SPRINGFIELD — As summer camps across the country are closed due to the continued threat of the coronavirus, Girl Scouts of Central Illinois is introducing virtual camps, giving girls of all ages an opportunity to continue or discover their Girl Scout experience.

Camp Connect will allow girls to virtually interact with other campers, engage in badge activities, get outside in their yards or neighborhoods in fun and creative ways — practicing social distancing while sharing core Girl Scout values having fun.

The camp experience is open to all girls, not just Girl Scouts.

“This last few-months has been difficult for most children, being isolated from school, friends and the activities that connect them to the world,” GSCI Outdoor Program Manager Chloe Machula said.

“We have found a number of creative ways to keep girls socially and educationally engaged, ensuring they’re learning new skills, actively working to be good stewards of the environment and creating fun and memorable experiences, even when the social climate has shifted.”

The virtual camp experience will kick off Friday with the first virtual camp-out (https://www.facebook.com/events/25 91692664383278/?active_tab=about). Girls (and families) can pitch a tent in the yard, create a pillow fort in the living room, make dinner over the campfire or s’mores in the microwave. The virtual camping experience is designed to inspire imagination and confidence. Experiences will be shared on social media with the hash tag #GSCICampout.

In addition, Camp Connect will allow girls to meet on Zoom with camp staff and their fellow campers. They will be provided a box of activity supplies to use throughout the week independently, with their families, or with the other girls in the camp session. Each age level will have its own camp group with other girls their age. Themes for the first three camp sessions include Animals, Outdoor Skills and Nature, and Cooking.

The first session will begin June 8. All girls, both Girl Scouts and non-Girl Scouts, are welcome to participate. Space will be limited to make it possible for girls to make individual connections with others. The cost is $50 per person per session, which includes the registration fee for 2020-2021. Financial assistance is available.

For more information and to register for Camp Connect, visit www.getyourgirlpower.org.

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