As a troop leader, you know how important it is to get girls off their phones and outside into nature; but the expense of taking a troop camping for the first time can be daunting. The good news is that you don’t have to spend all your cookie money on equipment if you shop in the right places. If you are not sure where to begin, here are some possible locations to find the camping equipment you need.
Start looking in the most obvious place first: your garage. You might have some old sleeping bags, a tent or even a propane stove that you have completely forgotten existed. Even if you are positive you do not have any actual camping equipment, you may own various golf tournament raffle prizes such as outdoor chairs or coolers that you could use. Once you have looked through your own items in storage, ask other troop parents to do the same.
Check the newspaper for yard sales and make a day of visiting as many as possible. Try to target wealthier communities early in the day because good items will sell fast. When purchasing a used tent, ask to see it set up so you can determine whether any parts are damaged. A missing shock cord does not have to be a deal-breaker, because tent poles are simple to repair.
Other Girl Scout troops can be invaluable resources for your own. The period from May to August is the best time to contact your local council to inquire about troops that are disbanding. Troops whose girls are finishing their senior year of high school are especially likely to donate or sell their equipment to you, as are those breaking up for other reasons.
Online Classified Ads
People who dislike holding yard sales often opt to sell or give away items online. Platforms like Craigslist, Nextdoor, and Letgo are just a few of the many Internet classified ads to check. There is no reason to be afraid to use them as long as you employ common sense. For example, always take a friend with you to pick up the item, and meet the seller in a public location.
Remember, you don’t have to buy top-of-the-line, color-coordinated equipment for your first camping trip. Twenty years from now, the girls will only remember how much fun they had camping and not how much their tents cost.