Snow has begun to fall here in Washington, DC. It’s the first of the season and forecast to be “significant,” which in our Nation’s Capital means about two inches.

Of course, it is still 2020, which means anything could happen, such as rabid polar bears floating downward from the heavens.

This makes today the perfect time to bring out one of my favorite entries in the “what’s the worst that can happen?” file.

Once upon a time, a troop of Intermediate Girl Scouts went to Camp Potomac Woods for a cozy weekend trip. It was February (February 1958, to be precise) and bound to be cold, but the hardy girls were staying in a lodge, not tents, and they would have an oil furnace to keep everyone toasty.

The girls of Troop 163 hauled their gear and rations to the lodge Friday night, made dinner and turned in for bed, after copious cups of cocoa, of course.

Saturday morning, everyone was up early. The absolute, best thing that can happen on a camping trip was right outside the lodge. SNOW!



The girls had a blast. They had dressed for February and spent the day outside. They made snow balls and snow Scouts. After dinner, the leaders sent them off to bed, but nobody could sleep. There was SNOW outside!

Each girl had brought a cup on a string as a standard part of their mess kits. Not only could these fine implements be used for cocoa, they could be silently tossed out a window and drug back in … full of snow … for an indoor snowball fight! Little sleeping was done that night.

Before the sun was up on Sunday the girls were praying that they would be snowed in another day.

But that was going to be a problem, as they’d only brought food for a two-night stay.

Mrs. Steeger and Mrs. Smith, the leaders, conferred with the camp’s resident caretaker. After several phone calls, they learned that the road to the camp, located in Lucketts, Virginia, was impassible.

What to do?

Relax, these are GIRL SCOUTS were are talking about. A group trained to be level-headed and resourceful.

They did what anyone would do in similar circumstances.

They called the US Army.

Helicopter pilots W.C. Hampton and Raymond Bowers flew in from Ft. Belvoir, alighting in a field partly cleared by the caretaker.

The troop was too large to all fit, so the pilots made two runs, taking all of 15 minutes each.

, Girl Scout History Project
Troop 163 Evacuates Camp Potomac Woods (GSCNC Archives)

Safe on the ground, they posed for photos with their rescuers, before heading home.

You know they had a great story to tell their friends at school.

, Girl Scout History Project
Safe on the ground with their rescuers (GSCNC Archives)

9 responses to “Snowy Days at Camp”

  1. Wow! I wonder if the Army would do that rescue today?

  2. While I was from So. CA, a friend and I were hired to work at a GS camp in Montana, “Scoutana.” Both summers that we worked there it snowed, once even enough that we could make snowmen and have a snowball fight! Among staff and CIT, there were about y of us from CA and we were the ones out playing in the snow, though we did NOT have appropriate gear. We ended up bringing mattresses and sleeping to the dining hall for a giant slumber party, since we were NOT in heated shelters in the units. Very memorable!

  3. Great story!

  4. Lovely share and reminds me that we should have a foot of snow by now and do not here in west Central Wis or GSNWGL.

    My favorite camping trips with my troops have been in winter and not summer to.e.

    1. Ann,
      You have such amazing archives, and you know what you have! I just love “snow scouts.” What a great story. As always, thanks for sharing!

      1. Thanks, Gayle!!

  5. This is a great story. My troop was plowed out of camp by Amish horse drawn plows after 17″ fell overnight.

  6. What a fabulous story! Immense fun for them and a story to tell for generations.
    Also, *love* “rabid polar bears floating downward from the heavens” 😉

  7. Thanks, happy times for sure….🤗

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