Two Lawrence girls are looking forward to their next "wider opportunity."
Junior high school students Erica Hill and Amber Murphy expanded their horizons this summer, when they took advantage of two Girl Scouts programs. Erica learned more about the Smoky Mountains during "Great Smoky Mountain Adventure," and Amber boarded an authentic covered wagon during "Wagons West."
During interviews last week, the girls explained why they wanted to participate in the Girl Scouts' "Wider Opportunities" programs. Erica and Amber were the only girls from local cadet Troop 700 to go to Wider Opportunities camps this summer.
Erica, an eighth-grader at West Junior High, said she applied for the Smoky Mountain program because of her interest in the outdoors.
"I basically went because I liked what they had to offer," she said. "I really enjoy backpacking and camping."
Erica went backpacking for three days during her adventure in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. She said the group was forced to grab hands and wade across several streams during their backwoods trip in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Erica's group also helped park rangers take a census of deer in the area. Another project was to clean up a stream in the park.
Amber's program in North Dakota focused on the Old West. A ninth-grader at Central Junior High, Amber said she chose the program because of her interest in horses.
Amber said the covered wagon train trip was fun, but she added that the wagon didn't have shock absorbers. Amber's group also attended an American Indian powwow.
Both Amber and Erica said they didn't mind being away from home. Amber said it wasn't her first time away from home, but it was her farthest trip from home.
Amber said she didn't have any trouble finding the right plane she just followed the stream of Girl Scouts in the airport.
Erica and Amber say they hope they are accepted for Wider Opportunities programs next year. The girls had to go through interviews to be accepted for the programs they attended this summer.
Next year, Erica would like to go to a program in Alaska or Utah. Amber's considering a program in Texas.