From the city block to the suburban backyard to the back country, Girl Scouts has a long and storied history of getting girls outdoors.
This summer, when kids and parents are faced with limited safe, accessible, and affordable camp and outdoor options due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) is launching three outdoor initiatives to keep girls entertained and engaged in virtual and in-person environmental activities all summer long.
Offerings include virtual summer camps, free online experiences tied to the outdoors, and exciting virtual events to ensure girls across the country have access to a variety of fun, challenging, and experiential activities so they can continue to develop essential skills and behaviors that will help them become effective leaders in the outdoors and beyond.
The Girl Scout Camp Adventures at Home Marketplace
When girls spend quality time outdoors and increase their exposure to nature, they thrive physically, emotionally, and intellectually.
According to a 2019 Girl Scouts Research Institute (GSRI) study titled “Girl Scouts Soar in the Outdoors,” 86% of girls agree they learned more about nature through Girl Scouts, and 80% state that they participated in outdoor activities through Girl Scouts that they never would have done otherwise. With the launch of the Girl Scout Camp Adventures at Home Marketplace, members and nonmembers can access a one-stop shop to sign up for any of the hundreds of virtual summer camp sessions taking place nationwide.
For the first time ever, girls can meet and participate together in virtual camp sessions offered by any of our 111 councils across the country. They can find a camp based on their interests and grade level on the Marketplace site. Camp sessions include more familiar Girl Scout camp experiences as well as some newer offerings that range from skill-building in wildlife education to activities in environmental stewardship, astronomy, STEM, imagination exploration, and even the culinary arts.
“Girl Scouts created one of the largest platforms for virtual summer camp opportunities in the country,” said GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo. “For more than a century, Girl Scouts has been a place where girls come together to learn, lead, get outdoors with their friends, and take action in their communities.
"This summer, we are proud to continue offering high-quality programming that provides girls opportunities to explore the natural world around them, engage in environmental stewardship, and enjoy the fun and friendship of Girl Scouts in innovative new ways that meet the needs of families during this unprecedented time.”
Pricing varies depending on the camp session and ranges between $25 and $100 for up to a week of programming. Parents can also visit the official Girl Scout Shop to gear up for Camp Adventures at Home and browse STEM kits, craft supplies, camping gear, sports equipment, and more that go hand in hand with virtual activities. New camp sessions from across the country will also be added to the Marketplace calendar every week from June until mid-August.
“Girl Scout Camp Adventures at Home includes a blend of live engagements with counselors, as well as plenty of activities to complete away from the screen, independently, or with a caregiver,” said GSUSA’s Director of the National Outdoor Strategy Amanda Daly. “The same goes for programming available on Girl Scouts at Home, including activities that are part of the Girl Scouts Love the Outdoors Challenge—we want to make sure equal opportunities and resources are available to girls from different neighborhoods all across the country, and varying experience levels in the outdoors, both plugged and unplugged.”
Girl Scouts at Home Outdoor Activities
If girls are still itching for even more outdoor or environmental activities this summer, Girl Scouts at Home offers families access to free self-guided activities that are searchable by topic and age level.
A few outdoor-specific projects include making colorful paintings or sketches using leaves, making a solar box cooker, studying insects within a nature circle, and creating a “stress free zone” to workout, meditate, or just relax in nature. Girls can also complete activities from the Girl Scouts Love the Outdoors Challenge.
Activities vary, from learning how to identify bird calls towatching the sunset or sunrise, flying a kite, learning how to use a compass, and building a bird or bat house.
Girl Scouts Virtual Outdoor Events
Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington will host its second-ever “Camp In Campout” event on June 27, a virtual campout for girls and families throughout the region.
Every girl that registers receives a Camp In Campout patch and an activity packet upon registering, to help prepare for activities or coordinate with their friends from afar. The packet includes recipe and game ideas, song lyrics, blanket fort instructions, badge connections and a schedule of the evening's Art in the Outdoors theme events.
“It’s really amazing that we can bring the outdoors inside when we have to,” said Angie Madsen, Outdoor Program Specialist. “So, whether you’re doing outdoor-themed crafts or taking your camp stove outside in the front yard and just trying out a new camping recipe, there are just so many different things that girls can do.”
The Camp In Campout is open to Girl Scout members. To join Girl Scouts, visit www.girlscoutsosw.org/join. Additional Camp In Campout events are also planned for July and August 2020. To learn more about Camp In Campout events and other local summer camp programs, visit www.girlscoutsosw.org/camp-on.
GSUSA will also be rolling out three national virtual events in June, July and August on the Camp Adventures at Home Marketplace platform over the course of the summer for all girls to sign up and participate in.
The events will focus on topics surrounding ‘Engaging Responsibility in the Outdoors’ in collaboration with The North Face, ‘Space Exploration: Mars to the Stars’ in collaboration with subject matter experts from our NASA-funded ‘Reaching for the Stars: NASA Science for Girl Scouts’ program, and a virtual campout at the Girl Scout Birthplace.
Visit www.girlscouts.org/athome to learn more about all of Girl Scouts’ summer outdoor offerings.