Girl Scout Traditions: Preparing Your Girls To Camp
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!