Three years ago, I had the opportunity to go to the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) National Convention in Salt Lake City- what an amazing opportunity! There were so many incredible sessions on how to empower our Girl Scouts to speak out for what they believe in, to face their fears and to try new things.

Something that stuck out to me when I was in the convention hall with thousands of other Girl Scouts were the girls who were handing out these buttons.

I still have this button attached to my bulletin board next to my desk at Keyauwee Program Center. “Support an Outdoor Journey.” What a great concept, right? I loved seeing girls advocating for their passion of outdoor activities.

As a Camp Director, getting girls engaged in the outdoors is incredibly important to me, and asking girls what they want to experience is even more important! When GSUSA started their Girls’ Choice outdoor badges, I knew we were headed in the right direction to help more Girl Scouts get the outdoor experiences they wanted. With the Outdoor Art and the new Troop Camping badges chosen, the release of the Outdoor Journey was not far behind!

Now the question is, where to start? To help you out, I have broken down the Outdoor Journey per age level below, in badge order. Each journey is broken up into seven-nine sessions, typically two to three sessions per badge, plus three Take Action Award planning sessions and implementation.

THE JOURNEY

Remember, while taking your journey, it is suggested to do the badges in the order listed below as it is all a part of the “Outdoor Journey” you are going on. However, it is understandable that with this being a new Journey, your girls may have already completed some of the requirements.

What should you do if you already earned that badge? A refresher meeting! Have girls do a short section of your meeting to go over the topics covered in the previously earned badge. It’s a great way for girls to retain the information, or even dive deeper into the topics they loved working with!

Daisy Outdoor Journey:
Badges to complete over seven sessions are the Outdoor Art Maker badge, Buddy Camper badge and a Take Action Award.

Brownie Outdoor Journey:
Badges to complete over nine sessions are the First Aid badge, Hiker badge, Cabin Camper badge and a Take Action Award.

Junior Outdoor Journey:
Badges to complete over nine sessions are the Camper badge, Animal Habitats badge, Eco Camper badge and a Take Action Award.

Cadette Outdoor Journey:
Badges to complete over seven sessions are the Night Owl badge, Trailblazing badge, Primitive Camper badge and a Take Action Award.

Senior Outdoor Journey:
Badges to complete over seven sessions are the Sky badge, First Aid badge, Adventure Camper badge and a Take Action Award.

Ambassador Outdoor Journey:
Badges to complete over seven sessions are the Outdoor Art Master badge, Water badge, Survival Camper badge and a Take Action Award.

WHERE DO I FIND THE INFORMATION?

For the Outdoor Journey, there will be no physical book needed to purchase (wonderful, we love saving the environment by not printing!), as the materials can be found in the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for you to utilize. Plus the badge requirements are also available to download online through the Girl Scout Shop or you can purchase them at your local girl scout service center shop.

The Girl Scout experience is about making friends, so be sure to befriend your VTK. As a troop leader, we know how busy life can get between your personal family, troop meetings and other activities. The VTK really helps lay out your meetings and creates an easy way to break up the Journey your girls will get to go on.

Plus, GSUSA has made it even easier for Daisy, Brownie and Junior Multi-Level troops, giving you the tools to be able to hold meetings together rather than needing to separate by age levels for every activity, awesome!

Multi Level Year Plan Library

The VTK will support Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors starting in August 2018, so be on the lookout for those older girl troop leaders looking to utilize this resource.

TAKING ACTION

At camp I get the opportunity to talk to a lot of you one on one about your girl scouting experience. With the conversations I have had so far, many troop leaders have asked about the Take Action part of the Outdoor Journey and the immediate question is..”what can we do at camp?”

While we LOVE giving out different service project ideas, it is important to remember that the girls should be choosing their project and seeing where they can impact their local community.

There are five parts to coming up with a Take Action Project.

  • Identify a problem
  • Come up with a sustainable solution
  • Develop a team plan
  • Put the plan into action
  • Reflect on what they learned

When brainstorming ideas for a Take Action Project, ask your girls the following;

Can you name some places where you like to spend time in the outdoors?
What are some things you noticed about those outdoor places?
What do you see?
What do you do when you are there?
Is there something special at this place that means something to you?
What kind of issues or problems do you see in this area that maybe you can help with?

Generating these conversations can help girls come up with amazing ideas to help their local community or camp! Remember to talk to the owners or directors of places you want to help with. By communicating your ideas, you are ensuring your project remains sustainable and relevant to the organization or place you are supporting.

LET’S GET THESE GIRLS OUTDOORS!

The P2P Outdoor Team is ready to support you, encourage you and cheer you on as you tackle this exciting new adventure!

Questions about the new Outdoor Journeys? E-mail us at outdoorcamping@girlscoutsp2p.org