Saturday, March 24, 2018

Greater Independence and Lifelong Friendships Through Girl Scout Destinations

By Girl Scout Maya W.

Ever since I was little, I’ve loved to travel. Going on new adventures and exploring beautiful places have always brought me so much joy. However, before I went on my Destinations trip with Girl Scouts, I had never traveled with anyone besides my parents or my school. I was accustomed to exploring new places with people I am close to in my life, and the thought of meeting new people and seeing new places at the same time had never crossed my mind.

Then the summer before my sophomore year, I gained this newfound sense of independence and my desire to explore the world increased tenfold. I was so eager to see the world that I could not wait until my next family vacation or an opportunity arose at school; I had to find new ways to travel.

So when my troop leader made an announcement about Girl Scout Destinations at our first meeting of the year, my ears immediately perked up—I knew I’d found the perfect opportunity to travel more. I was dismayed, though, that no one in my troop wanted to apply and that, if I were accepted, I would have to go by myself. The thought of going to a new continent with people I had never met was so daunting that I put the application on the backburner and decided to find another way to travel.

But then, a month before the applications were due, I decided to give the application a shot. There was just no way I could allow myself to pass up the opportunity to travel to Iceland. I applied and anxiously awaited the results. I was so excited the day I got in, but as the trip drew nearer and nearer, I became more and more anxious and nervous. As an introvert, the thought of going to a new country with complete strangers was one of the most fearful scenarios of my life.

When I got off my flight at John F. Kennedy airport and met my fellow Girl Scouts from across the country, my fears instantly vanished. The girls I met on that trip are some of the nicest, most considerate, good-hearted people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. I am so happy that I was able to experience so many firsts with them: my first time on a glacier, my first time on a black-sand beach, my first time snorkeling between a continental divide…

This trip helped me gain a greater sense of independence, and now I know that no matter what situation I am in, I have the ability to make long-lasting friendships. Because of this Destinations experience, I am more willing to do things by myself and put myself in situations where I may not know anyone. And when I go to college in two years, I know that I will be able to make lifelong friendships easily, thanks to Girl Scouts. My Destinations trip to Iceland helped teach me that there are too many beautiful things to see in this world to allow my fears and anxieties to keep me from seeing them.

Maya is a Girl Scout Ambassador from Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital. She attended the Escape to Iceland Destination in July 2017.

Check out Girl Scout Destinations, the ultimate adventure for girls ages 11 and older. With a ton of different trips to choose from every year—from surfing camp on the east coast to breathtaking hikes out west to the crazy-cool wonder of new cultures abroad—there’s something amazing for everyone to experience. The official application period for 2018 has closed, but there’s still space available in select trips—including Escape to Iceland! Plus kayak trips, rainforest treks, a theatre festival, and more. Have girls apply today!