As COVID-19–related travel restrictions are lifted across the globe
and you and your troop feel safe doing so, your 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. And the Girl Scout
Cookie Program can help to make travel dreams a reality as girls use
their cookie earnings every year to power amazing adventures for themselves and their troop.
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
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
progress to day trips, overnights, and weekend trips. Juniors can take
adventures farther with a longer regional trip. And Cadettes, Seniors,
and Ambassadors can travel the United States and then the world. There
are even opportunities for older girls to travel independently by
joining trips their councils organize or participating in Destinations.
Planning Ahead for Adventure
Get in touch with your council as you start
thinking about planning a trip. They have training programs that will
raise your confidence as a chaperone as well as an approval process
for overnight and extended travel.
GSEMA troop leaders begin the required pre-approval process for a
1-2 night overnight via a Girl Scout Activity Form, ideally at least four
weeks in advance, or with as much notice as possible. For trips of 3
nights or more, this required pre-approval process starts with a Preliminary Application for Extended Trip, which
should be submitted at least a year in advance, especially when
travelling internationally. Girls who have progressed and are ready
to travel independently can apply for Destinations!
Not sure where to begin? Check out the Girl Scout Guide to U.S. Travel. This resource
is designed for Juniors and older Girl Scouts who want to take
extended trips—that is, longer than a weekend—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 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 is your go-to
resource for safety. Your council has additional resources and an
approval process. In addition to the required pre-approval for all
overnights as noted above, a Girl Scout Activity Form is required for
pre-approval of all “high risk", high adventure day trip
activities as defined by Safety Activity Checkpoints. 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 (more than three nights) is not covered
under the basic Girl Scout insurance plan and will require additional coverage.
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 to an idea for travel. For
example, girls learn where their food comes from in the Sow
What? Journey. That would connect well with a trip focusing on
sustainable agriculture and, naturally, sampling tasty food!
There are abundant opportunities to build real skills while earning
badges too. The most obvious example is
the Senior Traveler badge, but there are plenty more, such as Eco
Camper, New Cuisines, Coding for Good, and, of course, all the
financial badges that help girls budget and earn money for their trips.
Want to include Girl Scout traditions on 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.
And if your girls are looking to stay closer to home this year? Ask your council about council-owned camps and other facilities that
can be rented out.
As your girls excitedly plan their next trip, remember to 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!