Girl Scouts has always placed a high value on getting girls outdoors. Yet, in today’s world girls are spending less and less time outdoors due to increased use of technology devices, the many structured activities competing for children’s time and parental protectiveness.
Last year, the Girl Scout Research Institute published More than S’mores: Successes and Surprises in Girl Scouts Outdoor Experiences that explored two questions: Are Girl Scouts still getting outside? What difference does it make if they do? Based on a survey of nearly 3,000 girls from 8 to 14 years old, here are some of the highlights:
Girl Scouts helps girls get outdoors.
More than 70% of girls said they had their first outdoor experience through Girl Scouts. These outdoor experiences provide them with unique opportunities to try new things, improve skills, overcome fears and help other girls.
Girls really enjoy outdoor activities in Girl Scouts.
Among girls’ favorite activities are camping, swimming, horseback riding and archery. When girls say camping is fun, there are several aspects to it: People fun – building new friendships, team work and hanging out with friends. Hard fun – having the opportunity for challenge, mastery and feelings of accomplishment. Nature fun – being out in nature, exploring the natural world. Girls also appreciate being independent and away from home.
Repeated camp attendance, high adventure activities and monthly exposure are key drivers of girls’ leadership development and satisfaction.
Seeking challenges and problem-solving are two outcomes linked to academic success and leadership. These outcomes were more prevalent when girls attended resident camp more than once, took part in high-adventures like canoeing, backpacking, climbing, or the challenge/ropes course and had regular exposure to casual outdoor activities.
Girl Scouts helps girls connect with and care for the environment.
Girl Scouts report levels of environmental stewardship at rates almost double the national average for girls their age. Girls are concerned about, connected to, and committed to conserving the environment and they are making a difference.
Camping experiences create memories and build leadership.
Camping was girls’ number one most memorable outdoor activity. Memories often form the basis of personal narratives about power, potential and meaning. About two-thirds of girls said that Girl Scouts helped them recognize their strengths and learn to do things they thought they couldn't do.
This study confirms the value of outdoor activities for girls. Girl Scouts provides girls with numerous impactful and memorable outdoor experiences that are so much more than just s’mores.
Interested in giving your Girl Scout a camping experience she’ll never forget? Browse our camp brochure and find the perfect session now. OR, view sessions by camp: Camp Marapai | Shadow Rim Ranch | Willow Springs