"What are you guys doing in my yard?" President Obama asked as he strolled out onto the White House South Lawn wearing blue jeans and wide grin. Fifty fourth-grade Girl Scouts gathered around a make-shift campfire made of battery-powered lanterns and surrounded by large white and blue tents.
The Girl Scouts were invited to take part in the first ever White House campout by First Lady Michelle Obama, who is also the organization's honorary president. The campout was part of her Let's Move Outside Initiative, which encourages children and their families to be active and experience the great outdoors.
They spent the afternoon on the White House South Lawn rock climbing, knot-tying, orienteering and pitching tents. In the evening, the president and Mrs. Obama stopped by to sit with them around the lantern-light and to join their singing circle. Mr. and Mrs. Obama sang "Make New Friends" and "Brave New Girl" with the scouts.
"I thought he was just going to do all his work and not come," said Hannah Holmes, a 10-year old Girl Scout from the DC area, "and then all of a sudden, I hear people saying, 'oh my gosh, it's the president!'"
After singing, dancing and chatting with the girls and their chaperons, the Mr. Obama took his leave.
"Unfortunately, I've got to go to work," he said, "I'm not allowed to have fun."
He gave them a big group hug before he left, and Holmes said it was one of the most memorable parts of the evening.
"Everyone got up and just like ran right towards him and we all made a big pile around him," she said.
After some star gazing with Astronaut Cady Coleman, the girls went to sleep in their tents -- only to be awakened at around 12:40 a.m. by Secret Service whistles. Though the scouts had been prepared to sleep through the rain, thunder and lightning sent them scurrying indoors for shelter, a conference room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House.
CBS News interns Becky Van Dercook and Katie Fallon contributed to this report.