RV community

Girl Camper Organization

Hi, Michelle here from “Rollin’ On TV” and we’re staying at a campground called Camp Taylor in Columbia, New Jersey.  We just bumped into someone we’ve been trying to bump into for a while, Janine Pettit. I messaged Janine yesterday and I said, “We’re going to New Jersey to camp for our first night on our cross-country trip,” and then what happened?

Janine: And then I said, “Well, how far away are you?” And you say, “Yeah, I’m 130 miles from Columbia, New Jersey.” The Girl Campers are up here this weekend. We’re having a gorgeous fall campout. Come on down. We’ll make you feel at home.

Girl Camper is an organization that really helps women get out there. Our tag line is we– “Going Places and Doing Things.” But, now you’re looking at all the girl camping groups out there, right? There’s the Mitten Kittens and the Getaway Gals and all these groups and I thought, you know what, there’s all these women and they’re looking at other groups on Facebook and they’re going, “This looks like so much fun but how do I get started?” I noticed that nobody was really educating women on safety with the RV.

I was observing and I saw all these women just buying vintage trailers, hitching ’em up, no idea what they weighed, no idea of their condition, not having them inspected, you know? So I thought, “I want women to do this but I want ’em to do it safely.” So I started creating content that had to do with the safety of girl camping and then I started a weekly podcast, I just recorded episode 190 ranging in topics from what is gross vehicle weight rating and why is it important to how do I meet girls to go camping with? And just interviews with women who had the dream and did it. Just so inspiring to other women so we created Girl Camper as a means for people to find other people to camp with and to mainly just be safe, create an educational component to the whole girl camping world.

Michelle: Last night around the campfire we met three ladies, three girl campers. One had a regular minivan and she said, “I was so inspired by Janine’s podcasts. It’s a matter of just go and do it in whatever you have.” And another one has a truck with a tent set up, planning on an RV. It’s–don’t wait ’til you get the perfect vehicle. Just do it.

Janine: So I don’t want people to have the impression that if you’re gonna be a girl camper, you’ve gotta have some tricked-out vintage trailer with all the bells and whistles or some big class A motorhome. If you wanna be outdoors we want you to come and we don’t want you to wait. So this woman with the minivan, you’re talking about. Her name is Laureen and she had written me a letter. She said, “I’m raising kids. I don’t have any money for a trailer. Can you suggest something?”

We always try to choose a campground in which there are cabins for rent. If there are no cabins, I say, “Do you have a minivan?” She said, “Yes.” I said, “Well, throw all the seats out of it, put a twin bed in it and just come.” There’s no perfect timing. Just come. So her husband surprised her. He wanted her to do this so badly. She’s just a great mom. She was also taking care of her mom with Alzheimer’s. She needed respite time. And there is so much in the power of female friendships and just getting away for a weekend with the girls. Not being responsible for feeding people, just sitting around the campfire. And her husband, he got that. He surprised her and took her up to Cabelas, outfitted the whole inside of that minivan with a cot and bedding and a camp stove and a E-Z UP and she joined us and she camps with us five or six weekends a year now and it’s just rejuvenating.

Michelle: Janine, I hear there’s something new coming along with Girl Camper.

Janine: What I did is I took Girl Camper and we recreated Girl Camper chapters. So now we have the Girl Camper Front Range in Colorado and the Texas Girl Campers and the Ohio-West Virginia and New Jersey and Pennsylvania and Delmarva, Virginia, Florida. And these Girl Camper chapters are going to help mentor women in their area because we’re educational and also they are the experts in tourism for their area. So if you decide, “I’m gonna go visit the Rocky Mountains,” get on to Girl Camper Front Range, you can find out where to camp, where to rent things, where to get something repaired, all the information.

And all of our girls are creating their own content and their own stories, and they’re picking up the slack because I can’t be everywhere – girlcamper.com will be where all these places will be tied together. In addition to telling all about their area, they’re also reviewing gear and talking about whatever kind of trailers they tow, all kinds of great RV information as well.

Michelle: What’s next for you?

Janine: I am heading your way this year because everyone is always talking about Quartzsite, Quartzsite, Quartzsite. That’s where the whole RV world goes in January and I’m going this year. My good friends over at Lance Truck Campers, are giving me a truck camper and I’m gonna tool around down there. Hopefully, I can twist your arm and you will go with me down to Quartzsite. I’m gonna take that Lance 650 on a Ford F-150 diesel and I’m gonna do Quartzsite and that whole area.