Welcome to the Girl Camper podcast. I’m Lesa McDermott, and today’s episode features Bonnie Shafto, an original Girl Camper guide and Girl Camper’s event manager. Bonnie will discuss how to become a Girl Camper and highlight the Girl Camper events. Bonnie’s journey with Girl Camper began five years ago in Texas, where she started planning camping trips before moving to New Mexico. She and the Girl Camper Guides organize events, including international trips.

Typical Events

A typical Girl Camper event spans a weekend, beginning Thursday afternoon with setup and communal dinner, followed by activities like kayaking and hiking on Friday and Saturday. Sundays are for relaxing with breakfast before heading home. These events cater to diverse women, including those widowed, divorced, married, or new to camping. The emphasis is on camaraderie and the shared love of camping, regardless of experience.


Girl Camper’s annual signature event, Camporee, differs from other events as it’s a national gathering that moves locations each year. It includes activities like craft classes, RV tech sessions, and a fun capture-the-flag game. This year’s Camporee, held in the Russian River Valley, California, hosted around 120 women. Highlights included a silent auction benefiting the Hold You Foundation, which supports families with sick or injured children.

How To Join

To join Girl Camper, visit girlcamper.com, fill out a safety form, and pay a one-time fee. Members can join any event nationwide. The organization strives to empower women through camping, emphasizing that there is no wrong way to camp like a girl. Most events are women-only, fostering a comfortable, inclusive environment. Pet-friendly policies vary, with safety and convenience in mind.

Girl Camper continues to expand, with state chapters and guides in about 30 states. Prospective members can connect with local guides and join Facebook groups to build connections before attending events. This approach ensures friendly faces and a welcoming community for all Girl Campers.

To join Girl Camper and see current events, visit the event’s page here.

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