When it comes to outdoor adventure, the girls of Daisy Troop #4890 from Girl Scouts North Carolina Coastal Pines are always up for it! Thanks to their troop leaders, Shanna Stinehour, Kate Berlin, and Karl Jicha, the girls (15 of ‘em!) have gotten valuable outside time early and often. Although at first it was mainly a way to help them bond with one another since they don’t all attend the same school, it soon became obvious that outside is where these girls shine their brightest.
“Our first meeting of the year (2017) was a park playdate over the summer. We had a few activities planned, but everyone had the most fun hiking, exploring the woods, and climbing trees,” Shanna said.
“We took that as a cue that we needed to be getting outside a lot with this group. Each troop has their own personality, and our girls are all very active and curious. One of the best parts of Girl Scouts is how each troop can reflect the interests of the girls. There are so many different activities to choose from.”
According to Shanna, Girl Scouts has provided her young explorers with opportunities to do things they might not have tried otherwise. The program has also given the girls a unique opportunity to explore the outdoors in an all-girl environment, where they’re always free to discover new things and be themselves, and to try, fail, and get right back up again, no matter how many times it takes. And the memories and sense of community they build in the process are priceless.
At their fall camporee, the girls did archery, went canoeing, roasted marshmallows, and sang campfire songs. They also got to spend time with older-girl troops that planned the camporee, observing them in important leadership roles. This was the third camping trip for some of the second-year Daisies, who are by now visibly more comfortable with camping and other Girl Scout traditions—they were even able to help guide their younger, kindergarten counterparts, showing that great mentors can start early! Shanna recalls the girls’ excitement and laughter at the event as contagious; there’s something really special about having that kind of an adventure with 14 of your BFFs, she noted. The girls just love it.
Grace, age six, says she really enjoys outdoor treks with her Girl Scout troop. “When we go hiking, I can point out all the things I see in nature, and the other girls point out things they see. Like sometimes someone else will see a beetle that is blended in with the dirt. I might not have seen it on my own, but I’m so glad I did, because it’s really beautiful.”
Camille, seven, loves spending time with her best Girl Scout buddies and figuring out new things together. “I really like camping!” she said. “I liked learning about animals, trying archery for the first time, doing crafts outdoors, and cooking with my friends.”
Getting outside and gaining relevant safety skills builds the girls’ confidence and self-reliance, Shanna explains. “These skills are so important, especially for young girls. When they learn to paddle a canoe or shoot an arrow, it helps them to face other challenges with the confidence they need to be successful. They know that they are strong and that they can do hard things, whether it be on a camping trip, in the classroom, or on the playground.”
Troop co-leader Karl also believes in the power of getting young girls outside often. “It teaches them teamwork skills and shows them how everyone can have an important role in group activities. The girls just seem more interested in participating when they have an actual task they’re responsible for. And the camping trips—they just offer so many activities that the girls wouldn’t normally find around their community.”
It’s a fact: hitting the great outdoors is good for girls’ well-being. Our research shows that regular outdoor exposure increases girls’ challenge-seeking and problem-solving know-how, as well as drives their leadership development, improves their health overall, and offers them important opportunities to practice cooperation and teamwork and try new things, and build confidence throughout. And the best part? Research shows girls really enjoy outdoor activities at Girl Scouts.
Curious to see how far your girls’ confidence and sense of adventure can soar in the great outdoors? Learn more.