Posts Tagged ‘Girl Scout Camp’

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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 Perspectives: Making the World a Better Place (Aleeyah)

July 24, 2017

Girl Scout Alleyah shares her story on earning her Girl Scout Silver Award.

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By Aleeyah W., Girl Scout

I am an Ambassador Girl Scout and I have greatly enjoyed my participation in Girl Scouts over the last 9 years. My experience has been wonderful and has included hard work. While being a Girl Scout, I have earned a lot of badges and numerous cookie recognitions.  I earned my Girl Scout Silver Award and have had opportunities to travel as well as go camping in the wilderness. I have had the opportunity to attend summer leadership, science and cooking camps and for a couple of years now I have been an assistant leader on Monday evenings to a Daisy troop – I love it! I have made so many sisters in Girl Scouts.

My accomplishments while earning my Girl Scout Silver Award made the world a better place. I conducted an afterschool reading program at a local daycare in my community. Reading makes us smarter. It is a vigorous exercise for the brain and helps us to understand the world around us. The children who attended liked reading to me, and I loved reading them their favorite books. When I had time, I would check out additional books from our local library on topics they enjoyed such as plants and animals. We even made crafts, such as coloring dinosaur eggs. All of them had great imaginations. When we’d go outside to play, they’d recite the alphabet which is the first step in learning to read. I also collected and refurbished books donated by members of my community to give to them.

Last summer I attended counselor in training camp at Camp Mary Atkinson where I received the camp name Reese and enjoyed activities such as canoeing and archery. And over the years I’ve learned so much during cookie season – to smile, count money back and of course ask everyone to buy cookies. In the fall I will be a senior in high school. It is something I am happy about, but sadly it will also be my last year as an Ambassador. But it will not be my last year as a Girl Scout – Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout.

My goal is to one day become a reading teacher and hopefully someday I will also be a Girl Scout leader where I can teach girls to make the world a better place and to inspire young girls to be the best they can be. I could not have accomplished all I have in Girl Scouts alone and I appreciate everyone, troop leaders and family, who have helped me along the way.

What a great story! Thanks for sharing, Aleeyah! To join in sharing your Girl Scout story, visit our story submissions page!

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