Thursday, June 9, 2016

It’s National Get Outdoors Month—Let’s Introduce More Girls to the Wonders of the Outdoors

In the spirit of National Get Outdoors Month and National Get Outdoors Day on Saturday, June 11, 2016, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) is proud to announce the Richard King Mellon Foundation’s $1 million commitment to GSUSA to encourage more girls to embrace the outdoors.

Over the next two years, the funding will help launch pilot outdoor internship programs at five Girl Scout councils across the United States, create a summer Girl Scout Destinations trip to a national park, and develop outdoor program content for the Volunteer Toolkit—our new digital platform for troop volunteers.

To meet these goals, we will be collaborating with the Student Conservation Association (SCA). SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of the environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land.

According to the Girl Scout Research Institute's More Than S’mores: Successes and Surprises in Girl Scouts’ Outdoor Experiences, girls benefit immensely from exposure to the outdoors. Data showcases direct connections between outdoor experiences and Girl Scouts’ understanding of their leadership potential. Despite the benefits of experiencing the outdoors, about 60 percent of girls are not getting regular outdoor exposure in Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouts will also benefit from the grant by exploring national parks via Girl Scout Destinations trips during summer 2016 and 2017. Over the course of two weeks in July 2016, ten Girl Scouts will experience cascading waterfalls, marvel at awe-inspiring vistas, and observe fascinating wildlife while working side by side with park rangers and tackling environmental stewardship projects at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The location of the 2017 Destinations trip has yet to be determined.

Participating councils include Girl Scouts of Alaska, Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, Girl Scouts of Greater New York, Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan, and Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania.

You'll find advice to get more girls outside with Get Girls Outdoors: Four Tips for Council Success.