Jennifer Ingebo Van Vleet

Camp Fire Girls Leader, Mother and Adventurer


  1. Were you in Camp Fire Girls as a young girl? If so, what influence did it have on your life? Yes….. I have very fond memories of being part of CF from a very early age, probably 2-3rd grade. We went on field trips to the big city of Portland, grew up in The Dalles, like the Zoo and Camp Namanu. Our leader was very good at teaching us the basics of sewing, camping, swimming, outdoor survival life………

  1. Why did you decide to become a Camp Fire Girls leader? I always “knew” I would have a daughter, and there was never a doubt that I would have a CF group for her. I want my children to be well rounded and have the lifelong experiences and memories that are available outside the classroom with her friends.

  1. How difficult is it to fit troop leadership into a busy life? VERY! When we started 4 years ago, we would have 2 meetings a month during the school year. We are now down to 4 meeting between start of school to winter break. The girls are becoming busier and therefore harder to have a have a specific day after school reserved only for CF.

  1. What skill sets do you need to be a troop leader? High energy, patience, ability to make the girls comfortable in new experiences- willing to try new things that they may be nervous about. Organization, creativity, enjoy doing crafts, positive attitude.

  1. How do handle so many girls at once? A great co-leader and a parent volunteer at each event. It has gotten a lot easier since they are older now….1-3rd grade was harder to keep on task and move forward together…. Several smaller groups doing different things/stations has been a great trick….

  1. Tell us about your favorite activities? Camp Namanu each spring is always the highlight of the year! We go caroling each December at a convalescent home and do a craft or activity with them. We also go there for an Easter egg hunt in the spring…. A great hike in Forest Park is also very fun for the girls to learn about nature in our back yard. Serving the homeless at the soup kitchen and Oregon Food Bank are our biggest community service outreach each year.

  1. Do you create the different activities or do you have a manual? Both…. We have gotten the meetings to be ½ and 1/2 … We will do something at a home from a book to earn a group of patches, then go on a field trip or walk around the neighborhood on a community service objective.

  1. Do you see the organization having a positive influence on the girls? If so, how? Yes! It just gives them another avenue to explore the outdoors, learn about science in an experiment, help others in need through community service….

  1. What character traits do you try to encourage in the girls and how? Treat others with respect and have a positive attitude. Hard work creates rewards. Take accountability for your actions, celebrate accomplishments and learn from miss-steps.

  1. Why would you recommend becoming a troop leader? It is a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with your daughter and get to know her friends in a unique situation. Helping to make your daughter well rounded is the best gift you can give her. School, sports, music….and Camp Fire are all things that can help develop your daughter to wonderful, sympathetic, caring young lady.