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Located one hour north of Baltimore and covering more than 600 acres of woodland in Cecil County, Maryland, Camp Conowingo is the home base for the Girl Scout camp offered by the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland. It is also a popular destination for Girl Scout troops from the area. Conowingo overlooks the Susquehanna River and is accredited by the American Camping Association.

Camping Areas
There are eight standard camping units at Conowingo, which can be rented from April 1st through the last week in May, and from September 1st until October 31st. All of the units have an open air kitchen shelter with running water and a hygiene station with a series of spigots. No cooking equipment is supplied and all units have a set of latrines as well as a campfire circle.

  • Trailing Pine has room for 28 campers in four Yurts.
  • Laughing Waters has room for 32 campers in four Tipis, two covered wagons, and a small one-room log cabin.
  • Whispering Glen has room for 30 campers in five "glen shelters."
  • Fallen Timber has room for 28 campers in seven platform tents.
  • Rocky Ridge has room for 36 campers in six glen shelters.
  • Bald Eagle has room for 36 campers, who may use nine cabins or the winterized lodge.
  • LaFayette has room for 28 campers in seven platform tents.
  • Heritage has room for 28 campers in seven cabins.
There are also three lodges available from September 1st to the end of May. Thirty-six campers may stay at the Bald Eagle Lodge or the Friendship Circles Lodge, and the Pax Tu Lodge holds 28 campers. The Hemlock Knoll area is also available for primitive-style camping - there is room for 40 campers but groups must provide all of their own tents and equipment. The Bell Manor program center is currently closed for renovations.

Camp Life
For the summer camp, all counselors are carefully trained and at least one per unit is over 21 years old; most have CPR training as well. Meals at the dining hall, while institutional cooking, are carefully planned to be nutritious. All medications must be turned over to the camp's health supervisor. All girls may use the swimming pool, in fact the shower facilities there are the only ones at camp. Campers are evaluated for swimming ability at the start of their session. Level 1 swimmers may play in the three-foot section of the pool; Level 2 swimmers may play up to the eight-foot section of the pool including the water slide, and Level 3 swimmers may use the entire pool, including the twelve-foot well for the diving board. All girls have daily chores, or "kapers" - these include cleaning the latrines, setting tables, and the like. Another daily activity is "Me Time," a quiet period generally after lunch that girls may use to write letters home, read, or talk quietly with their tentmates. A trading post is available at the camp, offering t-shirts, stuffed animals, and similar souvenirs. Campers must turn in their spending money at the beginning of the session, and the camp's business manager keeps track of their purchases. All camp sessions include a variety of activities, including arts and crafts, hiking, and other programs. Some sessions also allow for horseback riding at the camp's stables.

Personal Recollections
I don't quite remember how many times I went to Conowingo, but I know I attended summer camp there for many years and went several times with my own troop. I know the trip always took forever (it wasn't more than ninety minutes), whether I was part of a carpool when the troop went or if I took the bus service that stopped at a few locations in the area before heading to camp. I have a few specific memories from summer camp, and a few that are more hazy. I remember the flag ceremonies every day behind the dining hall on the Shadowbrook side of camp, and I remember failing to learn tennis on the courts behind the flag area, and unsuccessfully trying to stitch together a leather wallet using plastic cord. When I was there - this would be the late 1980s and very early 1990s - Pax Tu was the infirmary, fortunately I don't think I ever ended up there; also there was no trading post that I recall. Most of the Shadowbrook units - I remember staying at Laughing Waters and Whispering Glen - were platform tents at the time, the "yurts" and those are all new additions. I attended one session (they called it "Splash About") that was supposed to be largely swimming-based, but I can't remember if I participated in the polar bear swim. I remembering singing silly songs during the walk from Shadowbrook over to the Chimney Trail side of camp (where the stables are - one year I attended a horseback riding session, I think we stayed in the Bald Eagle unit). There's an old chimney that is the only surviving part of a house that once stood along the trail; nobody seemed to know much about it but we told ghost stories about hearing the cries of a long-dead baby that had been stuffed into the chimney to keep it alive when the house was attacked (nobody ever said who was attacking or why). I don't know much about the Bell Manor building, except that we told more ghost stories about the old manor and its plantation. My mother would probably say I enjoyed camp except for the several times I was miserably homesick, but I have only good memories.


and the back corners of my brain

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