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Vote For Outdoor Badges!

There will be four outdoor badges added to the Girl Scout program in fall 2015 (one each at Brownie, Junior, Cadette, and Senior levels) and we need girl input to make these badges a true “Girls’ Choice”. “Girls’ Choice” means that girls will take the lead on deciding which new badges will be created through polling of our membership. Girls of all ages can vote now through November 30th on the content area they are interested in within the Outdoor Category. The choices will be Outdoor Recreation, Outdoor Environment or Outdoor Survival.  


Then come back between December 1 – December 31 when girls will vote on the actual badge topic (for example, Hiking, Camping, Trail Blazing, etc.) based on their grade level in the coming year and stay tuned for March 12, 2015 when the four new outdoor badges will be announced and June 2015 when badge content will be shared.

Why the outdoors? Girl Scouts’ is so synonymous with outdoor experiences that 49 percent of alumnae described “camping trips” as one of the most positive aspects of their Girl Scout experience-ranking it just behind “fun” and “friendships with Girl Scouts” in a  a recent survey by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI). Besides good memorieswhy do girls need outdoor experiences? We’re so glad you asked!

In 2012 the Girl Scout Research Institute decided to find out the kinds of outdoor experiences girls were having in Girl Scouts and how these experiences help girls grow into women of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. They published their findings in More Than S’mores: Successes and Surprises in Girl Scouts’ Outdoor Experiences and here are the 6 key findings:

  • Girl Scouts helps girls get outdoors. 
  • Girls really enjoy outdoor activities in Girl Scouts.
  • Monthly exposure, high adventure, and repeat camp attendance are key drivers of girls’ leadership development and satisfaction.
  • Different groups of girls report different outdoor experiences and outcomes. 
  • Girl Scouts helps girls connect with and care for the environment. 
  • Camping experiences create memories and build leadership.  

Still not convinced? Here are what girls are saying about the outdoors and Girl Scouts:

“It was my first time on the water, in a lake. I was scared at first but when I started to paddle I got the hang of it. I really loved it.” 10-year-old Girl Scout, Missouri

“We clean up the creek at least twice a year and I like knowing that I am making a difference and like walking through the creek in my boots to pick up the trash. I even pick it up on the way if I am walking somewhere. I don’t like litter.” 10-year-old Girl Scout, Texas

“I started camping with my troop when I was a Brownie and have since improved my skills… I have learned how to cook outside, hike, leadership skills, do archery, tie dye, animal studies, and many more just from going camping. Everything that I learn during camping with my troop will help me later in life.” 12-year-old Girl Scout, Illinois

Now that the girls have spoken and the voting has started, dust off your boots and start planning your own outdoor adventure or service project. Let’s make 2015 a nature year!