Troop trips can be an awesome way to build skills, confidence, and memories that last a lifetime. If this is your first trip, check out our 7 Steps to Planning a Troop Trip and don’t forget to review the Trip and Overnight Planning Manual. If this isn’t your first trip, or even your third, maybe it’s time to start planning a bigger adventure. If your troop has conquered day trips, tackled overnights, has a weekend trip or two under their belt then it’s likely your girls are finally ready and also old enough (check page 55 of Volunteer Essentials for age level trip progression) to take on that ultimate Girl Scout experience: the extended troop trip.
What qualifies as an extended troop trip? If you plan to spend five or more nights away from home, that’s considered an extended troop trip. These trips can range from a week at camp to extended travel in the continental United States. International trips have their own trip category and require an extended approval timeline. Check out our chart below for the trip approval form timeline.
What’s the best way to start planning a trip? The first step is always ask the girls. Do they want to plan extra fundraisers and save their cookie and fall sale proceeds over multiple years for a big trip or set a goal for this troop year and take a trip over the summer with what they earn? Do they want an outdoor adventure, a city exploration, or a combination of both? Basically let the girls know the trip destination, length, and cost are going to largely depend on what they are able and willing to put into it. Let them dream big and make decisions about their troop funds and you’ll be amazed at the results. You have taught them well and it’s time to see what smart decisions and compromises your girls will make with their money as you let them plan the activities and search out deals!
Are there any already planned trips or itineraries? If you’re unsure about planning a trip, we’ve got some great recommendations for organizations and resources that’ll help take care of some of the planning for you.
- NEW GSWO Trips: we have two trips sponsored by Girl Scouts of Western Ohio and in partnership with EF Tours that we’ll rotate between a domestic and international destination.
- Domestic trip: join us in Savannah in summer 2017. This trip will be open for troops to travel together (both girls and leaders). The recommended grade level for this is Junior and up. This trip has officially been set up and people can register for it! Visit eftours.com/1872974cn for information and registration.
- International trip: explore London to Lucerne in summer 2018! This trip will be open to girls in grades 6-12. Girls can choose to participate individually or with other girls that they know. This trip has officially been set up and people can register for it! Visit eftours.com/1872976uc for information and registration.
- Girl Scout Getaways: from Girl Scouts of the USA, these short travel programs are designed specifically for Girl Scout troops. With a variety of trip types, locations, and themes there’s sure to be something your troop will enjoy. Follow the link for more information on these awesome trips.
- Girl Scout Destinations: also from Girl Scouts of the USA, these trips are the ultimate adventure for individual girls ages 11 and older! With different trips every year, there’s something amazing for everyone to experience. Follow the link for application deadlines, destination locations, and more information on these fun trips.
- International Events: if your troop wants to go global, check out this great resource from GSUSA for international events for troops hosted by global scouting organizations, as well as information about how to visit our WAGGGS world centers.
- EF Tours: set up a trip of your own with EF tours. For over 50 years they’ve helped Girl Scouts discover the world. They have service learning trips, world centers destinations, and many more destinations and resources for international troop trips.
Now that you’ve seen some of the awesome resources and organizations for planning an extended troop trip, we hope you’re excited to guide your girls in planning your next big troop adventure. However and wherever you go your girls will make awesome memories, explore the world, and build the confidence to reach their goals. And that’s what it’s all about!
Ask a Girl Scout what she loved about her years as a member and you’re likely to get a variety of stories and experiences with some common themes like friendship, fun, and life skills binding us all together. What can we say? When you’re a girl-led organization, the experience is going to be as unique as the girls themselves. And yet for all of the differences we’ve found a few things that if your answer is yes, it’s pretty likely you might be a Girl Scout. What do you think, do they sound like you?
- You can’t remember your siblings’ birthdays but you know Juliette Gordon Low‘s by heart! Of course the fact that our founder was born on Halloween helps just a little. Why can’t everyone be born on holidays?
- You save dryer lint and used candles to make fire starters.What else are you supposed to do with them? Throw them out? That’s wasteful.
- You have more years of experience with marketing and sales techniques than some professionals in those fields. After all, you’ve been perfecting your selling strategies since elementary school. Those Thin Mints are good, but they don’t just sell themselves.
- You are overly prepared for things. Why would they give you so much space in your purse/trunk/backpack if they didn’t want you to fill it?
- You know all the words to “Alice the Camel” and “Make New Friends” but cannot remember your high school fight song. Maybe fight songs should have catchier tunes that are easy to sing around a campfire? Nah, you’d probably still prefer “Alice the Camel”. It’s a classic.
- You find yourself judging other people’s fire building technique. Did they just dump those sticks in a pile and light them? I mean at least organize them into an A-frame or a log cabin. Maybe a teepee. And is that lighter fluid I see? Amateurs.
- When you have to leave the group, you find yourself looking around for your buddy. It’s just good sense to travel in pairs at camp, on a hike, or really wherever you’re going.
- Someone asks for a volunteer and your hand is immediately in the air. You didn’t even consciously raise it. It just happens!
- The words to “God Bless My Underwear” wander through your mind every time you sing “God Bless America”. Camp songs…there’s no escaping them!
- You can think of over 20 possible uses for a bandana. And feel underdressed and unprepared if you’re on a hike without one.
- You know you have the skills and determination to change the world. You’ve been doing it since you were a wee little girl in your Girl Scout uniform.
- You correct people who say they used to be a Girl Scout because you know once a Girl Scout, always a Girl Scout!
No matter if you joined as a child, volunteered as an adult, or have a lifetime membership with Girl Scouts, we’re all part of a global sisterhood with a long history of building girls of courage, confidence and character who are making the world a better place. And that’s quite a legacy, isn’t it?
Are you ready to go on a journey of discovery with Girl Scouts? To identify a problem in your community and put a plan into action to make a difference? If that’s you, then we’ve got the perfect Girl Scout resource for you: the Journeys!
These important resources allow girls to Discover more about the world around them by guiding them as they dive into a topic related to the Journey’s theme, Connect with organizations and people in their community and the world, identify a problem and make a plan to Take Action to make a positive impact on that problem. When girls complete the Journey they’ll earn awards that they can proudly display on their sash or vest and the knowledge that they have the power to make a difference in our world. Now that’s what Girl Scouts is all about!
So what is a Journey? Journeys are resources and awards that encourage girls to dive into a topic as girls discover things, make connections, and take action to make the world a better place! Sound simple? It can be and to help with that we’ve got some great resources to use as your embark on your Journey.
Journeys have two main resources, the Adult Guide and the Girl Book that you’ll need to complete the awards. Daisies, Brownies,and Juniors can also use the meeting plans and outlines in the Volunteer Toolkit for our It’s Your Planet-Love It! and It’s Your Story-Tell It! Journeys. Here are a few tips to remember as you start your Journey.
- Use the Girl Book like a journal. Each one contains cool stories and fun activities designed to lead each girl on her own adventure as she learns about the topic and how it relates to her world. Having the girls read the girl book and complete the activities in it does not complete the requirements for the Journey. These books are meant for the girl to use along with the activities in the adult guide so you’ll need both.
- Use the Adult Guide as your road map to earning the Journey awards. Look for the page that shows the awards and what is required to earn each award. Check out the sample meeting sessions as these are a great resource for ideas on how to complete the award requirements.
- Don’t be intimidated by the sample meetings content. Remember Journeys are designed to be customizable! You can switch out activities in the sample meetings for a guest speaker, a visit to a community partner, or an activity you found that fits the theme but isn’t directly mentioned in the sample meetings.
- Take the Journey at your own pace. Some troops follow the 8 sample sessions over the course of 8 meetings, some combine meetings with other badge related meetings, and some spread out the Journey activities over the course of the troop year. Stick with whatever works best for engaging your girls.
You’ve completed the Journey when girls have completed the requirements for each award listed in the award descriptions and finished your Take Action project. It’s truly that simple. So what are you waiting for? Show the girls the Journey descriptions for their age level, choose your adventure topic, a time frame that works for your troop, and get your girls’ Journey started!
Here at Girl Scouts we define ourselves as the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. We’re 2.7 million strong-1.9 million girls and 800,000 adults- and we’re dedicated to building courageous and confident girls who make our world a better place. How do we know Girl Scouts does all we say it does? How do we know Girl Scouts works? Let’s look at our more than 59 million alumnae and find our answer!
First the Numbers- The Girl Scout Research Institute gathers great data on alumnae and in 2015 published Girl Scout Alumnae by the Numbers. There’s some compelling evidence that our organization builds leaders, one girl at a time.
- Girl Scout alumnae display positive life outcomes to a greater degree than non-alumnae on several indicators of success, including sense of self, volunteerism and community work, civic engagement, education, and income/socioeconomic status.
- Fifty-eight percent of women in the 114th Congress are Girl Scout alumnae.
- Five of the six current female governors are Girl Scout alumnae.
- Every female secretary of state in U.S. history is a former Girl Scout: Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, and Hillary Clinton.
- More than half (52%) of women in business are Girl Scout alumnae and more than half (57%) of Girl Scout alumnae in business say that the Girl Scout Cookie Program was beneficial in the development of their skills today.
- Women who have been Girl Scouts rate their Girl Scout experiences highly. On a scale of 1 to 10, the average rating across all Girl Scout alumnae is 8.04. Seventy-six percent rate the impact of Girl Scouting on their lives today as positive. Fifty-four percent attribute their success in life to their time spent in Girl Scouts.
Then Check Out Some Famous Alumnae-
- The list of famous former Girls Scouts is long and distinguished. We’ve got astronauts, news anchors, artists, Olympic medalists, members of the First Family, business executives, ambassadors, secretaries of state, governors, admirals and generals, and many more too numerous to list. Our members grow up to be problem solvers, discoverers of new things, and helpers of others. What an amazing legacy!
Hear Firsthand from Western Ohio’s National Young Women of Distinction:
- Hadiya Harrigan, 2016: “‘Going for Gold’ taught me to pinpoint an issue and take action. Therefore, I improved my problem solving skills. As a mechanical engineering major, this practice was invaluable. I now understand how to break a large, daunting project into smaller pieces.”
- Camille Borders, 2015:”Girl Scouts definitely gave me those skills to be professional and communicate in a way which is effective. In my life I want to be an activist…and I want to teach people to use the voice that they have.”
And Finally Directly From Our Alumnae:
- We took an informal Facebook poll and asked our alumnae to finish this sentence, “Because I was a Girl Scout, I…” and you gave us great reasons! Here’s a word cloud of some of the reasons you gave and a few direct quotes that show Girl Scouts works here in Western Ohio!
- Jazmyn Hart Dieckman: “I was able to have life experiences that helped shape who I am!”
- Kari Sturgeon Eggleston: “I have been able to train & work in many male dominated professions! Police Officer, Firefighter, Aircraft Mechanic, and my current position with Boy Scouts as an ATV Instructor. Girl Power! Thanks to all of my camp staff from the 80’s who taught/encouraged me to go after my dreams no matter how large!”
- Katie Kelley Schmid: “I wanted my daughter to be a Girl Scout … so I became a leader!”
- Heather Newton Ryall: “I have friends all over the USA!”
So many positive outcomes and exceptional alumnae show that Girl Scouts works! And with such an awesome legacy we expect to be growing leaders and changing the world for the next 100 years. Do you know one of our outstanding alumnae who is paving the way for future girl leaders in her community by making significant contributions in her field? Nominate her to be a Girl Scouts of Western Ohio Woman of Distinction! Honorees are women who have made significant contributions in one or more of the key focus areas for success (see our website for a list of focus areas).
There are so many reasons kids (and adults) choose Girl Scout camp and we’ve covered those reasons several times. So to be entirely fair, we’re giving you six reasons to stay inside in July and skip camp this year.
- You’re addicted to your electronics and have no plans to ever unplug. What wonders and benefits can the outdoors possibly offer that compare to social media updates, Google searches, and video games?
- You hate trying new things or pretty much anything that involves actually doing something. So you can keep your adventure challenge courses, water games, and skill-building activities. You say challenging yourself is important? Still not interested.
- You consider singing camp songs to be right up there with nails on a chalkboard and don’t even get you started on those crazy camp dance moves. Even if girls have been laughing their way through all camp sing-a-longs for 100 years, it’s still not for you.
- You’re deeply suspicious of arts and crafts projects that involve tie-dye, things collected on a hike, or recycled materials. There has to be some kind of sinister purpose there. What kind of creative and environmentally concerned person enjoys making projects and finding ways to repurpose materials?
- Just the thought of going outside makes you anxious. You haven’t seen the sun in days, can your eyes even take that much light? You don’t care about the mental health benefits from spending time outdoors, it’s just not for you.
- You dislike fun and also those other people who are so concerned with having it. Making new friends, testing your limits, all while having a blast at camp just isn’t your thing. No matter what positive things people say about camp, it’s just not for you. So what do you think of our list? If these six reasons haven’t convinced you to stay indoors this summer, come outside with us! We’ve still got space at our summer camps.
June is Great Outdoors Month and here at Girl Scouts we want girls to grow, explore, and have fun in the outdoors. A great way to do that is the iconic Girl Scout tradition, the troop camp out. Sounds fun, right? Anyone nervous? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who gets anxious thinking of setting out with a group of girls for a camping trip. No matter your level of experience, in your troop you’ll have girls (and adults) who are camping experts and others who haven’t even roasted a marshmallow over a fire before, much less slept in a tent. With so many varied levels of experience (or sometimes no experience) who wouldn’t be a bit anxious? And that’s where progression comes in. You don’t have to start out with a back country three day trip for your first try (actually, we highly recommend you work up to that). Start by adding the outdoors to your regular Girl Scout troop meetings, try a few activities, and build your girls’ and volunteers’ comfort level with the outdoors. Here are some great ways to get your troop comfortable outside.
- Meet Outside! The first step to building your troop’s outdoor experience is to get them used to just being outside. Hold part or all of a meeting outdoors, play their favorite game outside, eat snack on a picnic blanket under a tree, the options are endless. With research showing that kids are spending a lot less time outdoors than ever before, in spite of the benefits, this may be the longest some of your troop members spend outside all week.
- Try A Simple Outdoor Activity! You can start local and small with a walk around the block, maybe move your meeting to a nearby park where you can hike a trail or roast marshmallows over a fire. Keep it simple, low-key, and remember to leave some free time for spontaneous fun chosen by the girls such as a short bug hunt or cloud watching. The goal is just to enjoy being outside.
- Spend A Day Outdoors. Attend an all day outdoor event , find a nature program led by your local parks department, or come out for one of our day camps held near you. Pick something that looks fun and has a purpose (building skills like outdoor cooking, geocaching, or many more). The goal is to have the girls spend the majority of their day outside experiencing nature.
- Time for Camping! There are many ways to camp and between our eight council camps in Western Ohio we’ve got lodges, cabins, adirondacks, tree houses, covered wagons, platform tents, and even primitive camping areas for your troop to try. Start with a lodge overnight and work your way through our list gathering camping tips and best practices along the way. Not sure about your camping ability? Join our experienced staff at Troop Adventure Camp, send your girls to resident camp, or coordinate a camp out with veteran camping troops in your service unit. If One Direction can do it, so can you!
- End With The Ultimate Camping Experience: Backpacking! Now that you’ve mastered camping, it’s time to take the outdoor fun on the road (or trail in this case) and try out a backpacking overnight. Don’t worry, we’ve got a some backpacking basics and overnight events planned for next year so you can test your mettle with some of our outdoor experts. Search our event list in August and start planning.What do you think of our suggestions? Feeling inspired to get your girls outdoors? We sure hope so. There’s too much fun happening outside to stay indoors this summer. What are you waiting for? Start planning your next outdoor adventure now!
Here at Girl Scouts, unlike Kermit the Frog, we believe it’s easy being green! Caring about the outdoors was passed down by our nature loving founder Juliette Gordon Low and her legacy of being responsible stewards of our world still resonates with our alumnae and members today. You might even say being green is part of our DNA! So how do we inspire a lasting love and respect for the planet we all call home in our current generation of girls? Here are a few of our favorite ways!
- Go on a It’s Your Planet-Love It! Journey. This fun series is packed with activities that guide girls as they learn about environmental issues such as clean water and air, noise pollution, global change, soil contamination, and agriculture. It ends with a Take Action project that encourages girls to make a difference in their community for the planet. What a great way to explore with girls the “use resources wisely” part of the Girl Scout Law!
- Become Girl Scout Rangers at a National Park. In this fun program with the National Park Service girls are invited to explore the outdoors and learn about the history of the national parks as they participate in organized educational activities or volunteer service projects for a minimum of 10 hours at one or more national parks. Check out the requirements and start your adventure with our national parks today!
- Earn a naturalist legacy badge. Each age-level from Brownie through Ambassador can explore a different part of the natural world, from bugs to sky, with these fun and nature themed badges. Find out more about the naturalist badge for your age-level on our badge explorer.
- Complete your Community Service Bar with your Girl Scout. Cadettes and up can earn this award (part of the National Leadership Awards) by making a difference in their community and practicing the values of the Girl Scout Law. Girls should get involved with a cause they care about by choosing an organization to volunteer with and complete at least 20 hours of service with that organization.What a great way to help the planet!
- Test your girls’ mettle with our outdoor badges or activities. With so many wonderful outdoor experiences and badges to choose, from hiking to canoeing, you’re sure to find something that will inspire a lifelong love of the outdoors in your girls.
- Let your girls take the lead on an environment focused Take Action project. They could petition to build monarch butterfly way stations at their school or lead a community water conservation awareness campaign. It’s all up to them as they explore the community, identify an issue, and put together a plan that has long term benefits and sustainable community support. Each Journey series ends in a Take Action project and Highest Awards in Girl Scouts also follow those requirements.
Are you ready to inspire the next generation to love the planet? We hope so and with these six ideas and some girl power we know that our girls will grow up in a greener world as they use their resources wisely!