Tales from Girl Scout's 'Camp CEO'

Reston Limousine CEO and President Kristina Bouweiri participated in Girl Scout Camp CEO this summer.

Source: www.gscnc.org

The camp is a unique mentorship program that matches teen girls with powerful, successful female executives in the Washington, DC area. Kristina took a moment to share her thoughts about the wonderful experience at Camp Winona in Hughesville, MD:

A Surprise Twist—What I Learned at Girl Scouts Camp CEO

This summer I had the honor of being invited to Girl Scouts Camp CEO by Lidia Soto Harmon, CEO of the Girl Scout organization. Arriving at camp on August 7,

Kristina Bouweiri

I joined a group of about 25 Scouts and 10 counselors and staff members at an outdoor  amphitheater where a panel of four CEOs was relating their life stories. Following their presentation was a question and answer session. The high level of interest and outgoing nature of the campers struck me. They were taking advantage of every opportunity to learn from the CEOs.


At the conclusion of the “Inspirational CEO” session, we headed to the cafeteria for a class on making and canning salsa. I got to make salsa also! We were taught how to cut safely and mix delicious ingredients, most of them grown at the camp’s garden.


After lunch we had three activities, with the first being an inspirational hike through a forest. Each person had his or her name on a piece of paper with string. We were to look for a tree that inspired us, relate why, and then tie our name on the tree. As I walked through the trees I reflected on my life and could not remember the last time I had a relaxing walk through a forest. I made a mental note to start exercising more and to take more time out of my busy schedule to “smell the roses!”


The girls also had great moments of inspiration. I was so impressed with their thoughts, character, and excitement with this exercise. After each girl stopped and told the group what inspired her, the other Scouts would relate the inspiration to a current popular song and the entire group would start singing.   I could not believe how well they could sing or how well they were able to relate the inspiration to a song, and I was deeply moved by this experience. Included in the songs were “Lean On Me,”   “We Are Family,” and “You Are So Beautiful.”


Our next session was creating a piece of art using color and inspirational words, followed by an hour spent with some animals at the nature house. It was hot and muggy and I was excited that our next session involved basket weaving IN THE POOL! We all got into our bathing suits and were taught how to make baskets. I was very impressed with myself that I was able to figure it out and create something in about an hour.

2012 is Year of the Girl

Dinner was next and we were served a Thanksgiving-style meal of turkey, potatoes, green beans, and pumpkin pie. You sure have a hearty appetite when trying to keep up with the Girl Scouts! After dinner the Scouts sang and did some skits. When the girls were excused, the CEOs stayed behind to plot the inspirational track for the next day.   Lidia Soto Harmon led the discussion and brought out more snacks and goodies for us.


It was incredible meeting the other CEOs. We had Mozella Pademilyui, a poet, writer and storyteller, Angela Avant, Managing Director of KPMG, Natalie Givans, EVP of Booz Allen, Stephanie Linartz, head of Global Marketing for Marriott, and more!


On the first day I was hot, bothered, and exhausted, but inspired. I made a mental note that I would never do this again! My cabin was far away and I had to walk half a mile to the bathroom. I was really worried that I was going to be up all night and not be able to sleep. Well, guess what? I slept like a baby. The weather cooled off and there was  a nice breeze. Apart from getting up in the middle of the night and not being able to find my glasses or shoes and having to walk to the bathroom with a flashlight, I had a good night.


I woke up in the morning energized, excited to be there, and ready to be on my panel of CEOs to inspire the girls. After a great breakfast of French toast, we went back to the amphitheater for our presentation. By the end of my 36 hours at Camp Winona, I decided not only did I want to return in 2013, but also I would like to do this every year.   I felt that what I gained from the experience, the girls, and the other CEOs, far surpassed what I was able to give to the group. I was the true winner, walking away from this experience blown away by the courage, confidence, and character of these girls knowing they are going to make the world a better place.


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