From the youngest daisies to the seasoned ambassadors, Girl Scouts learn more about the values of what being a Girl Scout means through traveling and unique experiences. Here we've picked out a few ideas on where you might take your troop for your next field trip.
The Girl Scouts are a special organization that has its own history and culture. One way to expand your troop’s outlook and make them feel that they are part of something international and unique is to explore a place completely unique to Girl Scouts. The Girl Scouts National Headquarters and Museum in New York City is wholly devoted to the history and development of the Girl Scouts from its founding by Juliette Gordon Low in 1912 to the troops of today and how they change the world through community work. Compare the original handbook to your modern one, have your Brownies spot the differences in their uniforms and the ones from the 1920s, and browse the thousands of photographs, publications, and memorabilia that have been collected over the years.
You may also want to travel down south to Savannah, Georgia to visit the birthplace of the Girl Scouts at Juliette Gordon Low’s home. The house was built in 1821 and has been restored to its 19th-century glory and decorated with Gordon Low’s handmade artwork and many family furnishings. Girl Scouts come from all over the country to see where the organization first began. Troops may attend events, conferences, programs, or take private troop tours of the home and even have a Victorian-style dinner in the house. While you’re in Savannah, tour the historic district and various plantations that surround the city or go out to Tybee Island where you can splash in the ocean or tour the old Civil War fort.
The Girl Scouts of the United States strive to instill in young girls the values and philosophies that make productive, happy adults. Museums are an excellent way to present your girls with different cultures, to learn about and experience history, and to connect with another time and place in a way that engenders curiosity, inspiration, and, hopefully, empathy. If you are looking for trips in New England, Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, and New York City have hundreds of destinations between them that fit the bill. The National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia preserves the rights and freedoms of our country by presenting stories of heroes who have changed the way people think and act. This excellent museum represents courage above all else, something that the Girl Scouts also proudly represent.
A walking tour of our nation’s capital is also recommended for troops of any age. View the White House, Lincoln Memorial, and the Washington Monument or tour the Smithsonian museums, the largest collection of museums in the world. With a subject and theme for everyone, the Smithsonian museums even offer the unique experience of having an overnight sleepover in the museum. Camp out beneath the dinosaur bones in the Natural History Museum or continue your talk about the Declaration of Independence as you recline beside a mannequin dressed in George Washington’s uniform at the American History Museum. This will give you extra time to talk about the exhibits in a fun environment that your girls won’t forget anytime soon.
A third key ingredient in the Girl Scouts character-building initiative is exposure to and appreciation of nature. It is important for girls to experience the beauty and interconnectivity of life systems to inspire them to preserve and create a more sustainable future for our world. Visit the top national parks such as Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee. Hike through the trails, birdwatch, take a picture inventory of all of the wildlife you come across, or camp beneath the stars. You can even horseback ride through the Appalachian mountains, visit National Wildlife Refuges across the country, or put your girls in the control seat by having them volunteer at a national park, refuge, local animal shelter, or even picking up trash on the roadside.
Wildlife is as important as the preservation of the natural surroundings of their habitats. If you’d prefer a field trip in the city, look to aquariums and zoos such as the Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans, one of the top wildlife complexes in the country with wonderful programs suited for Girl Scout troops. Also, if you are on the coast, head to the beach for some fun in the sun. Learn about the ocean, practice your surfing or body-boarding, and have a sandcastle building contest. The possibilities are endless and the chances are there are parks and nature destinations near you.
For your next Girl Scout field trip, you may very well want to experience something new and entertaining without completely compromising character-building principles. This is where the arts and cultures come in handy such as a trip to Broadway to see a show. If New York City is too far, Chicago has an excellent theater district as does Seattle and Branson, Missouri which has been named the live entertainment capital of the world with over 100 live shows playing year-round. Some of the best amusement parks in the U.S. such as Universal Studios and Disneyland, offer group programs perfect for Girl Scout troops of any age so you can learn and have fun simultaneously. Take a walk through Manhattan’s Garment District to learn more about the fashion industry, visit the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and see where NASA officials launch astronauts into space or explore San Francisco’s famous Chinatown. There are thousands of educational opportunities all over the country that are exciting, unusual, and new to your troop.
Even the smallest of tasks or shortest of trips can spark inspirations and lifelong passions in your girls so have fun, experience new things, and be the best Girl Scout troop you can be!