Clayton News-Star

Johnston Girl Scout camp readies for summer

A Girl Scout cadette takes on the Challenge-by-Choice Alpine tower at Camp Mary Atkinson.
A Girl Scout cadette takes on the Challenge-by-Choice Alpine tower at Camp Mary Atkinson. N.C. COASTAL PINES GIRL SCOUTS

Girls sing songs like rock stars by the campfire, swim like fish in the lake and channel their inner-outdoor adventurer when attending Girl Scout summer resident camp.

Whether a girl is looking for a week of adventure or a day of exploring, Girl Scout Camp offers something for every girl – horseback riding, swimming, learning to surf or sail, science and photography, hiking the Appalachian Trail and much more.

“Camp is where a girl can explore the outdoors and fall in love with all it has to offer,” said Deanna Ludwick, senior camp and program director for Girl Scouts of the N.C. Coastal Pines. “She will try new things, make new friends and build confidence to reach her potential.”

Ludwick is director of Camp Mary Atkinson in Johnston County, where girls can play sports in the new airnasium, take part in the challenge-by-choice Alpine Tower, canoe and paddle board, swim in a zero-entry swimming pool and slide down the 10-foot water slide into the lake.

Camp Mary Atkinson is also home the council’s Leadership Center, which has an air-conditioned dining hall, stage and technology center.

The Girl Scout Leadership Experience is central to the camp program, and through activities and experiences, girls gain skills to become leaders who are inspired to make the world a better place.

This year’s camp sessions include opportunities for girls to earn Red Cross first aid, CPR and babysitting certifications. They can also become a camp counselor-in-training. Girls in grades 7-12 can have a more adventurous camping experience hiking in the Pisgah National Forest, rafting the river rapids of West Virginia and even learning to surf at Kure Beach.

“For over a century, the outdoors has been a cornerstone of Girl Scouting,” said Lisa Jones, chief executive of Coastal Pines Girl Scouts. “Spending time outdoors is an excellent way for girls to explore leadership, to build skills trying new activities, and to develop a deep appreciation for nature all while building friendships and having fun.”

In addition to Camp Mary Atkinson, Coastal Pines Girl Scouts operate Camp Graham in Vance County and Camp Hardee in Beaufort County. All three are accredited by the American Camp Association, a national organization that sets high standards for the health and safety of campers and staff and the delivery of quality programs.

This summer will mark 20 years for Ludwick working with Girl Scout summer camps. Known as “Coach” to her campers, Ludwick provides structure, guidance and supervision for the camp and ensures Girl Scouting offers a safe and healthy camp experience for all girls. When asked her favorite thing about camp, Ludwick said, “It is a tie between campfires and songs.”

Camp is open to girls ages 5-17; girls do not have to be a registered Girl Scout to attend. A typical week-long camp costs $275; girls who are not members of Girl Scouts pay an additional $50 fee. Financial aid is available by request.

Girl Scouts will also offer a day camp at Camp Mary Atkinson the week of Aug. 10-14.

To learn more about Girl Scout camp, call 919-782-3021 or visit to view available camp sessions and programs.