STEM-Centered Camp Trivera Offers Girl Scouts New Urban Adventures
The Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma is more than a troop of girls who sells our favorite cookies each spring. Through leadership programs, skill building and outdoor adventures, Girl Scouts live their mission of promoting courage, confidence and character.
When the Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma sold their previous camp due to a turnpike relocation project, the opportunity arose to build a new camp tailored to their STEM-centered educational program and mission.
The Girl Scouts wanted the new camp to function in two main ways:
1) to promote outdoor activities connecting the Scouts directly to nature
2) to encourage the exploration of STEM-centered education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
Camp Trivera was designed by a REES team comprised mostly of women architects and designers… and many of these women were former Girl Scouts! We were honored to create a vibrant camp that continues the Girl Scout mission and encourages girls to become interested in STEM.
(Pictured) A few of REES’s initial concepts for Camp Trivera.
Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma
Non-profit, Education, Hospitality
Lingo Construction Services
Civil & MEP Engineer
Howard Fairbairn Site Design
Creating the Girl Scouts’ Vision
Camp Trivera is tailor-made for the Girl Scouts and with the help of the Girl Scouts. To help create the design narrative of their new camp, REES hosted multiple listening sessions with a sample of the local Girl Scouts’ 14,000 girls, staff and volunteers. It was extremely important that our team understand how the new camp should promote the STEM focus. It was also important to our client that the design process for Camp be a hands-on learning opportunity for young scouts.
Bunk Rooms Inspired by The Girl Scouts
The Girl Scouts played an integral role in the design process. One of the areas where their input was most important was the bunk rooms located on the second floor of the Lodge. During a design session, young Girl Scouts imagined their dream bunkroom themes, from caverns to whimsical forests to chemistry labs. These wishes were brought to life with custom-made wall coverings and activity walls.
It was during focus group sessions that the girls indicated privacy was most important when it came to lodging. Each bunk bed features its own curtain, light and outlet. To make the experience more fun (and to keep the girls from feeling homesick), the exterior of each room is fashioned to look like a house. Each room is outfitted with its own roof, porch light and mailbox.
Sleeping Beneath the Stars
The Girl Scouts’ Astronomy Club created constellations using tiny light bulbs to create a planetarium-like ceiling in the common areas of the second floor. The constellations were later placed by hand by an electrician in a field of fiber optic lights.
Animal Trail Placement
During construction, the Girl Scout girls put their hard hats on and plotted where to place animal footprints along the walking trails.
“Everything I’ve learned from helping design and build Camp Trivera has helped shape what I may want to do in the future.”– Girl Scout, Lily Thompson
Location perfectly suited to outdoor education
Our team completed a comparative site analysis at the beginning of the project to determine the perfect location for the Girl Scouts’ future camp. Ultimately, the Girl Scouts decided on a 19-acre site in Oklahoma City’s Adventure District. Camp Trivera’s proximity to the Oklahoma Zoo and Science Museum opens the opportunity for collaborative and educational efforts with the Girl Scouts. The heavily-wooded site located off Northeast Lake is a prime location for on-site excursions including kayaking, camping, hiking or propelling across an 800-foot zipline.
Camp Trivera takes full advantage of its natural surroundings. The Girls Scouts took great effort in preserving trees during construction when they worked with the Oklahoma Forestry Service to identify and tag which trees to retain and which to remove.
Two nature trails wind their way through the grounds past several natural springs – one of which was discovered during construction. Passing through a butterfly garden planted with local flora and fauna, the scenic trails lead to a lake-facing amphitheater fit to accommodate up to 250 people. Nestled into the land’s natural topography, the Hawk’s Landing Amphitheater features two wood-burning fire pits fittingly named “Make New Friends Firepit” and the “Brownie Smile Firepit”.
Three post oak treehouses are featured on the property giving the girls a place to camp without running water or electricity.
At the center of the camp is the main lodge, decorated with the unmistakably-Trivera, triangular emblems. Housed in the lodge are administrative offices, a flexible 350-seat event space, a STEM classroom, a refashioned trading post upcycled from a rusted trailer, a covered porch and three fireplaces. Bunk-style rooms and comfortable community living areas are found on the second floor.
A covered outdoor patio offers expansive views of the campgrounds. A two-story stone wall is the focal point of the patio with one side boasting both a gas- and wood-burning fireplace while the other side features a boulder wall the Girl Scouts can climb without a harness.
Design doubles as educational tool
Camp Trivera is one of eight STEM Centers of Excellence within the Girls Scouts U.S. system. By 2025, it is projected Camp Trivera will help foster 2.5 million girls into STEM-focused careers. Many of these girls will likely get to work in Oklahoma City, as bioscience and aviation continue to grow in employment opportunities (Oklahoma STEM positions are expected to grow 8% by 2027).
Throughout the Camp, intentional design features play an active role in educating the Girl Scouts about STEM. Some STEM-inspired design features include:
A Real Life Lesson in Engineering and Architecture
One distinct feature throughout the Camp is exposed ceilings showing everything from duct work to electrical cables. This intentional design is meant to teach the girls about engineering, architecture and why buildings are designed the way they are. All the air systems are labeled so the girls will know how each one is connected. In this safe room, concrete walls remain exposed to display safety features.
Brick Layers Illustrating Earth Science
Outwardly, exterior bricks may appear to be laid in an ornamental fashion, but they are strategically layered to represent the different geological strata found in Oklahoma – a literal geology lesson right on the wall. Just inside the main lobby, a rock, mineral and fossil collection only heightens the earth science lesson.
A Tribute to Vanguards of STEM
Found within the main entrance, the interactive “Wall of Women” celebrates trailblazing women in STEM fields. As Girl Scouts scan various objects in Wall’s shelves, notable women in STEM flash onto the screen. This focal point praises excellence, innovation and wisdom. It is meant to inspire the Girl Scouts, campers and all visitors to Camp Trivera.
Hands-On Study in Simple Machines
Within the main lodge, a pulley system helps campers transport their luggage to bunk rooms on the upper level, while learning principles of physical science.
Climbing the Earth’s Crust
The focal point to the large Gathering Place is a floor-to-ceiling, brightly colored rock wall. As Girl Scouts climb up the rock wall, decorative labels identify the geological strata – the various rock layers in the earth’s surface.
Prisms of Light Teach Optics
Adjacent to the rock wall is a colored glass wall featuring hues most associated with nature. The glass wall is designed to transform the large gathering room into different colors throughout the day – all dependent on the time of day when the sun hits the different glass panels.
Spurring Creativity in STEM Lab
This open classroom setting features bright colors and floor-to-ceiling windows. The bright colors are meant to joyfully inspire the girls to create in innovate. The huge windows bring the outdoors in and serve as an additional source for inspiration. STEM lessons can be held in the lab, which has plenty of tables to spread out microscopes or engineering underwater robots.
Pool Teaches Subaquatic Robotics
The zero-entry outdoor pool, aptly named the Trefoil Pool, is 10 feet at its deepest point. The outdoor, zero-entry pool is the perfect spot for testing underwater robots or relax at a dive-in movie night!
Additionally, the Cookie Legacy Cabanas offer a place to study after a robotics lesson.
Scouting Basics Woven into Design
On the first floor of the Lodge, the Innovation Lounge is an area for small group gatherings or breakout lessons. Each area is partitioned by colorful ropes featuring different knots taught to the Girl Scouts.
Murals were added throughout the first floor of the lodge, adding the liveliness of the space.
Stargazing from a Treehouse
Girl Scouts can recline on the porches and landings of the treehouses near the lake. These spaces, offering unobstructed views of the sky, provide the opportunity for stargazing and learning about astronomy.
Adaptive Reuse – The Trading Post
The Trading Post, a spot to grab gear and souvenirs, was created by adaptively reusing an old camper. Girl Scouts run sales at the Trading Post, teaching them about entrepreneurship.
The site was also designed with conservation in mind, yet another learning opportunity for the girls. All outdoor lighting is Dark Sky Rated to help minimize light pollution and allow girls to see the stars. Plumbing elements help reduce water use by 30%, and a rainwater harvesting system collects water from the rooftops to feed the surrounding landscaping. The lodge’s exterior steel beams offer a lesson in water conservation by serving as downspouts to collect rainwater used to irrigate the camp’s grounds. Inside the main restroom, Girl Scouts can learn about water conservation and engineering via 3D art projected onto the walls.
Opened in August 2020, Camp Trivera provides the perfect backdrop for Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma to provide their incredible programming for girls. When not hosting Girl Scout programming, the camp is available to the community for event bookings.
Best Landscape / Urban Development
ENR Texas & Louisiana, 2021
Best in City Center Oklahoma City | Excellence in Design
IIDA Texas Oklahoma, 2021
Philanthropic Vision Award
ULI Oklahoma, 2020
Educational Building of the Year
Chief Building, 2021
People’s Choice Award in Urban Design
AIA Central Oklahoma, 2020
In the News
Girl Scouts open first-of-its-kind STEM camp in Oklahoma City
KFOR – September 14, 2020
Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma opens STEM camp in OKC Adventure District
KOKH – September 12, 2020
Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma provides inside look at Camp Trivera
KOCO – September 8, 2020
Girl Scouts Camp Trivera combines STEM and sustainable architecture
Inhabitat – September 2020