’t work if some serious repairs are needed while out with your troop on a hike, day trip, or other situation where you may not have a real pair of scissors around otherwise.  The seem ripper is also handy to clean up a mending job and not necessarily have to do more serious repairs once you get back home.  It’ll be like it never happened!

Quick Stitch Sewing KitThe variety of threads is nice, though they are rather small spools.  They include your basic primary colors, the required black and white, and even some pastels and browns to cover your bases.  There’s no orange or purple, but if you find yourself using more oranges and purples and less of the other colors, you could probably substitute some spools from cheaper travel kits or throw in a wound bobbin from home.

The zipper is secure, so even if you include some other odds and ends like we’ve recommended, they won’t end up falling out all over your bag waiting to stab you or get tangled up in a zipper.  The kit has hard sides, so you don’t have to worry about those pointy scissors poking through either.


Quick Stitch Sewing KitWhether you’re going out for the day with your troop on an adventure, or spending a few days reconnecting with nature on a camping trip, we highly recommend having this Quick Stitch Sewing Kit on hand.  If the size is a little big for the type of bags you like to travel with, it’s also a handy item to have with your regular meeting supplies or “backstage” for an awards ceremony to fix up your uniform and patches in a pinch.  The price might be a little high for you, but it’s actually on the less expensive spectrum of kits with comparable items inside that are on the market, so it is the best value for your troop budget dollars.

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Free Printable Camp Packing List

Summer camp was the best times I had in Girl Scouts.  I started going to camp at 8, continued through high school in the Counselor-in-Training program, and worked as a counselor the first summer after high school.

Want to share photos of your troop or group at camp? Contact Us!

This fantastic resource for girls on their way to camp was shared with me.  It’s a free, printable packing list.  Included in this article are great tips for keeping the list durable so your girls can not only make sure they have everything they need before heading off to camp, but also make sure they didn’t leave anything behind when packing to come home!

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Leaves of Three, Beware of Me!

This is a handy way to avoid most poisonous plants when camping and hiking.  And remember that poison oak and poison ivy are located even in some relatively urban areas.

Poison Ivy Photo by ZeNeeceC on Flickr

Courtesy of ZeNeeceC on Flickr

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the saying “leaves of three, beware of me” can help identify poison ivy and oak, a more accurate saying is “leaflets of three, beware of me.” Each leaf on poison ivy and poison oak has three smaller leaflets. The middle leaflet has a longer stalk than the two on the sides.

Contact with a poisonous plant can lead to a nasty, itchy rash.  The best way to limit the spread to fellow campers is to isolate the clothing you were wearing at the time in a garbage bag and shower immediately.  A bath will just move the oils that cause the rash around and spread it to other parts of your body, so a shower is preferred. This won’t prevent a rash if you’ve had significant contact, but will help prevent the spread to others.

Treatment of a mild case can be solved with a cool shower and some over-the-counter medicine like Tecnu, Caldryl Clear or other itch relief lotion.  An oatmeal bath can also sooth the itch.  More advanced cases can require a trip to a doctor and a prescription medication to reduce the itching and swelling.

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