From their first local field trip as Daisies to exploration of another country as Seniors or Ambassadors, girls will find that Girl Scouts is the best way to travel. They’ll challenge themselves in a safe environment that sparks their curiosity, and they’ll create lifelong memories with their Girl Scout sisters.
Traveling with Girl Scouts is very different from traveling with family, school, or other groups because girls take the lead. As they make the decisions about where to go and what to do and take increasing responsibility for the planning and management of their trips, girls build important organizational and management skills that will benefit them in college and beyond.
Girl Scout travel is built on a progression of activities, so girls are set up for success. Daisies and Brownies start with field trips and, as they gain experience and grow older, progress to day trips, indoor overnights, camping and weekend trips. Juniors can take adventures farther with a longer trip within the council region (within 200 miles outside of GSOSW council boundaries). Eventually, when girls are Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors, they can travel the United States and the world. There are even opportunities for older girls to travel independently by joining trips their councils organize or participating in Destinations. There’s a whole world of possibilities!
See GSOSW Council Volunteer Policies and Procedures Page 14 for information on travel requirements.
The recommended progression of trips and travel for Girl Scouts are:
1. Short trips to local points of interest (Daisies and older) (Requires Day Trips Training): A walk to the nearby garden or a short ride by car or public transportation to the firehouse or courthouse is a great first step.
2. Day trip (Daisies and older) (Requires Day Trips Training): An all-day visit to a point of historical or natural interest (bringing their own lunch) or a day-long trip to a nearby city (stopping at a restaurant for a meal). Younger girls can select locations and do much of the trip-planning, while never being too far from home. Note: Full-day trips may be very challenging for Daisies, especially for kindergarteners who have not experienced short trips. Make sure girls take some short trips before they progress to a full day trip.
3. Overnight trips (Brownies and older) (Requires Indoor Overnights Training): A trip of one (or possibly two) nights away could start with staying at a Girl Scout property, and progress to a visiting to a state or national park or nearby city for sightseeing, staying in a hotel, motel, or even an overnight at a museum or the zoo! These short trips are just long enough to whet their appetites, but not long enough to generate homesickness. Note: A Daisy troop may participate in an indoor overnight if the girls have had appropriate progressive experiences. Brownie troops can participate up to two nights.
4. Camping trips (Brownies and older) (Requires Outdoor Skills Training): Camping is a staple of the Girl Scout experience. Spend a night or two camping in tents or yurts using outdoor cooking equipment. See the Girl Scout Outdoor Progression Chart.
5. Extended overnight trips (Juniors and older*) (Requires Extended Travel and Outdoor Skills Training): Four nights or more camping or staying in a hotel, motel, or hostel within the GSOSW council reigon (within 200 miles of the council boundaries).
6. National trips (Cadettes and older*) (Requires Extended Travel Training): Travel anywhere in the country, often lasting a week or more. Try to steer clear of ordinary recreational trips girls might take with their families and consider those that offer some educational component such as incredible cities, historic sites, and museums around the country. Perhaps the girls want to plan a trip to some national parks as part of the Girl Scout Ranger program.
7. International trips (Seniors and older*) (Requires Extended Travel Training): Travel around the world, often requiring one or two years of preparation. International trips may be approved for older Girl Scout Cadettes if they have appropriate extended travel progression.
*Grade levels update at the start of the Girl Scout membership year – October 1. Trips planned for the simmer before may not be approved. For example, Juniors bridging to Cadettes who want to take a summer trip outside the council region may not have their trip approved.
See Page 14 of GSOSW Council Volunteer Policies and Procedures for GSOSW training requirements based on activity.
Planning Ahead for Adventure
Get in touch with GSOSW as you start thinking about leaving your regular meeting place, time, or date. GSOSW offers a robust adult training progression covering each step of the travel progression. This training progression prepares adults in work with girls to plan activities and events.
For required trainings and the travel/activity approval process, check the travel section of GSOSW Council Volunteer Policies and Procedures, starting on Page 14.
Not sure where to begin? Check out the Girl Scout Guide to U.S. Travel (http://forgirls.girlscouts.org/travel/resources/guide-to-U.S.-travel/). This resource is designed for Girl Scout Juniors and older Girl Scouts who want to take extended trips (longer than 3 nights or over 200 miles outside council jurisdiction), but also features tips and tools for budding explorers who are just getting started with field trips and overnights.
Once girls have mastered planning trips in the United States, they might be ready for a global travel adventure! Global trips usually take a few years to plan, and the Girl Scout Global Travel Toolkit (http://forgirls.girlscouts.org/travel/resources/global-travel-toolkit/) can walk you through the entire process.
If you’re planning any kind of trip—from a short field trip to an overseas expedition—the “Trips and Travel” section of Safety Activity Checkpoints (http://www.girlscoutsosw.org/content/dam/oregon-sw-washington-/forms/safety.pdf) is your go-to resource for safety. For required trainings and the approval process, check the travel section of GSOSW Council Volunteer Policies and Procedures, starting on Page 12. Be sure to follow all the basic safety guidelines, like the buddy system and first aid requirements, in addition to the specific guidelines for travel.
Note that extended travel insurance is required for trips of two nights or more. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase additional travel insurance.
Girl Scout Connections
It’s easy to tie eye-opening travel opportunities into the leadership training and skill building your girls are doing in Girl Scouts! Your girls can use their creativity to connect any leadership Journey theme into an idea for travel, like a Sow What? trip focusing on sustainable agriculture and, naturally, sampling tasty food!
There are abundant opportunities to build real skills through earning badges, too. The most obvious example is the Senior Traveler badge, but there are plenty more, such as Eco Camper, New Cuisines, Photography, and, of course, all the financial badges that help girls budget and earn money for their trips.
Looking to incorporate Girl Scout traditions into your trip? Look no farther than the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace in Savannah, Georgia! Your girls also have the chance to deepen their connections to Girl Scouts around the world by visiting one of the WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) World Centers, which offer low-cost accommodations and special programs in five locations around the world.
Are your girls looking to stay closer to home this year? GSOSW has many properties that your troop can rent out for day trips or overnights! Check out the Guide to GSOSW Properties on the GSOSW website to schedule your next travel adventure. From the Seaside Program Center on the North Coast to Camp Cleawox on the South Coast to The Homestead Outdoor Program Center on Mount Hood, there are many opportunities to travel around our beautiful region with Girl Scouts.
Lift up the Girl Scout Leadership Experience at every opportunity in your planning, but limit your role to facilitating the girls’ brainstorming and planning, never doing the work for them. Share your ideas and insight, ask tough questions when you have to, and support all their decisions with enthusiasm and encouragement!
Travel to an Epic Girl Event
There’s no better way to combine travel and Girl Scouting than by attending the epic G.I.R.L. 2020 convention, taking place October 23–25, 2020, in Orlando, Florida! It’s the world’s largest girl-led event for girls, young women, and everyone who supports them. This premier gathering for Girl Scouts happens every three years. Attending girls will meet fellow go-getters, innovators, risk-takers, and leaders from around the country and the world.