Despite being miles from most Poke Stops and off the digital grid for the week, campers at Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington’s Camp Arrowhead have found a way to get in the game with Pokémon GO – but not in the way you might expect.
Using only a route map and compass, campers adventure through Douglas Firs and around Home Lake in search of hand-drawn versions of their favorite Pokémon characters. The camp-friendly take on the popular game is the brainchild of Arrowhead’s CITs, or counselors-in-training, who designed the story scenarios, set the courses and hid the hand-drawn characters around camp.
Ranging in age from 14-17, the CITs developed this version of the digital craze to help younger campers learn about navigation skills and develop a curiosity for nature. While in search of the characters, each misstep, course correction and target found helps girls improve their sense of direction and navigational abilities (useful at home and in the forest!), and build self-reliance, self-esteem and decision making ability.
“The girls are foremost learning about orienteering, which I personally feel is an amazing life skill to have and very applicable skill in life,” explained CIT Director Jamie. “The secondary skills the girls work on are communication and leadership. Each girl has the opportunity to take charge and lead their group to the spot in their direction and if the group gets confused or misdirected they need to work as a group to backtrack and figure out the directions for their next move.”
Each week, girls who come to camp can choose a few “free time” activities to participate in outside of regular programming. Since its introduction in early July, the game has been an absolute hit.
“This is one of those magical camp moments we work toward,” says Allie McVay, Outdoor Program Manager. “A girl-created, girl-led activity designed by our counselors-in-training that boosts the real-life skills of all girls at camp. It’s an awesome leadership moment for the CITs, and a ton fun for our campers.”