My Trail Adventure

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Who's ready for an exciting trail adventure? I bet you are! But, what are some things that we might need to think about, before we venture out? Whatever adventure you choose, it should be girl led!

First, let's Look Out. Following the Girl Scouts Outdoor Progression chart, we can share experiences with our family and friends before we plan our big outing. A good place to start, is asking them what are some of their favorite places that they've explored and why was the experience so memorable to them. Was it because of the incredible views once they reached a certain place or saw a new plant or animal that they'd never seen before? Or, was it simply the sense of accomplishment that they felt after completing their big adventure. Who knows what they might say, but just starting the conversation will create a deeper bond with that person, and help you to share in their experience in a positive way. Another thing that you could ask your family and friends about, is how they prepared for their adventure and what were some important things they packed and some items that they wished they would have packed. After all, we can learn from other's experiences and become wiser in our decision making because of it. Sometimes, just having a conversation about another person's experience, gets us excited about our own adventure and gives us some ownership in the planning phase.

Next, step outside and look, listen, feel, and smell; engage all of your senses. What did you discover when you were mindful of your surroundings? Did you want to explore your surroundings a little more or were you just happy to take in that moment and reflect on what you want to accomplish. For  younger girls in the troop, such as Daisy's and Brownies, I'm sure you know that they have a lot of energy and will no doubt be excited to start exploring their surroundings. That's why the planning phase in very important for younger girls in the troop. We want them to explore their environment, but we also want them to do that safely and always be mindful of their surroundings and any possible hazards. The Girl Outdoor Readiness Assessment will help you make an informed decision based on the ability of most girls in the troop with the appropriate outdoor activity. For our Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors, setting a goal will help them accomplish a more challenging adventure, such as a trail run. 

Then, let's Move Out. Take a short walk outside and maybe design a nature sculpture with leaves and rocks or try and name a few plants that you see on your short outing with the troop. Make a plan and talk with the girls about how they might need to be prepared for their environment and any different types of weather that they might encounter. I'm sure that you've heard of the old saying that there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. It is very hard to get warm once you've gotten cold and cotton can be your troops worst enemy if the weather turns cold and rainy and no one was prepared. You want to create an experience that is both memorable and fun for everyone.

Lastly, let's Explore Out. Packing a daypack is essential. You'll need to think about where you'll be taking your short and easy hike and pack appropriately. I've included a PDF checklist that is complete with areas for you to write in anything that you might want to add. You'll need your troop first-aider (wilderness first-aider if more than 30 minutes from EMS) if you're going as a troop and you'll also want to make sure that your adult to child ratio is correct. Make sure everyone dresses for the weather and has a healthy snack or lunch with them. And remember, don't forget the leave no trace principles listed at the bottom of the Outdoor Progression chart - it is critical that we leave a place better than we found it. 

For Troop 1063, I require our girls to fill out the Trail Adventure Safety Plan when they are in the planning phase of their hike. It is very important that a responsible adult knows the plan and who and how many are in the hiking party. I've made this into a form, so it should be very easy for the girls to fill out and send to Co-leaders for their records.

Troop 1063, please download your Trail Adventure requirements below if you're completing your hike with a family member/caregiver. You'll need to give a short presentation at one of our three meetings this December to meet the badgework requirements. 

So how did it go? I'd love to know how your adventure was in the comments below. What are some things that you enjoyed and how was your experience? Trails are made to be explored and I hope that your girl-led adventure was everything that you hoped and planned for -- and so much more! 

Co-Leader Mrs. Stacey |  Troop 1063

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