Badges, Activities, & Beyond, Volunteers

3 Handy Resources for Tramping and Trailing Through the Outdoors with Girl Scouts!

Girls have been tramping and trailing through the outdoors with Girl Scouts for over a hundred years (there’s even a book called Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts published in 1927), and thanks to the More Than S’mores research from the Girl Scout Research Institute, we know that the time girls spend outdoors benefits them immensely.

But not every girl (or volunteer!) who joins your troop arrives at her first meeting prepared for a 10 mile hike and a weekend, or even just one night, of camping under the stars. So how do you build your girls up to those awesome outdoor adventures that Girl Scouts are so well known for? Just like most things in Girl Scouts, you start with the basics! Choose activities that fit the girls’ skill and readiness level and build up to bigger and more challenging outdoor adventures.

That’s right, it’s all about progression!

So Where Do You Start?

Girl Scouts of the USA has some handy tools and resources to help guide you and your troop as you begin with the basics of outdoor exploration. Here are some of our favorites:

Outdoor Progression Chart

This simple chart gives short descriptions of outdoor activities  that become progressively more challenging as girls take the lead and master each step. As the chart explains,

Progression allows girls to learn the skills they need to become competent in the outdoors, including how to plan and organize outdoor activities. Acknowledge a girl’s mastery of an outdoor skill and invite her to challenge herself further by taking that next step up and out! Outdoor fun can be endless when girls lead.

Your troop members will likely not all be at the same skill level based on their own experiences with the outdoors, so this is a good tool to use to gauge the skill level of the majority of the group. Do you have a girl who’s already an outdoor master? Have her share her experiences and skills with the other troop members to get them excited to try new things!

Girl Scouts of the USA’s YouTube Outdoor Playlist

From videos about planning your troop’s first camping trip to an introduction to cooking outdoors, there’s sure to be some helpful tips on this playlist to help your girls grow their skills. So start with the video below and explore the possibilities!

Girl Scouts of the USA’s Volunteer Toolkit: Outdoor Tips

Thanks to generous funding from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, Girl Scouts of the USA made some enhancements to the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) to help volunteers and girls get outdoors as they earn badges!

Several Daisy, Brownie, and Junior activities have been updated with options for taking a troop activity outside. And don’t worry — if the weather won’t cooperate on your meeting day, you can toggle back to the non-outdoor focused version of the meeting plan!

The purpose of these updates is to provide easy, pre-organized activities that volunteers can do with their girls outdoors. So check out our post about how to find activities with added outdoor options and starting adding these simple outdoor activities to your next troop meeting!

Feeling more prepared to add some outdoor progression into your troop meetings and activities? Then it’s time to plan some outdoor activities with your girls!

Feel like you may need an in-person skills training? Head over to Activities and check out our Troop Camping Training options. Our team of dedicated staff and volunteers are ready to help you build your skills!

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