3 Amazing Life Lessons from a High Adventure Girl Scout
Victoria, 16, is a Girl Scout Ambassador who participates in a high-adventure program through Girl Scouts Heart of Central California.
It sounds kind of major, but it’s true: my life would be totally different without Girl Scouts. I used to get so ahead of myself—feeling in a rush to act without really knowing what I was doing—or just doubting my own abilities. But going on outdoor adventures with Girl Scouts has changed all of that. I’ve hiked the Grand Canyon and crawled through underground tunnels formed by lava. I’ve helped other Girl Scouts battle elevation sickness and cheered them on as they climbed to the tops of mountains in Yosemite. When you’ve done those things, you kind of take a step back and think, “What can’t I accomplish?!” And yeah, I’ve gotten tons of love on my Insta from all the amazing shots I’ve taken along the way. But most of all? I’ve learned three huge life lessons that I want to share with the world. I hope they inspire you to reach higher.
1. Work Together to Rise to the Top
Real leadership isn’t about one person leading and everybody else just doing whatever they’re told—it’s actually way more about collaboration and coming together as a team. On our eight-day trip through the Grand Canyon, each of us Girl Scouts had a pack of gear to carry, and they were pretty heavy—about 35 pounds each. At one point, we noticed one girl was really struggling with the weight of her gear, and it was making it hard for her to keep up. We all wanted to help, so we stopped and decided we’d take a bunch of stuff out of her bag and redistribute it among the rest of us. In the end, each of us just had a little more to carry—my pack honestly wasn’t that much heavier— but it made a huge difference for the girl who’d been lagging behind. In fact, once her pack was more manageable, she moved to the front of the group and set the pace for the whole troop. So maybe she wasn’t as physically capable of carrying as much weight as the rest of us were, but she turned out to be an awesome navigator! Everybody has different strengths and talents, and when we take the time to see them and make the best use of them, we all end up doing better.
2. Know Where You Are on Your Map
You know how everybody says life is a journey? Well, it is, but it doesn’t do much good to know that unless you can also see exactly where you are on that journey. And to do that, you’ve got to ask yourself some questions. Where have you come from? What have you learned? Where have you failed? What can you work on and improve? And the big one—where are you trying to go?
When you start answering these questions, you can start getting ready not just for what you hope is up ahead, but also for the unexpected. Just like when you’re hiking, you’ve got to keep track of where you are and of what might come up ahead. The weather might be bad. There might be a downed tree in your path. Maybe your friend scrapes her knee. If you don’t even have a clue where you are, any one of these situations is going to be ten times worse. But if you do know where you are, and have a handle on which tools are available and which skills you’ve got, you can take a deep breath and handle just about anything the world puts in your way.
3. Disconnect to Stay Charged
I love my phone, but one of the main reasons I love being out in the woods on these big adventures is that there’s absolutely no cell service a lot of the time. I’ll admit, the first couple times I went out and noticed I had no bars and couldn’t use my phone, it kind of freaked me out a little bit. I’m so used to checking social all the time! But then I realized it was actually really freeing.
I guess day-to-day, I didn’t really notice, but there’s all this pressure to be on Insta, to be texting, to keep up with everybody and everything all the time—and although it can be fun, it’s also really stressful. But when you can’t access it, it’s like this huge weight has lifted, and instead of staring at your phone, you can actually appreciate nature, what’s in front of you, and who’s actually right there with you. It’s a deeper level of connection in a way, because you have to really focus and be present. You end up having really great conversations, achieving things you never dreamed of, and even just seeing the world around you differently. I wouldn’t want to give up my phone all the time, but going on trips with my High-Adventure Girl Scouts and having that break from being constantly connected is always a much needed breath of air.