S'Mores, America's traditional campfire treat, were the focal point at Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park Aug. 10 during the Girls Scouts of Central California South's S'Mores Festival.
More than 100 Girl Scouts, between eight and 18 years of age, and their troop leaders came from five counties (Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern) to make friends, enjoy a new experience and gather 14 recipes, all featuring marshmallows, chocolate, and yes, Girl Scout cookies.
All the girls had the opportunity to make the traditional treat in a non-traditional way — roasting their marshmallows in solar funnel cookers and solar pizza box ovens.
All the scouts had the opportunity to tour the historic buildings at Fresno Flats and watch an authentic blacksmith and printer perform their jobs.
Troops came from Ridgecrest, Bakersfield, Strathmore, Visalia, Hanford, Clovis, Fresno and Madera for the event.
Marilyn Deean, chief resource development officer for Central California, said major events like the S'Mores Festival are held throughout the five counties to bring girls together to stress the importance of making friends.
"We tell the girls how important it is to make friends locally, nationally and globally and that they are part of a big sisterhood," Deean said. "A Fresno troop that disbanded 47 years ago, recently had a reunion in Fresno and 11 women from the original troop came from throughout the Central Valley as well as San Diego, Seattle and Idaho, to reconnect."
"Oakhurst is a cute, cozy town and our scouts have never been here before," said Sabrina Stolting, the leader of Troop 2486 of Bakersfield for five years. "In addition to being a fun day, our girls were able to see friends that have not seen for a while and we all learned some history of the area from the nice people at Fresno Flats."
All the attendees received a Madera County patch to add to their five-county council patch on their Girl Scout vests.
Jessica Star, 12, is starting her seventh year in Girl Scouts, earning many badges including drawing, cooking, music, gardening and digital photography.
"My favorite activity is camping and the campfire stories," Star said.
Makayla Jeffris, 9, said the best part of the day was making S'Mores in a solar oven and making a S'Mores banana boat.
"Our program aims to give girls access to life-changing experiences that enable them to reach their full potential with programs that teach life skills and leadership," said Deean. "The program is not only fun, but offers great educational opportunities."
Deean explained girls are taught science, technology, engineering and math.
"We want to empower girls to imagine themselves in those kinds of careers," Deean said.
Girl Scouts of Central California South serves more than 10,000 girls and 3,000 adult volunteers.
Deean said that golfers who would like to support Central California Girl Scouts can register for the 16th Annual Cookie Classic Golf Tournament on Sept. 13 at Riverbend Golf Club in Madera. Details: (800) 490-8653, girlscoutsccs.org.
Campfire S'Mores Banana Boats
Prep time five minutes - total time 15 minutes - Makes four servings.
- 4 bananas
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
- 1/2 cup crushed Golden Grahams cereal.
- Cut 4 (12-inch) sheets of foil.
Make deep lengthwise cuts along inside the curve of each banana, being careful not to cut all the way through. Open slit to form a pocket.
Fill each Banana with 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons marshmallows and 2 tablespoons cereal.
Wrap each banana in foil, making sure that the foil opening is on top. Using tongs, set wrapped bananas in coals of campfire or on a barbecue. Cook 8 to 10 minutes. Carefully remove from fire and peel back foil.