Camp Archbald – never the same experience twice

In the video, Service Unit and Troop Leader Eileen Head and Service Unit Leader Holly Legate describe the benefits girls experience when they take advantage of what Camp Archbald has to offer.

By Catherine Amoriello

In the northern-most part of Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania’s (GSHPA) 30-county footprint lives a camp loved by many – Camp Archbald.

Located in Susquehanna County less than 30 miles from the New York state line, Camp Archbald offers year-round camping opportunities for Girl Scouts and non-Girl Scouts alike. Boasting unique features including Ely Lake and immersive lodging like Treetops cabins, the property offers an escape into nature with a traditional camp feel.

Camp Archbald is the only GSHPA camp property with a lake.

Camp Archbald is a valuable resource to GSHPA volunteers in the northeast. Service Unit and Troop Leader Eileen Head and Service Unit Leader Holly Legate are just two of many volunteers who frequent the property throughout the year. The pair are further invested in the camp as Supporters of Camp Archbald (SoCA), with Head serving as vice president and Legate as board member and program chair.

Over the years, Camp Archbald has provided Head and Legate the dynamic space needed to engage Girl Scouts in a variety of activities. From water sports on Ely Lake, to learning how to cook with cast iron, to winter hikes on the camp’s trails, girls never have the same experience twice.

“It’s such an underutilized resource right now. Like when we say you can do anything here, you can do anything here. You can do arts and crafts. You might not have girls who care about building campfires or learning about animal life, but you can rent a building and do a badge, any badge,” said Legate.

For many troops, Camp Archbald offers a change of scenery. In addition to being able to rent facilities including the Nivert Pavilion, the Lodge, or the Friendship modern lodge, the camp’s spacious lawn is also available. No matter where troops choose to set up camp, the places to explore and the types of experiences they can have are limitless.

“There’s just always something to do [at Camp Archbald]. Even when you plan your Plan A, it’s easy to find a B. Even with no preparation, that pivoting is easy up here.”

Holly Legate, Service Unit Leader (511 and 508)

“I think that’s the neat thing about camp … someone comes to camp for the first time and it’s all new. The next time they come back, it’s because their troop wants to do a certain activity. Then they come back the next time and maybe it’s with their Service Unit where a lot of activities are already themed out for them so they just get to experience everything,” said Head. “They don’t realize it’s the same place. Unlike a basketball court or brick building, they get to do different things each time they come.”

For Girl Scouts like Savannah B., a 13-year-old Cadette from Susquehanna County, Camp Archbald is so much more than a camp property. It is a place where she can be comfortable in the outdoors as a member of a unique tribe of her own.

“[Camp Archbald] is a home away from home, if that makes sense. You have all the love and support you would have if you were with your family without actually having your family. And there’s plenty of activity to keep you busy,” she said.

Head and Legate echo Savannah’s sentiment, believing that majority of the time, they are able to deliver a positive experience to girls at Camp Archbald that has a lasting impact. Whether or not girls realize they are learning and growing at camp, Head and Legate believe there is always a takeaway.

Girls enjoy a dance break during a Girl Fest event at Camp Archbald.

“It’s something you can’t get anywhere else. Coming to camp, being without your parents, having to answer to a counselor versus a teacher or parent. I know a lot of parents have said it really helps kids grow in a way that’s different from school, daycare, or staying with relatives,” said Legate.

“This is where they find who they are and what they want to do. And they want to come back and make sure their little cousin or these other girls get a chance to do it too,” said Head. “It’s like lighting a fire they didn’t know was within them.”

Girl Scout groups and non-Girl Scout groups are welcome to make camp reservations at any of GSHPA’s four camp properties in Adams, Dauphin, Lancaster, and Susquehanna counties. For more information, visit GSHPA’s Camp Property Reservations webpage.

Catherine Amoriello is a Marketing and Communications Coordinator specializing in writing and editing for Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania. Reach her by email at

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