Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Girl Scout Destinations - The Ultimate Adventure

Girl Scout Destinations are the ultimate adventure for girls ages 11 and older! With different trips every year, there’s something amazing for everyone to experience. We recently caught up with Nora “Avery” Lee, a 15 years old Girl Scout from San Gorgonio Council who shared the low down on her experiences traveling through Destinations.

What Destinations did you participate in?
1. Space Academy 2013—This was my first Girl Scout Destination Trip. My mother and I drove to Huntsville, Alabama, and made this into a month long car adventure across the United States. I found I had a passion for travel and space, and recognizing these qualities helped me to pursue future Girl Scout Destinations.
2. Wilderness Adventure Photography 2014—We spent a week camping and learning how to take high quality photographs in spectacular areas such as: Mono Lake, Bodie Ghost Town, Yosemite National Park, Vernal Fall, and more.
3. Advanced Space Academy 2015—I was ecstatic to be back to where it all began for me and to continue challenging myself with astronaut simulations, mock missions, and the infamous Area 51 outdoors course.

Is there a particular moment you can remember from one of your Destinations that illustrates what these experiences have meant to you? 
I cannot possibly list all that I have gained from Destinations, but there was one moment from my most recent Girl Scout Destination to Advanced Space Academy…Area 51 Leadership Reaction Course, the outdoor ropes course, is a place to find both your inner leader and team player. There you are asked to set new personal goals and to meet, and possibly exceed, those expectations. Ever since I was a toddler I have been frightened by heights and roller coaster drops. The zip line in Area 51 was an excellent personal challenge for facing two of my fears. To reach the platform one has to climb a 50-foot wooden wall. Once at the top, the crew trainers clip you into a single yellow cord that will carry you across the zip line. You must push yourself off the platform when ready—right over a 30-foot drop. My heart still races when I remember staring down at the ground, so far away, and at the rope attached to my harness that was the only tether to keep me from falling. I spent 20 minutes contemplating whether to jump or to return back to the safety of the ground and my team. I knew I would forever regret missing out on this incredible opportunity, so I pushed myself from the platform into the open air.

My time at the top of the platform really helped me reevaluate myself. I feel more prepared to face similar situations—perhaps not jumping off an elevated platform—but I know I will have my fair share of opportunities that seem challenging and frightening. And facing these will force me to act outside my comfort zone. Being able to overcome these life obstacles is a valuable lesson that going to Space Camp helped teach me.

What advice would you give Girl Scouts who are thinking about going on a Destination?
Go for it. I strongly believe that traveling and experiencing new places is one of the best things we can do for ourselves—it’s one of those equally thrilling and terrifying challenges we, as emerging youths, will have to face. Going to new places far away from home is difficult (for some more than others), but giving yourself that chance to find out who and what may emerge in these stimulating environments is a vital part of growing up and figuring out all those confusing details about yourself. Getting to pursue and educate yourself about a personal passion makes Destinations all the more satisfying and meaningful. Traveling and taking these life skills out into the real world is kind of what it means to be a Girl Scout. So take a chance, push your boundaries, you might be surprised to see what will come out of it.

As an experienced traveler, do you have any insider tips you would like to share?
Here are the Top Ten Tips I would give to new or first-time travelers:
1. It’s okay to be nervous.
2. Go in with an open mind.
3. Keep a positive attitude about the situation.
4. Remember to be proud of yourself for every new challenge you face and conquer.
5. New things are good!
6. Make new friends and keep in touch with them. Destinations trips often bring together girls from all over the country or even the world; take advantage of this.
7. Keep a journal during or when you return home and write about your experiences at camp/traveling. You never know when such documentation will come in handy. Some situations may include: job applications, college resumes, or even reading for personal pleasure and reminiscing.
8. Be prepared. Make a list of what to pack and make sure to pack them so you don’t forget anything you cannot live without. Forgetting that “one item” will cause unnecessary worry over something that could easily be avoided.
9. Bring a (small) memento from home that may appease homesickness.
10. Have fun!! :)