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Thin Mints, Tagalongs and intentionality in the outdoors

Maddy Kane loves the outdoors and now, the Girl Scouts. Kane spent the summer in the mountains of Utah, a change from Chicago, Illinois, where she’s from, interning with the Girl Scouts.
Kane, a senior outdoor education and leadership major, spent the summer at a Northern Utah Girl Scout Camp.
(Photo Courtesy: Maddy Kane)

Maddy Kane loves the outdoors and now, the Girl Scouts. Kane spent the summer in the mountains of Utah, a change from Chicago, Illinois, where she’s from, interning with the Girl Scouts. 

Kane, a senior outdoor education and leadership major, loves that the program puts intentionality behind being outdoors. Transfer student Riley Hayes, fellow outdoor education and leadership major, echoed many of the sentiments that Kane expressed and stated that it is best to “jump in and try as many new things as possible” when it comes to outdoor education and leadership program. 

With graduation imminent, Kane hopes to work with young women in an outdoor setting in the near future.

The Forum sat down with Kane to talk about her summer with the Girl Scouts and the lessons she learned, sometimes while eating Girl Scout Cookies, from girls much younger than herself. 

Q: What was a day in your life like while working with the Girl Scouts?

A: I was the high adventure director, which is a big fancy title which just means that I was in charge of everything outdoors at this particular girl scout camp. I would set up the wall, which took about 10 minutes to do and then would run two-hour long sessions with the girls who were anywhere from 6 to 17 years old. Daily tasks included keeping up with safety procedures, making sure the staff under me was doing their jobs and making sure that everyone had the correct gear. It was a lot of managing other people.

Q: How did you find out about it?

A: I applied for a different job with them that was actually labeled as an internship, that I found through Indeed. Halfway through applying for that I received an email from the director of the camp who said that the internship position had already been filled but that she wanted me to apply to the high adventure director position. Which actually ended up being a much better fit for me.

Q: How was it having to be so engaged all the time?

A: As I mentioned before, I’m kind of an introvert. With that being said, I think it’s hard for anyone. There is such a difference in the level of energy from a 10-year-old kid and being an adult. It’s a job, and you do it and get it done and it’s fun and hard but at the end of the day, it’s fun.

Q: What is the Outdoor Leadership and Education program all about?

A: It’s a relatively new program to Westminster. It’s really fun and is exactly what it sounds like. It’s educating people on how to lead people outdoors. It’s education with a twist.

Q: Did the program give you the tools needed to be able to do the internship?

A: Definitely. I was a TA last May Term for a climbing class which taught me so much about how to actually work with people at different skill levels. On top of that, I have taken so many classes that I knew taught me valuable things. It’s more than just teaching how to climb. It’s balancing safety all while teaching them perseverance and how to challenge themselves. Most kids are afraid of heights. At least 70% of the kids I worked with would say, ‘I’m scared of heights’ and I would say, ‘That’s fine as long you’re going to try and push yourself outside of your comfort zone a little bit.’ That’s the kind of thing that you learn to anticipate and learn how to work with. The program definitely got me ready for that role.

Q: What was the most challenging part of the role?

A: Getting anyone to do something that they are uncomfortable with, when it’s something that you’re super comfortable with, can be challenging. Putting yourself into the mindset of someone who A) is younger than you and B) is scared of something that you’re not scared of is challenging, but you have to do that to help the kids actually get something out of it.

Q: What was the most rewarding aspect?

A: The most rewarding aspect is when a kid that you worked with writes you a note at the end of the week and tells you that you really helped them overcome a fear or helped them to feel really safe. That’s one of those little moments when you’re like. ‘Oh yeah, that’s why I do this.’


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Madison Hales is a senior communication major. She enjoys being a part time vegan, shoe shopping and spending time with her grandmother. Madison is eager to use the skills she has acquired in the real world.

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