Sophia Mense, normally a 12-year-old Cadette Girl Scout from Poolesville, became a computer technician this summer. She lived in the country of Panem and faced a dangerous and ill-favored fate: the Hunger Games.
“I used my computer brain to help me,” she said.
Or so she imagined with a group of her fellow Girl Scouts.
Mense’s alter ego was part of a week-long session of Camp Sunshine in Boyds, in which a group of eight middle-school-aged Cadette Girl Scouts (aka “District 12”) got the chance to explore how they might survive the event at the center of Suzanne Collin’s popular triology.
The girls focused on outdoor survival skills, and even earned a “Hunger Games” badge. The camp’s activities included character assignments, building shelters in the woods, designing the arena where they would compete (an island), and learning first-aid skills such as how to treat insect stings.
The girls also discussed how to overcome certain situations they might face.
One challenge, Mense said, was to figure out how to cross a piranha-infested river.
In the spirit of the book’s main character, Katniss Everdeen, the Girl Scouts took a shot at learning archery.
“I had my side braid going,” said Mense, another characteristic of Katniss.
Ann Robertson, the Girls Scouts’ unit leader, designed the activities for the older girls in the camp.
While she knew the girls were interested in the books, Robertson said “The Hunger Games” became a jumping-off point for discussing real-world topics, including the survival situations of the Chilean miners trapped in 2010 and families who hid in caves during the Holocaust.
“It’s something very modern you can use to draw them into more serious topics,” Robertson said.