Outdoor experiences are key to girls’ mental and physical well-being, but not enough girls are having them.
This summer, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) is announcing new and updated existing outdoor programming to ensure that all girls experience the benefits of the outdoors—regardless of where they live.
For 110 years, GSUSA has been finding innovative and creative ways to bring outdoor experiences to girls living in urban, suburban, and rural areas. This summer, GSUSA challenges Girl Scouts everywhere to participate in fun, diverse adventures that will provide limitless possibilities to get outside and explore.
According to Conservation Science Partners (CSP), over the past two decades, the United States has lost more than a football field’s worth of natural land to development projects every 30 seconds. That is a significant decrease of nearly 40% of natural land in the span of 20 years. Green spaces are rapidly shrinking, and direct access to outdoor experiences for young people is becoming more challenging. While green environments have been greatly impacted, outdoor exploration is still possible. GSUSA’s programming finds creative ways to take advantage of urban spaces like city streets and sidewalks, civic buildings, public squares, and plazas.
When youth spend time outdoors in early years, their lives are enhanced in the following areas: school readiness, social-emotional learning, physical and mental health, and feeling connected to nature and their communities. Whether it is birdwatching in a local neighborhood, visiting a state park, hiking a mountain, or observing and comparing weather changes, GSUSA has outdoor programming for all environments.
GSUSA is relaunching and adding to their outdoor programing initiatives for girls to explore outdoor activities over the summer. The Girl Scout Climate Challenge is a new initiative made possible by Johnson & Johnson Foundation to engage Girl Scouts and non-Girl Scouts of all ages in outdoor activities to learn about climate science. In a survey conducted by the University of Bath, 60% of youth surveyed around the world reported feeling ‘very worried’ or ‘extremely worried’ about climate change. Through the Girl Scout Climate Challenge, participants will understand the impact of climate change in their communities and learn how to spread awareness and advocate for sustainable change and climate justice. The Climate Challenge includes a patch and activities aimed to connect climate science with other spheres of life, such as civil society and outdoor adventures. It also includes citizen science projects curated by SciStarter, an online citizen science hub with more than 3,000 research projects that citizens can participate in.
Girl Scouts Love the Outdoors Challenge is an annual challenge where girls of all ages are inspired and encouraged to connect with the outdoors, regardless of where they live. Some of the revamped challenges within the 50 interactive activities include: practicing yoga outside at sunset, writing a “thank you” note to nature, and connecting with local environmental groups. More than 46,000 Girl Scouts participated in the Outdoor Challenge last year. Social media users can use the hashtag #GSOutdoors to share their adventures and see how others are completing the challenges during the summer.
Made possible by THOR Industries, Girl Scouts Love State Parks weekend is on September 10th and 11th this year. Each year, Girl Scouts explore the natural wonders found across our country through this program. Alongside #PickUpAmerica, to date, Girl Scouts have pledged to pick up over 6.4 tons of garbage as they explore the outdoors. Girl Scouts nationwide, along with their troops, friends, and families, can celebrate getting outside with self-guided tours, family hikes, watersports, stargazing, and more through this exciting challenge! GSUSA has provided an online worksheet (passport) and patch for state park adventures. If one does not have access to a local state park, GSUSA has also included an interactive map for a virtual experience. For more information, visit: girlscouts.org/getoutdoors.
From the city block to the suburban backyard to the backcountry, Girl Scouts has a long and storied history of getting girls from all environments outdoors. There are currently 67 outdoor-focused badges within Girl Scouts programming, along with the Girls Scouts Climate Challenge, Girls Scouts Love the Outdoors, and the Girls Scouts Love the State Parks patch programs. The girls’ leadership organization is making sure to embrace inclusivity during outdoor experiences this summer so everyone can get outside and have some fun. Girl Scouts is about having life-changing experiences, building friendships, and making the world a better place by caring for our beautiful planet and those around us. The perfect place to do it all is outdoors.
To begin your outdoor summer experience with GSUSA’s programs, visit: girlscouts.org/getoutdoors.
We Are Girl Scouts of the USA
Girl Scouts bring their dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Through programs from coast to coast, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them. To join us, volunteer, reconnect, or donate, visit girlscouts.org.