Girl Scouts meet their match at camp

News-DemocratOctober 20, 2013 

The Girl Scouts talked and laughed while roasting marshmallows and making s'mores. Then it was time to get serious.

Their next activity at Camp Torqua, near Edwardsville, was trying to qualify for the One Match Club.

"It's a hard badge to earn," said Angela Suhre, director of programming for the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois. "You have to light a fire with one match and keep it going for five minutes."

Outdoor Program Manager Jennifer Randolph demonstrated proper technique for the 10 girls from Highland Troop 936 and Dupo Troop 449.

She positioned three sticks in the shape of an A on bare dirt, then stacked smaller sticks and tiny twigs on top.

"Fire needs oxygen," Jennifer said. "So you want to make sure you're not overcrowding it. And you can't use leaves. That's cheating."

The girls collected their own sticks, made A frames, lit matches and held them under the twigs.

Quiet concentration gave way to squeals and groans, depending on whether flames were flaring up or sputtering out. After about 20 minutes, most girls were ready to give up.

"It didn't work," said Rylie Pugh, 10, of Highland. "I didn't hold onto the match long enough. I thought it would burn my fingers. It was hot."

Then came a breakthrough. Tess Wilson's fire looked like it might last, and Highland troop leader Debbie Workman started the timer.

Whenever the fire waned, Tess blew it back to life. Debbie gave the thumbs up after five minutes.

"Yeah!" said Tess, 11, of Highland, throwing both arms in the air. "Do I get my patch now, Miss Debbie?"

The One Match Club challenge had been added to a regular event called "Archery and S'mores" at Camp Torqua. The girls began by shooting at targets with bows and arrows.

Julia Beil, 10, of Highland, was the only one who hit the target 10 times out of 10 shots, including one bull's-eye.

"I'm really happy," she said, noting it was only her third try at archery. "It's awesome. I've never done it before."

Next came s'more-making around a campfire, one of the more familiar Girl Scout activities.

"The only part I don't like is that the smoke blows into your face," said Amanda Penberthy, 10, of Highland.

Jennifer passed out the three s'mores ingredients: marshmallows, graham crackers and Hershey chocolate bars, along with roasting sticks.

Trenity Daugherty's method involved patiently waiting until her marshmallows turned golden brown, then quickly thrusting them into flames for a blackened finish.

"It's the best s'more I've ever made," said Trenity, 10, of Hecker, after taking a bite.

The Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is based in Glen Carbon. For more information on opportunities or activities, call 800-345-6858 or visit gsofsi.org.

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