Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Explore the world through Girl Scout Destinations

Every summer, Girl Scouts from across the USA travel to Costa Rica and Panama to participate in Girl Scout-exclusive programs with Outward Bound Costa Rica. One of these is titled Scuba & Sea Turtle Adventure—an unforgettable experience featuring wildlife conservation learning, exciting outdoor activities, and even scuba diving certification! Part of Girl Scouts' Destinations program and the ultimate experience for Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador Girl Scouts, Scuba & Sea Turtle Adventure is perfect for bold and courageous lovers of animals and the outdoors.

This life-changing experience is supported in part by the Elliott Wildlife Values Project, which helps girls grow as leaders in wildlife conservation and environmental stewardship—efforts that positively affect their communities and the world.

Hear from three girls about the fantastic adventures they had as island inhabitants who learned to scuba dive and worked with tropical wildlife!

“Throughout the course of my Destination, our group spotted sea turtles, sloths, bats, dolphins, stingrays, snakes, and a variety of marine life. On our scuba trips alone, we encountered many strange and beautiful creatures. Seeing life in all these different forms gave me a better understanding of just how diverse our planet is and how many species it holds… Viewing a place with so much life inspired me to be more mindful of how I treat our planet. Handling and helping the baby sea turtles reminded me how fragile some of our planet’s inhabitants can be. I realized that we need to make a drastic change in the way we approach our planet’s health. We cannot assume that creatures will adapt to worsening conditions, and we have to help prevent more species from disappearing.” 
—Marley, 17, Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania

“I was inspired the most by the sunburnt anemones. My group learned about them at one of our night meetings, and the next day when we went out to dive, I saw one and was thrilled! I understood what it was and easily identified it. I thought to myself how beautiful nature is. I think the best course of action is to raise awareness and to inspire and teach people to protect wildlife. Ignorance and a lack of empathy is what drives humans to take the wild around them for granted and to ultimately destroy it.” 
—Kennedy, 18, Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan 

“I was scared to scuba dive. The thought of descending several feet below the surface with an air tank strapped to your back was daunting. But one of the reasons I was able to descend was because the wildlife motivated me. The bioluminescent dive was the best one. Seeing all of the creatures light up as we moved our hands around them was breathtaking, and being able to observe animals in their natural habitats was eye opening. It made me more aware of the environment and how we need to be environmentally conscious and protect this planet.” 
—Emma, 16, Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York 

Girls who’ve experienced Scuba & Sea Turtle Adventure have also shared that learning about wildlife on their Destinations trip inspired them to help others protect and conserve wildlife back home. And as noted in the Girl Scout Research Institute resource Four Ways Girl Scouts Builds Girl Leaders in the Outdoors (2019), having outdoor recreational experiences in early childhood strongly and positively influences people’s environmental attitudes, values, and behaviors, with activities like hiking and camping cultivating a sense of responsibility for nature.

Going on a Girl Scout Destinations trip is an incredible way girls can develop love and respect for the environment—as they discover new places, jump into challenges, learn a ton, and make awesome lifelong friends. Learn more about Scuba & Sea Turtle Adventure and many other Destinations, including how you can apply to go on the trip of a lifetime!

New Destinations are announced every fall. Apply now for summer 2020!