Zip line adds thrills to Girl Scout camp

Wooden poles frame the future course of a 900-foot zip line that will open at Camp Starwoods near Clearwater this summer.

By Sam Jack


CLEARWATER – A 900-foot zip line, now under construction, will provide chances for local Girl Scouts to test their courage this summer.


The zip line at Camp Starwoods is part of $200,000 in improvements Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland is making to its camps this year. Starwoods, Kansas Heartland’s flagship camp, is located about three miles northeast of Clearwater.


By Friday, four giant wooden poles had been mounted on the lakeshore. Builders will add a high platform and install two zip lines, side by side, leading to a lower platform on the other side of the camp’s lake. 


Zipping down while suspended from a harness will be the main appeal, but as they prepare for that experience, girls will learn about climbing skills such as belaying and rappelling. They will also learn about the scientific principles that underpin the zip line.


“The girls have to learn how to strap themselves in, get their helmets on,” said Muriel Berry, director of communications for Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland. “There will be a certified staff person there to make sure they’re prepared and ready for the fun. They might not even realize it, but along the way, they’ll be learning about the forces and physics of how a zip line works.”


Girl Scout troop leader Angel Graves predicted that some members of Haysville’s Troop 41358 would be ready to strap into a harness, climb a 55-foot tower and soar over the lake when they attend camp at Starwoods this summer.


“We do have some daredevils in our troop, so I believe that if there’s an opportunity, they’ll take it,” Graves said.


Another new attraction coming to Starwoods this summer is an inflatable “blob” in the lake’s swimming area. A summer camp classic, the blob will send adventurous swimmers flying through the air. 


Week-long summer camps at Starwoods had record attendance last summer, and Girl Scouts officials are hoping to attract even more girls as word spreads about new and returning activities.


“Last year out here, I heard from girls who had never been on a nature hike, or who had never gone swimming in a lake,” said Girl Scouts staff member Darcy Gray. “We take pride on reaching the girls that have never really had exposure to the outdoors.”


Gray noted that girls who have not previously been involved in Girl Scouts are welcome to attend the camps.


“This can be your introduction to Girl Scouts. Just bring a friend, come see what it’s all about and have a great time outdoors,” she said.


Summer camp registration opened April 15. The public is invited to an open house at Camp Starwoods on May 22 from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information on camps, Girl Scouts and how to get involved, call 888-686-6468 or visit www.kansasgirlscouts.org.

Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland communications director Muriel Berry looks up at the new zip line structure, still under construction.