Outdoor Adventures -- Instructor Bios
Ginny Barrs learned to backpack in her favorite backcountry area, the California Sierra Mountains, as a young Girl Scout. She passed her love of backpacking to her two sons and, after they were grown, began training girls and adults in wilderness hiking and backpacking.
Ginny has worked on developing the backpacking program with other trainers for nearly ten years. She also coordinates backpacking trips with other Girl Scout councils, including a trip to Shenandoah Park in the Appalachian Mountains.
Ginny's greatest joy is watching as girls absorb ideas from their training. She grew up in Girl Scouting and believes Juliette Low meant for scouting, like the outdoors, to be challenging. "Challenges are what make us grow," she says.
After more than 30 years hiking and backpacking through the wilderness, Valerie Ross values the top-notch skills, knowledge and good judgment necessary for all outdoor adventurers.
As a Girl Scout council backpack trainer, she feels it's her responsibility to pass along hard-earned outdoor wisdom to girls and adults so that they, too, can walk through any wilderness in the world feeling competent and self-assured in their ability to make good outdoor decisions.
Val is Wilderness First Aid certified, and has been training Girl Scouts to hike and backpack for about 15 years — since her youngest daughter was a Girl Scout Daisy. She has thru-hiked the John Muir Trail, trekked through the New Zealand Alps, tramped the English countryside and explored the wilds of Alberta, Canada, but her most beloved hiking destination is California's High Sierra Range. Her favorite place for a sunset — Evolution Valley in Kings Canyon National Park.
Sharmaine Hamilton (Camp Name: Rocky) learned to backpack as a member of her East County Girl Scout, and now she shares the traditions she learned with girls. Some of her most memorable trips were backpacking in Mt. Laguna (using her Girl Scouting-learned skills) to hike out during a freak snow blizzard in the 70s) and in Arizona's Havasupai Falls.
Sharmaine has been a trainer with Girl Scouts for about two years and with the backpacking program for about a year. She has backpacked with girls in Mt. Laguna, Anza-Borrego, Catalina and the Appalachian Mountains in New Hampshire. Sharmaine loves to share the joy of "getting away from it all" with Girl Scouts and watching them explore and "disconnect" from the electronic world.
Sharmaine leads an active Senior troop that began together as Daisies. She is Wilderness First Aid and Challenge Course certified.