Our Favorite Upcoming Girl Scout Destinations

Travel with GSGWMWe’re featuring posts about Girl Scout Destinations (travel opportunities for older girls organized by GSUSA). Today’s post covers our Top 5 Domestic and International Trips of the year.

Domestic Trips

Wild Wonderful High Adventure (Ages 13-18): 

Identify your strengths, grow your passions, and develop the skills and confidence to pursue your dreams through exciting, physically-demanding challenges like rock climbing, rappelling, and zip-lining! The mountains of West Virginia will be your personal playground as you spend a full week participating in every adventure sport imaginable: tree-top canopy challenge courses, water obstacle courses, stand-up paddle boarding, BMX biking, mountain biking, archery, rifle shooting, and skateboarding, and more!

Wyoming Wildlife Wonders (Ages 13-18):

Do you want to change the world? There is no better place to find this inspiration than in Yellowstone, our first national park, or at the base of the Tetons, where the Wilderness Act was envisioned. You will be surrounded by mountains, geysers, and North America’s most magnificent wildlife, while you improve your naturalist and leadership skills in one of the most breathtaking places on earth.

Cross Country Culinary Challenge (Ages 12-18): 

We are looking for open-minded foodies to join us on a two-week culinary extravaganza. Do you like trying new goods? If the answer is yes, then this trip is for you! Country to city and everything in between – there are different foods for you to make, try, and discover. You’ll begin this culinary road trip in Austin, Texas and end up in New York City. In between, you’ll explore American regional food through farm and factory tours, classes and demonstration, picking your own, and by creating new culinary creations yourselves.

Wilderness Adventure Photography (Ages 14-18): 

Spend a week learning the art of photography with professional outdoor photographers. A fast-paced journey through the Eastern Sierra of California will produce stunning photos to last a lifetime!

Channel Island Adventure (Ages 14-18): 

This environmentally conscious program takes you out to sea off the coast of California to one of the least visited National Parks – the Channel Islands. This little visited island chain is home to over 400 species of plants and animals found nowhere else on earth.

International Trips

Sustainability in the Peruvian Amazon (Ages 14-18): 

During this expedition, you will experience the hustle and bustle of Iquitos, one of the largest cities in the Amazon basin, as well as immerse yourself in the slower lifestyle of rural river communities. Along the way, you will search for pink river dolphins, barter for Yagua handicrafts, fish for piranha, and experience one of the longest canopy walkways on the planet alongside your team of fellow Girl Scout adventurers. You’ll scour the tree line for boas, monkeys, three-toed sloths and other creatures on a silent moonlight float along the awe-inspiring Amazon River. Throughout this experience, you’ll engage in meaningful service work and ponder the issues facing rainforest conservation in South America.

Cruising the Coast (Ages 15-18):

Denmark & Sweden: Beautiful Denmark has Scandinavian architecture, deep forests, and miles of coastlines. This is a trip for the true traveler who wants to see a country from a totally unique perspective. Our tour on bicycles will take us on bike paths and country roads through scenic Denmark, enjoying views only accessible by one of the safest bike pathway system in the world.

Greece – Sea Kayaking Kefalonia and Ionian Islands (Ages 15-18): 

Imagine yourself paddling through the warm, clear, waters of the Mediterranean off the scenic coastline of the Ionian Islands. These islands were settled by the Greeks as early as 1200 BC and served as the home (Ithaca) to Odysseus in the epic Greek poem The Odyssey. This relaxing paddle adventure is filled with picturesque villages, rich history and culture, down to earth hospitality, azure waters, and a lot of delicious Greek foods.

Escape to Iceland (Ages 15-18): 

Experience a week of activities that will give you an acute sense of the magnificent geologic wonders that make up Iceland. Iceland is a terrain unlike any other: situated on the divide between two continents, the features of this country include black sand beaches, geothermic waters, volcanic formations and glacial movement. Together these features instill both an otherworldly feeling as well as a deep respect for nature.

The Great Panda Adventure (Ages 15-18): 

You will fly into the Sichuan Province of China, known for its soaring peaks and tranquil rivers, to begin your volunteer work with one of the most beloved endangered mammals in the world. At the Ya’an Conservation Center you will help the caretakers with their daily routines, which will include learning about the pandas’ diet, preparing their food, feeding them (they eat a lot!), cleaning their living quarters, and working on maintenance projects. You’ll also help out with panda research whenever this is possible. You will spend a day and half in Beijing visiting historical landmarks.

Have questions? Find out more about travelling with GSGWM or get started on the trip of a lifetime today by clicking here, or get in touch with our Manager of Series and Travel, Melissa Mason.

How To Travel with Girl Scouts

Travel with GSGWMWe’re featuring posts about Girl Scout Destinations (travel opportunities for older girls organized by GSUSA). Today’s post covers everything you need to know about travelling with GSGWM in five easy steps.

Step 1: Where do you want to go?

The sky’s the limit! With over 30 trips to choose from in the US and abroad, there’s certainly something for everyone. Head on over the GSUSA Destinations site and think about where you might like to go.

See too many good options? Don’t worry: you can apply to up to four Destinations! You will need to write a separate essay for each, but can use the same application and references.

Step 2: Details, Details, Details!

Read the information about the trips very carefully, especially the cost section. Some trips include the cost of flying you to the starting location, and others do not cover any flights. You should also pay close attention to the age requirements.

Step 3: Put your best foot forward.

Tell us why you’re excited to travel- show your passion, but don’t forget the details. Pay special attention to spelling and grammar, and have someone you trust proofread your application.

Step 4: Keep an eye on deadlines.

Make certain to get your application turned in to council on time, and follow up with your references to make sure they get their materials turned in on time too.

Step 5: Ready, Set, Go!

So you got accepted to a trip- now what? You’ll most likely need to raise money to pay for the trip. If you’re applying for financial aid, you will need to participate in both the Fall Product Sale and the Cookie Sale to be eligible for a travel grant.

Once you’ve got the money raised, prepare for your trip by reading up on where you’re going. What sites are you most excited to see? What foods do you want to try? What will you bring back in your suitcase?

Finally, pack your bags, head for the airport, and get ready for the trip of a lifetime!

Still have questions? Find out more about travelling with GSGWM or get started on the trip of a lifetime today by clicking here, or get in touch with our Manager of Series and Travel, Melissa Mason.

Sun, Surf and Sand in So-Cal: Girl Scout Destinations

This month we’re featuring posts about Girl Scout Destinations (travel opportunities for older girls organized by GSUSA). Today’s post was written by one of our girls, Sofia, about her amazing summer trip.

So-Cal Lifestyle by Sofia

This summer, I was given the opportunity to go to Southern California for a week. There I met some of the most amazing friends and tried so much I never thought I would.  We repelled off of multiple waterfalls, surfed, skateboarded, went to Hollywood, went in a hot air balloon and more. I never thought I would ever try skateboarding or surfing, but I ended up loving it so much and am so grateful to have been given that chance to do so.  At points, I was very scared to try the new experiences, but once I got over the initial fear, I cannot wait to do some of the activities again. On the trip, we saw a lot of nature and the parts of California that are often ignored, but are very beautiful.  During this week, we saw rabbits, a rattlesnake, wild stingrays, lizards, sea lions and so many other wonderful parts of nature that I don’t ever get to experience in New Hampshire.

I met girls from California, Texas, New Jersey and other states across the country.  It’s refreshing to learn about people from all over the country and hear their opinions on different topics.  In a week, these girls became some of the best friends I’ve had. Since there were only eight of us, it was easier to really get to know each of them. By the first day, everyone had already become so comfortable with one another, that by the second day when we went rappelling, we made sure everyone felt comfortable and encouraged.

Throughout this trip, I not only learned how to skateboard and surf, but also how to be a better leader and how it’s also okay to not be a leader. I learned that sometimes no matter how bad you do on something, it’s so much easier to laugh at yourself and have others laugh with you that to get upset about it and give up.  Each of the girls on the trip taught me something as well either about themselves, a song or game, or even something as little as how they pronounce different words in other parts of the country.  In the long run, I will remember this trip for a long time if not forever and the activities I participated in, but I will more importantly remember the other Girl Scouts that joined me.  By the last day I felt so close to them that we stayed up late laughing at everything and in denial that we had to leave. I am so thankful I was able to go on such a wonderful trip and I know I will never forget it.

Find out more about travelling with GSGWM or get started on the trip of a lifetime today by clicking here!

Our Top Program Picks – October 2015

GSGWM Top Picks ImageIt’s a whole new Girl Scout year, and we can’t wait for all of our favorite Girl Scout activities to start back up again. Troop meetings, camporees, and programs for all ages: what could be better? These top picks for next month still have openings, so don’t forget to register now before the price increases or they sell out.

Trees, the Sea and Me

Who’s it for: Daisies and Brownies who want to get outside to make crafts, learn about nature, and meet sea creatures.

Why we love it: Who doesn’t love a chance to spend a day outside learning new things? This program is especially great because it’s run by older Girl Scouts, so girls get to make new friends who are also role models!

Details: Runs Saturday, October 3 from 8:30AM-3PM at the Urban Forestry Center in Portsmouth, NH (and again next May). Cost is $5 per person. Register here.

Amazing Race

Who’s it for: Juniors and Cadettes who want to test their camp craft skills.

Why we love it: This program is a great way for tough-as-nails young outdoors-women to test their limits, and for beginners to build skills. Plus, there’s a closing campfire with everyone’s favorite treat: S’Mores!

Details: Runs Saturday, October 3 from 10AM-4PM at Camp Farnsworth in Thetford, VT. Cost is $15 per person. Register here.

Feathered Friends

Who’s it for: Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes with an interest in all things birds!

Why we love it: This program is fly! Girls get to learn about birds, observe them in nature, and even see artistic renderings of birds (and make their own).

Details: Program runs Sunday, October 11 from 1-4PM at the Birds of Vermont Museum in Huntington, VT. The cost is $10 per person. Register here.

Girl Scout History

Who’s it for: Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors who are interested in learning about Girl Scout history.

Why we love it: What do astronauts, rice, and Georgia have in common? They’re all part of our Girl Scout history! With over 100 years of history to unwrap, we have tons of ground to cover, and girls who join this program will get to decide how it all turns out. It’s Girl Scout leadership in action!

Details: The first meeting will be on Saturday, October 24 from 1-3PM at our Bedford Office. The program is free, though there may be a cost for additional activities. Register here.

Damsels in Design & Engineering

Who’s it for: Juniors and Cadettes who want to use girl power and science to save the day in classic fairy tales.

Why we love it: This program gives girls a chance to flip the script on fairy tales like Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood. They’ll have fun with the classic stories and learn about engineering at the same time! Storybooks and science make a great pair.

Details: Runs Saturday, October 24, 9:30AM-12:30PM at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center in Burlington, VT. Cost is $18 per person. Register here.

Keep Camp Fun Going All Year Long

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Remember how much fun you had at camp this summer? There’s SO much more where that came from! When you join Girl Scouts during the school year you can make friends, discover the rock star in you, and find lots of awesome adventures all year long. With tons of activities to choose (trust us, just check out our favorite programs in September alone!), there’s really something for everyone.

Don’t miss out. Troops are forming now – jump into the FUN!

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Take a Hike!

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Nine Hooksett Girl Scouts and their three adult advisors took their experience and knowledge to great new heights during a recent hike in NH’s White Mountains.

On Thursday, July 30- a month before starting their freshmen year of high school- members of Troop #10085 were loading up their backpacks and lacing up their hiking boots as the prepared to make their ascent up Mt. Lafayette.

Joining them for the late July hike were seven fellow troop members (many of whom have been enjoying Girl Scout activities since kindergarten) and three adult advisors, including Troop Leader Karren Crain.

Karren said climbing a 5200’ peak is a testament to the progress her troop members have made over the years (some of them have been together since they first joined a Daisy troop in kindergarten!) Despite the extreme heat and humidity, the girls soldiered on, reaching the Appalachian Mountain Club hut at 4200’ feet the first day and rising bright and early the following morning to reach the summit.

Using skills acquired from Girl Scouts over the years, the troops were able to navigate trails, load up their packs accordingly, and even keep their supplies dry and protected from intermittent rain showers using carefully-placed trash bags.

Troop Member Ava Toole admitted she’d “never really hiked before,” but she made it to the top with the encouragement of her fellow Girl Scouts.  “Most of us were pretty new to climbing,” Ava said.

Troop Member Catey Crain said she’s made a lot of friends during her time in Girl Scouts: friendships she knows will endure, even though her troop members will be attending five separate high schools this fall.

Troop Member Carley Crain added that her Girl Scout experiences have made her a more confident, well-rounded person: one who’s ready to take on high school, college, and the world beyond.

The troop members will soon celebrate their bridging to Senior Girl Scouts.

Happy National S’Mores Day! Our 5 Favorite Ways to Celebrate

We’re so excited for National S’Mores Day – a holiday for eating one of our favorite Girl Scout treats. Yeah, you heard us right: we don’t just provide everyone’s favorite cookie; Girl Scouts are also credited with inventing this campfire favorite. The original S’mores recipe was first introduced to the world over 80 years ago in the 1927 Girl Scout Handbook. YUM!

So how are we celebrating? We’re rounding up our 5 Favorite S’Mores variants. Looking for even more options? These treats (and loads more) are compiled on our Pinterest page. Check it out!

Frosty S’Mores Cups

A cold S’More? Hear us out! Yes, we all love the traditional campfire favorite, but when the sun’s beating down on a hot August day it’s time to let it go, make like Elsa, and break out the frozen options.

Campfire Bars

This one’s for all the chefs-in-training out there: every step of this recipe is made from scratch. Bake your own Graham Crackers, whip up some Marshmallow Fluff, and dunk ’em all in delicious chocolate. Of course, for the kitchen disinclined, you can always use store-bought!

S’Mores Pops

S’Mores have always been nice and portable, but we all know that they can be pretty messy. This trick is quick, easy, and promises fewer sticky fingers.

Girl Scout Cookie S’Mores

Why not combine two things we all love? Girl Scout Cookies and S’Mores make a great match. We couldn’t resist these tasty options, and we bet you won’t be able to either!

S’mores Dip

Great for a party, but easy enough to make for everyday dessert. One of our staff members tried this out last week and said it was EXTREMELY delicious- and we all know Girl Scouts are honest!

Our Top Program Picks – September 2015

GSGWM Top Picks ImageThe new school year is about to start up, and with it we’ve got TONS of great programs for girls of all ages to enjoy. Picking our top programs this month was tough! Sign up with your Troops as they start up again for the year, or enjoy one of these offerings solo – either way, you’re in for a great time! These top picks for next month still have openings, so don’t forget to register now before the price increases or they sell out.

App Builder

Who’s it for: Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors who want to make their own mobile app.

Why we love it: We’ve all gotten caught up in Candy Crush, Instagram, or Yik Yak – like it or not, cell phones are here to stay, and this program gives girls a chance to get in on the tech boom from the ground up and explore a growing career field.

Details: Runs Saturday, September 19 and Saturday, September 26 (two fun sessions!), 10AM-3:30PM in Salem, NH. Cost is $5 per girl. Register here.

Camp Cooking

Who’s it for: Girls in Juniors and up who want to try daring outdoor cooking methods.

Why we love it: This program gives girls a chance to get outdoors and try something new at the same time. They’ll explore tons of different cooking methods, try new things, and gain confidence in their camping skills (and we’ll have tasty snacks to try!)

Details: Runs Saturday, September 26, 10AM-2PM at Whispering Pines in Meredith, NH. Cost is $15 per girl. Register here.

Source to Sea Cleanup

Who’s it for: Girls of all ages and their families who want to help keep our community waterways clean.

Why we love it: Girl Scouts are always looking for ways to make the world a better place, and keeping trash out of our rivers is a great way to make a big impact. This program is open to everyone and available up and down the Connecticut River, so it’s a great option for folks all across our council.

Details: Runs Saturday, September 26 at a variety of locations. Contact the Source to Sea Cleanup team at cleanup@ctriver.org to sign up and find out more. This program is free!

Sculptural Visions

Who’s it for: This family event is open to visitors of all ages, and there’s also a girls only event for Juniors and Cadettes that starts in October.

Why we love it: Saint-Gaudens is a local art mecca and a beautiful National Historic Site, and this program gives girls a first-hand look at all forms of sculpture including clay, wood, stone, metal, wire, and paper. There will also be a live bronze casting demonstration at 1 and 3PM. Perfect for artists and people just looking for a fun and interesting weekend activity!

Details: Runs Saturday, September 26, 11AM-4:30PM in Cornish, NH. This event is free! Register here.

What’s in the Trash: Screenwriter Badge

Who’s it for: Cadettes who dream of seeing their work on the big screen (or who just want a fun afternoon with YA author Jen Malone).

Why we love it: Where else can you earn a badge, meet and learn from a successful author (and even score a signed copy of her book), and try your hand at writing all in one day? We’re also offering two other programs with Jen (another session of “What’s in the Trash” in April and another session before this one for Juniors) so all our budding authors out there should definitely keep an eye out in our program guide.

Details: Runs Sunday, September 27, 3PM-5PM in Bedford, NH. Cost is $18 per girl (includes badge and singed book). Register here.

Lights, Camera, Action: We’re Making a Camp Video!

We’re very pleased to share that we’re creating a camp promotional video! Our team spent Tuesday at Camp Kettleford in Bedford, NH, and will finish up filming on Friday at our resident camp, Farnsworth, in Thetford, VT. We were super excited to see our girls having such a great time, and to get some great footage of these amazing budding actors. We’ve posted TONS of photos on our Instagram and Twitter accounts and will add even more on Friday. Once our videographer Michael finishes up filming, he’ll edit together our footage to create some promotional videos. We’re so excited to see the finished product (should be sometime in August), and we can’t wait to share it with you!

Packing for Overnight Camp

DO: Write your camper’s name in or on all her items (first and last!).

DON’T: Bring anything fancy or valuable- roughing it is fun!

DO: Bring enough clothing for the number of days your camper will attend camp plus 1. Camp can get messy!

DON’T: Bring flip-flops- they’re not allowed for safety reasons. Closed toed shoes (like sneakers or hiking boots) are a must!

DO: Remember to bring warm clothes- even in the summer it can get chilly at night.

DON’T: Forget the sunscreen and sunblock.

DO: Bring a comfort item like a stuffie or a book- this is especially helpful for younger campers and first-timers.

DON’T: Bring electronics, or anything you wouldn’t bring on a plane (drugs, lighters, weapons, sports equipment, etc.) When in doubt, leave it at home!

DO: Talk to campers about potentially embarrassing topics like bed-wetting and menstruating at camp if this might be an issue for your camper. Bedding can be washed discretely if necessary – just remind your camper to let her counselor know if she has a problem. Don’t forget to pack pads or tampons for girls who may need them!

DO: check out our full packing list here (open the Family Handbook and flip to page 7).

And, most importantly, have a great time at camp!