BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - At the end of next week, 25 girls in the Baton Rouge area will have had experiences that will send them home with lifelong memories.
They are campers at Girl Scout Camps in Covington and in St. Francisville. Aarons Inc., the company which has 2,000 stores across the country, has donated $50,000 for students through its "Own Your Summer" program. Twenty-five girls in the Audubon Council area have been enjoying camps from June through July using scholarships from Aarons.
"We've always had a legacy of being in the community where our stores are. Recently, through the Aarons Foundation, which we launched a couple of years ago, we've really been focused on at-risk youth. We can invest in the community and a lot of the kids who are the children of our customers, and if they can get the experience for camp for the summer, we wanted to specifically target overnight camps. That's because you could spend the night and get out of your environment, being with different adults, developing independent skills," said Andrea Freeman, a vice president of marketing at Aaron's.
Camp Whispering Pines in Independence and Camp Marydale in St. Francisville both have canoeing, but also have the chance for many of these girls to ride their first horse.
"Horse-back riding is getting a lot of great traction," said Jasmine Hunter with the Girl Scouts Louisiana East. "Through a program at camp called 'Spurs in Training,' the girls learn about horses, work, and grooming them. But they also learn to run different horse programs. They're learning to be a wrangler for troops, and can lead other scouts in learning to ride."
The girls at these camps also learn archery. They have four different sewing camp activities as well.
"They've had a blast. I was sent over pictures of the canoeing, team-building activities," Hunter said.
Some might be taking a bold leap with six ropes to hold her up, to build confidence.
"One girl who came to the camp told us she faced her fears. We want the girls to have that support environment and lose their fears," Hunter said.
The goal is for teenage girls to head home with lifelong memories of fun out in nature. These camps are in wooded areas and they are beautiful. Corporate sponsorships like Aaron's can make the experience possible for girls who may not have ever had the chance.