Outdoor Camp Skills
Throughout camp, campers are learning outdoor camp skills such as building a campfire, reading a topographical map, purifying drinking water, cooking on camp stoves, Leave No Trace and more. Campers may choose to participate in earning "camp skill beads" by successfully completing tasks as outlined on Alpengirl camp skill cards. During our end of session awards ceremony, each Alpengirl camper receives a camp keepsake necklace to display the "Camp Skill Beads" that they have earned during the camp session. Regardless if campers earn camp skill beads, each camper receives a necklace and will have at least 3 "Alpengirl Beads" on it for attending camp.
Alpengirl keepsake necklaces are designed to grow by adding more beads each year (or each session) that a camper returns to Alpengirl. Necklaces are for campers to keep as camp mementos for many years to come and the beads will help each person recall all that they gained from their Alpengirl camp experiences.
The 3 "Alpengirl Beads"
The first bead you will receive is the Annual Camp Bead, which represents the year you went to Alpengirl; it’s the signature Alpengirl bead. This bead is LARGER than all the other beads and is always purple in color. Wearing this bead acknowledges that you are not only a part of your immediate Alpengirl group, but are a member of a larger group of all Alpengirls of all time. This bead also acknowledges your accomplishment of joining camp and being a part of the Alpengirl movement – adventuring outdoors: a healthy and physically fit lifestyle choice that campers can continue to incorporate into their daily lives at home.
The next bead is the Camp Session Bead, which represents your immediate Alpengirl group. It’s a unique bead that only members of one group, one year will ever get. For example, if you go to the Montana Yellowstone Adventure session in 2023, only those campers in Montana Yellowstone Adventure in 2023 will have this bead.
The third bead is the Camper Award Bead which represents the award you received at the end of the session. You’ll select this bead for yourself. Wearing this bead acknowledges your personal accomplishments at camp and recognizes your personal strengths. The award bead can serve you for many years in a lifetime of achievements yet to come.
The "Camp Skill Beads"
In addition to the 3 camp beads, you can earn beads of recognition for specific camp skills accomplished at Alpengirl. These "camp skill beads" are additional, optional beads that you can earn by “testing out” on camp specific skills. You can choose to earn these skill beads once you’re at camp.
During the first day or two at camp, your Alpenguides will explain each camp skill and hand out the skill bead cards for you to look over. Typically on day 2 of camp, you'll be asked to announce which bead or beads you are going for. Your Alpenguides will assist you in attaining the skills beads by teaching you what you need to know, but, ultimately, it is up to you to meet the criteria as defined on each skill card. Each skill is designed to be earned in a designated time frame with specific criteria so that earning the bead is able to be accomplished and uniform across the board of all Alpengirl campers and camp sessions.
At the time of this writing, there are 11 Alpengirl Camp Skill Beads:
- Shelter (represented by a Green bead). To earn this bead you do things like sleeping under the stars and building a shelter.
- Fire (represented by a Red bead). To earn this bead you do things like starting a fire and cooking over a fire.
- Water (represented by a Blue bead). To earn this bead you do things that demonstrate how to conserve, protect and purify water.
- Navigation (represented by a Brown bead). To earn this bead you do things that demonstrate your understanding of maps in regards to location, direction, route, time and distance.
- Wilderness First Aid (represented by a Yellow bead). To earn this bead you will do things that demonstrate your understanding of first aid and CPR skills in a wilderness environment.
- Camp Group Living (represented by a Pink bead). To earn this bead you will do things that demonstrate your skills in team building, communication, participation, tolerance and cooperation.
- Yoga (represented by a Purple bead). To earn this bead you will do things that demonstrate your skills in yoga. You'll lead the group in a yoga session, create your own yoga pose, and practice yoga postures with dedication.
- Camp Cooking (represented by a Orange bead). To earn this bead you will do things that demonstrate your ability to safely use camp stoves, your understanding of planning a healthy and balanced group meal and your skills in cooking and serving a meal you made to the group.
- Horsepacking (represented by a Black bead). To earn this bead you will do things that demonstrate your skills in packing and loading mules, tack and saddle usage and on-trail LNT and group leadership skills.
- Backpacking (represented by a Black bead). To earn this bead you will do things that demonstrate your skills in packing and carrying your backpack correctly, backcountry food storing skills, and on-trail LNT and group leadership skills.
- Rafting (represented by a Black bead). To earn this bead you will do things that demonstrate your skills in rigging, paddling, hydrology and LNT and group leadership skills.
Alpengirl encourages fun and fair play with good attitudes in all activities and campers are expected to adhere those ideals in regards to camp skill beads. If a camper doesn't meet all criteria necessary to earn a camp skill bead in the given time frame and under the given circumstances, campers may not earn the bead and are encouraged to continue efforts to earn it in their next camp session.
Bead Replacement Policy
All Alpengirl camp beads are one of a kind for each session and for each year. Therefore, beads can't be replaced if necklaces are lost or broken. For the purpose of maintaining a historical bead record, Alpengirl keeps a museum-like box that contains original beads since Alpengirls inception of bead necklaces for campers.
Returning Campers / Campers Attending Multiple Sessions
If a camper attends 2 camp sessions in the same summer, they will receive the 3 "camp beads" during the 1st session plus additional "camp skill beads" and 2 "camp beads" during the 2nd session plus additional "camp skill beads" - each camper receives only 1 "annual camp bead" per summer. Returning Alpengirl campers are asked to bring their Alpengirl necklaces from a previous Alpengirl camp session with them and we'll add 3 more "camp beads" to it for each new session they attend plus more "camp skill beads" that they earn during the session. Returning campers will receive a new necklace if they forget to bring or lost a previous Alpengirl necklace received.