Girl Scout Traditions: Troop Trips

Girl Scout Traditions: Troop Trips

posted in: Leadership | 0

 

People don’t take trips, trips take people.
-John Steinbeck

 

SO. Your troop is talking about taking a trip?

Awesome! Going new places is one of the most memorable parts of being a Girl Scout, no matter what your age. Whether a girl has never left her city or she’s been across the ocean – there’s always something new to see, learn, experience, and remember.

Much like you probably wouldn’t send a girl who’s never spent the night away from home on a solo weeklong trip, you wouldn’t take a Daisy on an international adventure without working up to it.

For this reason, there’s a recommended progression of travel in Girl Scouts. We’ll walk you through some ideas and pointers at each level and explain what you need to get started! Some girls will go through this progression more quickly than others, as maturity levels differ from girl to girl. You know your girls better than anyone!

 

Why take a trip?

Girl Scout travel is an ideal way to offer girls leadership opportunities! The travel progression builds on itself, ensuring girls are learning and experiencing something new at each level. As girls grow in their travel skills and experience and can better manage the planning process, they progress to longer trips. Involving girls in the planning and research is vital to their learning, and it helps them take ownership of the trip and enjoy it that much more! Sure, if you and the other grown-ups plan the whole thing yourselves, it will probably get done a lot quicker, but will the girls know how long it took? Or how many times you had to look for a better price? Or what goes into a simple trip to the zoo?

It doesn’t matter if it’s a trip across the city, to a new state, or another country – the experience of going somewhere you’ve never been is not easily forgotten.

 

 

Girl Scout Travel Progression

Daisies and up: Short trips to points of interest in the neighborhood

Daisies are in kindergarten and first grade and are energetic and need opportunities to move around. They’re developing fine motor skills, are creative, and enjoy building! Daisies can follow simple directions and respond well to recognition for doing so.

An ideal trip for Daisies is a short trip to a nearby place in the neighborhood or community. If it can be reached in a walk or short car ride, it’s probably going to go over well. Ideas include the zoo, the fire station, park, hands-on museum, or playground!

Form required to turn in to council? Nope!

Permission forms from parents and Health History Records are required for the troop to have for each girl for every outing. For most activities, we recommend at least one volunteer be first-aid/CPR-certified.

Brownies and up: Day trips

Brownies are energetic, social, and enjoy working in groups. They’re great helpers and love to be chosen for simple tasks, they need clear directions, and like knowing what to expect.

A successful and happy Brownie outing might consist of an all-day visit to a point of historical or natural interest, or a day-long trip to a nearby city. Maybe this includes a picnic or hike at a state or national park/memorial, a museum, or a trip downtown!

Form required? Maybe; if you have non-registered members going on the trip, then you’ll need to submit the Troop and Service Unit Activity Approval Form at least six weeks before the trip. Non-registered members aren’t covered by Girl Scouts’ insurance, so you’ll need to buy additional insurance for those participants. Turning in the form six weeks before the trip will give you enough time to take care of this step.

Everyone is registered? No forms needed to turn into council!

Permission forms from parents and Health History Records are required for the troop to have for each girl for every outing. For most activities, we recommend at least one volunteer be first-aid/CPR-certified.

Juniors and up: Overnight trips

Juniors want to make decisions and express their opinions. They’re social and enjoy doing things in groups. Girls in this level are aware of expectations and sensitive to judgment. They have strong motor skills and coordination.

Juniors love one (or possibly two) nights away to a state or national park, historic city, or nearby city for sightseeing, staying in a hotel, motel, or campground. (hint: maybe a weekend in Savannah?!)

Form required? Maybe; if you have non-registered members going on the trip, then you’ll need to submit the Troop and Service Unit Activity Form to council at least six weeks before the trip. This is for the same reason as stated above – you’ll have to buy additional insurance for non-registered members, and this will give you plenty of time.

Permission forms from parents and Health History Records  are required for the troop to have for each girl for every outing. For most activities, we recommend at least one volunteer be first-aid/CPR-certified.

Cadettes and up: Extended overnight trip

Cadettes are starting to spend more time in peer groups and are concerned about friends and relationships in their age groups. They can be great problem solvers and critical thinkers. Cadettes can be very self-conscious. Their interactions with adults greatly impact their lives.

Take these middle school-age girls on a trip that’s three or four nights camping or in a motel, hotel, or hostel within the girls’ home region

Form required? Yes! Trips of three nights or more require the Troop and Service Unit Activity Approval Form to be submitted to council six weeks prior to the trip.

Permission forms from parents and Health History Records  are required for the troop to have for each girl for every outing. For most activities, we recommend at least one volunteer be first-aid/CPR-certified.

Seniors and up: National trip

Seniors clarify their own values, consider alternative points of view on controversial issues, and see multiple aspects of a situation. They can be great problem solvers and critical thinkers, and they enjoy expressing their individuality.

Seniors are ready to travel anywhere in the country, often lasting a week or more. Where to is up to them! See a far-off national park or big city, or plan a tour of several states/areas!

Form required? Yes! Trips of three nights or more require the Troop and Service Unit Activity Approval Form to be submitted to council six weeks prior to the trip.

Permission forms from parents and Health History Records  are required for the troop to have for each girl for every outing. For most activities, we recommend at least one volunteer be first-aid/CPR-certified.

Ambassadors: International trip

Travel around the world? Why not! With WAGGGS World Centres offering lodging and Girl Scout programs, it’s certainly attainable! There are World Centres located in Adelboden, Switzerland; Cuernavaca, Mexico; Pune, India; and London! Check out more info on the WAGGGS website.

Ambassador girls can see the complexity of situations and controversial issues. They, too, are great problem solvers and critical thinkers. They take on more responsibilities both at home and away from home.

Form required? Yes! Trips of any length outside the continental US required the Troop and Service Unit Activity Approval Form to be submitted to council six months prior to the trip

It’s also required to submit a trip itinerary, trip roster, and additional activity insurance payment.

Note: Girl Scouts who are going on GSUSA Destinations (domestic or international) do not need to submit this form. Their Destinations application will come to us! Also, Destinations are open to girls as early as age 11.

Permission forms from parents and Health History Records  are required for the troop to have for each girl for every outing. For most activities, we recommend at least one volunteer be first-aid/CPR-certified.

 

One exception…

High-Adventure Activities. You know the kind: girls are chomping at the bit and grown-ups are hesitant. These kinds of activities have a few more safety checkpoints than going on a camping trip. If any of your travels involve these activities, you’ll want to check out these guidelines.

High-Adventure Activities require the Troop and Service Unit Activity Approval Form to be submitted six weeks prior to the trip. These activities include…

Whitewater rafting
Canoeing/kayaking
Sailing
SCUBA diving/snorkeling
Self-guided backpacking trips
Downhill skiing/snowboarding
Horseback riding
Zip line adventures
Rappelling/climbing
Caving
Hot air ballooning

 

Planning Girl-Led Trips

Whether this is your favorite part, or your least-favorite part – it doesn’t have to be all-out chaos. This is an incredible opportunity for girls to take on leadership roles in researching and budgeting a trip, and learn what happens behind the scenes of their field trips.

Brainstorming

Encourage creative brainstorming about where they’d like to go! Maybe there’s an activity or badge they’d like to build a trip around! Start with what trips and activities they’ve already done, and build from there! It’s all about the progression.

Researching

Have girls go over all the ideas and decide which ones to investigate further. The more involved they are in this process, the more fun it will be! Sure, maybe they won’t be the ones calling and making reservations – but they deserve a chance to see how it all works! From the research, the girls can decide which trip they’d like to pursue planning.

Budgeting

After researching possible transportation, lodging, activity, and food costs – look at the numbers. Is this a trip that the girls are willing to save up for? If no, then start over with a different option. They may decide to go on a less-expensive trip.

Planning

Girls may choose to work in planning committees on their own, outside of regular meeting time. Committees might include Activity, Transportation, Food, Fun, Safety, and more.

 

Paying for Trips

Girl Scout Product Sales

Product sales like the Fall Product Program and Girl Scout Cookie Program are built-in ways for troops to help plan for, save for, and pay for troop trips and adventures.

It’s important to remember that with the Fall Product Program and the Girl Scout Cookie Program, money earned by the troop belongs to the entire group. The amount sold by each girl makes up the total amount, and is not/cannot be divided per person, based on the amount of product earnings she is responsible for. Troop funds are to be used for troop activities, not individual girls’ family or personal activities. However, if a troop wants to support an individual girl’s high award project, the girls can vote on how to spend it and how much to give. Individually-registered Girl Scouts’ funds (i.e.: these girls are not in a troop) are usually handled by their service unit, and can be requested by the girl to put toward Girl Scout activities only.

Bottom line: once product earnings go into the troop account, it’s one big pot. The only exception to this rule is if a girl transfers to another troop.

Additional Money-Earning

If a troop wants to hold additional money-earning activities in addition to the Fall Product Program and Cookie Program – it’s an option! These activities include things like car washes, spaghetti suppers, pancake breakfasts, bake sales, yard sales, etc. If you hold any other kind of money-earning event, there’s an approval process that needs to happen first. We ask that you submit the Application for Money-Earning Project at least 30 days before the event.

Travel Grant

We offer a grant for Cadettes and up to travel with! It’s a grant of up to $500! While it’s not for specifically for troops, girls can apply for it on their own and use it to help pay for council-sponsored trips (like the Costa Rica trip in 2018!) and GSUSA Destinations. Applications are due to council each year on Nov. 15 and March 15.

 

Post-Trip Reflection

Reflection offers the opportunity to see how something influenced us or affected us. A trip offers a unique opportunity to reflect, because it might have been a new experience for the girls. They have no prior experience on which to base their opinions, so reflecting on the experience as a group can help them process the trip. Something as easy as listing a high/low moment from the trip is reflecting, or even talking about what emotions the trip made her experience and why!

Plan a post-trip review and celebration session for girls to discuss what they liked, dislikes, or would’ve done differently. Then, as a troop, decide how you’d best like to capture your trip memories! Girls may decide they want to create a scrapbook, tell other troops about their trip, or build an album on social media. You may want to plan this session a few weeks after the trip to give girls the opportunity to reflect on their own.

Use these tips and your troop trip will be truly girl powered! You may find yourself offering helpful suggestions and guidance along the way, especially if they’re planning a trip for the first time. The more trips the girls plan, the more it will become second-nature to them, and before you know it, they’ll be thinking of rainy day gear before the thought of a dark cloud crossed your mind!

Bon voyage!

 

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