Member Feature - Deb Toye-Sweppenheiser
Say hello to Deb! She is on SoCA's legal committee. SoCA Speaks Out met with Deb to find out why she's involved in SoCA.
SoCA Speaks Out: Tell us, what year did you join Girl Scouts and what are some highlights of your Girl Scout career?
Deb: I was a Brownie and Junior Girl Scout from 1968 to 1973. I loved going to Girl Scouts after school. The crafts, outside activities and especially doing the rubbings with a thin piece of metal on top of leaves, flowers and bark were my favorites. Cookie selling was also a lot of fun, too! As an adult, the highlights have been the fall and spring clean up days at Camp Archbald. The girls clean up fire pits, collect fallen wood and branches, deep clean Heritage Hall and Schooney Hall.
SSO: What years did you attend Camp Archbald?
D: Unfortunately, I was never able to afford camp when I was a young Girl Scout. I went as a Mom dropping off my oldest daughter in 1993. Her excitement when we stood in the line at Schooney Hall on that Sunday afternoon was evident. Watching the counselors and administrators talking with the girls and parents, I knew she would have a wonderful time. Everyone was so kind and thoughtful to those reluctant young first-time campers and nervous parents during the drop off. I knew right then and there I would do what I could to help her continue going to Camp Archbald, so I became a cookie mom for her troop. I first came to camp as a leader in 2005 when I brought twenty Juniors to a camporee. We all had such a great time hiking, singing songs, cooking over camp fires and doing all kinds of crafts. Our troop went many times through the years.
SSO: What positions did you hold at camp if you were a staff member?
D: I was never a staff member at Camp Archbald. I was a cookie mom, assistant leader, leader and service unit lead. I now have my small boat certification so I can help facilitate boating activities at Camp Archbald.
SSO: Why did you join Supporters of Camp Archbald (SoCA)?
D: I joined SoCA to help Camp Archbald remain a Girl Scout Camp for girls to go to. The only resident camp our council is currently operating is three hours away from my home. I would not have sent my young daughters that far away from home and I am sure many other parents feel that way. In this day and age it is more important for girls to have a safe, nurturing environment to learn about nature, how to become leaders, and how to get along with others. Camp Archbald has everything right there to help girls develop and grow. Girls don't have to leave our camp to swim, boat, zip line, do high ropes, low ropes, the climbing tower and so much more. They are able to stay at the camp where the adults have background checks and the girls safety is first and foremost.
SSO: What is your favorite memory of camp and Girl Scouting?
D: One year we did a flag retirement ceremony. My girls collected tattered and torn flags and we had a ceremonial burning. I was amazed at how solemn and respectful all our Girl Scouts were as we watched the flags burn. After that we sat around the fire and made S'mores and sang camp songs under a beautiful star-filled sky.
SSO: Why is camp important to you?
D: Girls are capable of so much if they are given the opportunities. Camping and hiking around the beautiful outdoors helps girls connect with nature. Seeing a bird building a nest, or the way a tree will grow towards the sun, or even watching a spider build its web, may help spark something in a young girl's mind that may help her decide what path her life will take as an adult. At camp, all girls are given chances to be the leader for their unit if they want. I loved when parents told me that their daughters' time at Camp Archbald made them a little more independent, helpful and self assured.