Archive for the ‘Girl Scouts’ Category

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Growing Confidence with Girl Scouts Outdoor Experiences

October 30, 2017

Camp Graham (18)

By Meridith Orr, Program Executive

“All Girl Scouts like the out-of-doors and most of them enjoy it still more if they know something about the things they find there.” — From the Girl Scouts Handbook for the Intermediate Program, October 1940

“…camping is living in the out-of-doors, not just visiting it.”  Worlds to Explore Handbook for Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts, 1977

 

I was never what anyone would call an “outdoorsy” kid growing up.  And if I ever saw a bug, lizard, snake or other crawling thing, I would gasp and run away at warp speed.

Now, after working in the Girl Scout program for a few years, I am a different person.

For example, one evening as I saw something slither across my porch my only thought was, “Is that a lizard or a salamander?”  while I turned my key in the front door.

THAT, my friends, is the power of Girl Scouting.

Not only do we help prepare girls to take on the world as future leaders, we build girls who can be comfortable with the outdoors and have fun experiences even if they hadn’t been a fan of nature before.  We also help build adults’ outdoor confidence as well!

Take, for instance, a day at the office when we needed to set up a bunch of rain-soaked tents out in the sun to dry and asked our co-workers for some help.   As we congratulated ourselves on a big task made easier by many generous hands, one staff member said she felt more accomplished having just learned how easy it is to put up a tent – something she might not have ever learned how to do had she not worked for Girl Scouts.

“It’s the magic of our movement,” I tell people.  Just a few experiences have the power to transform everyone, because of our program’s emphasis on adventure and fun.  There’s just something about this Girl Scout game of ours that makes people want to step out of their comfort zone and try something new, and we find ourselves better for it.  It’s been going on for more than 100 years.

The early handbooks provide guidance on introducing girls to nature by prescribing skill development such as: knowing the flowers and growing a garden, learning what lives in fresh water and in the sea, identifying rocks and minerals, identifying land animals, birds and insects; to identifying stars and other objects in the sky.

In “The Out of Doors” instructions are provided for traveling by foot, what to wear and where to go, what to carry, taking the Girl Scout Law with you, reading trails and signs, making maps without a compass, and eating on the trail, with recipes.

And so it goes today.  Our legacy Naturalist badges in the Girl’s Guide To Girl Scouting include:  Bugs, Flowers, Trees and Sky (Girl Scout Brownie – Senior levels).  The activities for these badges are virtually the same as in the early handbooks.   And to help get troops started on these experiences, we connect them to events such as the Brownie Bug Out to get girls used to insects and other crawling things.  Those events typically happen at museums and gardens throughout our 41-counties.  Check our council event guide and program provider resource for opportunities near you.

Want to see more?  There’s a Badge Explorer online at our national web site:  http://www.girlscouts.org/en/our-program/badges/badge_explorer.html.

Here, you’ll be able search by topic and preview the activities for accomplishing all our Outdoor Education and Nature-themed badges.   And soon, more Girls’ Choice badges will be added to include camping adventure activities and scientific exploration of the outdoors!

Transform your Girl Scouts and yourself, by taking a walk outside and trying some of these badges!  And then share your stories with using the Story Submissions link!

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Girl Scout Seniors Taking Root

October 23, 2017

For over a century, Girl Scouts have been taking action within their communities to make the world a better place. When Girl Scouts take action, they are identifying a problem and creating a sustainable solution, while working together as a team as they put their plan into action. When girls expand their network and work together as a team, they are able to build off each other’s strengths while making an impactful difference.

And that’s exactly what local Girl Scout troop #1555 and #1114 did.

When Deda Band and Mary Hunt stepped on as co-leaders of Troop #1555 they looked to long time co-leader and mentor, Donna Hayes for guidance and advice. Donna was the co-leader of Troop #1114 when the troop leader met and decided to collaborate working on Journeys and badges together to help better serve their Girl Scout Seniors.

In Spring 2017, the Girl Scout Seniors decided to come together to complete the It’s Your Planet – Change It! Sow What Journey. After discussing the topics of the It’s Your Plant Journey and It’s World Journey – the troops decided that they had a strong interest in exploring food sustainability through the Sow What Journey.

To kick-off their Journey, the girls held a lock-in where they worked through the activities in the Sow What Journey handbook while focusing on the topic of sustainability. After establishing the needs of their community, the troop headed out to do hands-on activities to help them work towards the Journey.

Troop #1555 and Troop #1114 visited the Ninja Cow Farm in Raleigh where the family raises and sells humane, grass-fed livestock. At the farm, the troops learned about the benefits of purchasing local products and raising and selling livestock in a humane way.

Another highlight of the Journey was going to Pompoeri Pizza in Durham. The girls spoke with the staff about how they created a restaurant focused on eating local and being sustainable. The girls got a first-hand lesson in aquaponics, which Pompoeri uses to grow herbs.

The leaders saw a strong tie between the Sow What Journey and Locavore badge, so the girls worked on the badge in conjunction with the Journey activities. The troops put on their chef hats and made fresh strawberry jam, salsa, and guacamole as part of the badge.

Both troops love the community service they get to do as Girl Scouts. To close out the Sow What Journey, the troops went to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina to help prepare meals as part of the Food Bank’s effort to fight hunger. They got their hands dirty as cleaned and prepped potatoes. The girls have loved their experiences at the Food Bank and cherish them as some of their favorite Girl Scout memories.

Through the Journey handbook activities, the many outings, and service at the Food Bank, Troops #1555 and #1114 learned the benefits of sustainability and purchasing local foods. Many members of the troop are more intentional about the food they purchase and being educated about what they are eating after completing the Sow What Journey.

When asked what advice, she would give to co-leaders working on a Journey, Deda Band said, “I would encourage troops to work together and collaborate. Brainstorming and planning is easier when there are multiple co-leaders working together. “

Troop #1555 and #1114 valuable their sister troop and the experiences they’ve had together.

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