Fabulous Friends of FHV: Kyra Flummerfelt

The Friends of Hidden Valley (FHV) is proud to call Kyra Flummerfelt one of our Fabulous Friends!  Kyra is a Lawrence girl; she was a registered Brownie and Junior Girl Scout between 1978 and 1981.  She left scouting after the 6th grade, so she did not realize that Hidden Valley Camp was literally down the road from where she grew up. As a girl, her troop leaders were college students who happened to not be interested in camping, so her troop never went. She did not learn about Hidden Valley until she became a leader for her daughter’s troop.  Kyra says, “I probably would have stayed in Girl Scouts had I been with a troop that participated in camping.”  She is still friends with some of the girls from her troop, but that is also because they all went through school together. And her best memories from being a Girl Scout as a child were the Bromelsick Christmas Parties.

As a mom, Kyra become involved in scouting again in 2004, her daughter was in the 3rd grade and needed a troop leader.  She and two other Moms became the troop leaders after their girl’s troop suffered the loss of a fellow scout, Madison. Their Brownie troop leader at that time, for 2nd grade, decided she could not continue after Madison died in a car accident on her way to their troop meeting. So, Kyra and two other Moms took over the leadership. Kyra remembers it being difficult for all, but the girls wanted to continue scouting, in Madison’s memory. Madison’s Mom continued to stay in touch with the troop and regularly bought cookies from them, even as they became Ambassadors in high school.  The troop planted a tree at Hidden Valley and dedicated the little garden in front of the cabin to Madison’s memory.  Kyra says “I was reluctant to take on the job of leader, but I’m so very grateful that I did. Once I took on the role, I started attending the service unit meetings. Our troop had been very active at Hidden Valley before I became leader, so I was very familiar with the camp.”

Kyra was a troop leader from 2004 to 2016.  Her daughter graduated high school in 2014, but she still had 4 younger girls left in the troop that wanted to keep going until their graduation, so she stuck with them. Way to go, Kyra!!

“I had so many wonderful memories with my girls. The first Hidden Valley Day Camp overnight our troop was able to participate in, there was a torrential downpour and the aides had (incorrectly) told the girls to push everything up against the walls of the tents, which caused our tents to become swamped.  I kept waiting for the girls to say they wanted to go home, but they did not.  After sleeping in water all night, I told the girls the next morning, that if they could make it through that night, they could make it through anything and they proved me right. We took trips to Camp Catron in Nebraska City, NE a few times, and the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha and loved it. We did Midnight at the Mall and we took a 17-day trip to 7 countries in Europe.  It was an amazing trip that gave us all so many wonderful memories to hold dear as the girls went on into adulthood.”

Kyra completed each level of basic leader training as her girls advanced, including Camping 101 and 102. She has taken care of the reservations and equipment since 2008. She joined the Lawrence Hidden Valley Camp Board in 2009 and became the Reservations/Equipment Chair. She became the Douglas County Service Unit as the Older Girl Coordinator from 2012 to 2013.  Then in 2013 this position was reorganized and renamed the Troop Coordinator position. In 2019, Kyra became the Welcome Consultant for our Dg Co Service Unit as well.   She has served on the LHVC Board from 2009 to 2014, 2016 to 2021.  After this year, she will take her 2nd 1 year hiatus, but plans to return after her year off. She will continue to be the Reservations/Equipment Coordinator during her year off the board. During all her time on the board, she has also been a member of the Site Committee and the Nominating Committee. She has been the Chair of the Nominating Committee since 2010.

Kyra joined the Challenge Committee when it was created 2009 and was one of the original facilitators for the zipline. She become the Course Manager after Mary Beth Petr left in 2012 and still holds this position. Kyra said “Becoming a Zipline Facilitator was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, as I’m actually afraid of heights, but I love it. Every time I go up to the high platform for the time of the season, I must take a few deep breaths, look out over our beautiful camp and remind myself, I’m hooked into the pole. As soon as the first participant starts to climb the pole, my fear goes away, and I can focus on giving the person a great ride” “I became an Archery Facilitator in 2015, after we installed the archery range. I continue to be an archer facilitator, despite not being a “good shot”. I love helping the girls get to experience these awesome challenge activities.”  She was also on the planning committees for the 50th Anniversary of the Ar-Ka-Loo-Ka Cabin and 60th Anniversary of the camp.

And finally, Kyra has a couple of memories to share with us; “I have spent many hours at Hidden Valley and because of that, have many wonderful memories. It has truly become my happy place. I can honestly say that working at this camp has helped me get through some of the toughest periods of my life. I took on the job of reservations and equipment shortly after losing my mother. Then my dad died five years later, it was once again my place of solace. I am a firm believer that being in nature can soothe your sole and quiet your mind. I remember one visit to camp after my dad passed away. It was chilly out, so I was in my car waiting for a leader to come check out equipment. I had closed my eyes to relax when I suddenly felt “someone” watching me. My car was facing Flag Pole Hill, I opened my eyes, there was a very large buck standing right beside my car looking at me, as if he was checking to make sure I was ok. Of course, I jumped, which startled him, so he ran off.

Anyone that has spent much time at camp knows the cabin has its share of critter visitors over the years, that just keep coming back. At the beginning of one workday, I was helping to open the cabin shutters, along with other volunteers. Just as I open one of the front shutters, we realized that a friendly bat had been napping underneath the shutter. I have the shutter over my head and trying to feel for the hook.  Of course, the little bat was as cute as could be, we were all appreciating how adorable it was. About that time, Cindy Riling snapped a picture of it. Unfortunately, she forgot to make sure the flash was off. So as soon as that flash went off, that bat took off and flew straight at my face.  Luckily, my hand had just found the hook, so I hit the ground.  Poor Cindy felt bad for blinding the bat and causing a near mid-air collision between the bat and my face. We laughed so hard that day and it always make me chuckle when I think about it.

One of my favorite day camp memories was several years ago I was facilitating the high platform on the zipline.  I had a first-year junior climbing the pole and she was so little. She was really having to stretch to reach the staples and by the time she reached me on the high platform, she was sobbing because she was terrified. I reassured her that the climb is truly the hardest and scariest part of zipping, but that if she had reached her challenge limit, that I could get her back down the pole with no problem. She looked down, looked at me, took a deep breath and said “Nope, I need to face my fears”.  And I was so darn proud of her! I hooked her up and off she went. After we were done, I asked her what she thought, and she was smiling ear to ear and said she loved it and wanted to go again.  This, for me is exactly why I love Girl Scouts and Hidden Valley.  Both give the kids the opportunity to try new things, sometimes scary things, that challenge them in a safe environment.

Kyra Flummerfelt is a Fabulous Friend of Friends of Hidden Valley!!!

August 2021 mem & mw