Heidi the Cycling Seamstress


Girl Scout Outdoor progression

Between grabbing a bite to eat and loads of office type work, I wanted to sit down and share Girl Scout Outdoor progression.  Helping Girls get the confidence to get outside can be a challenge!  Some girls never really spend time outside of their house, so being in a Girl Scout troop can be the vehicle for that discovery and progression to getting there.  In my troop we are just starting that progression.  There is a workshop you can take called Outdoor 101. This allows you to get going on outdoor girl progression and can take you all the way to a back yard camp out. Back yard camp outs are super fun and is great way to get girls exposed to the outdoors.  Here is a picture of the Girl Scout outdoor progression chart:

So the first step is Look out.  This is where your story telling can really come alive.  I have so many outdoor/camping stories from my days as a young Girl Scout, (I am a lifetime member!) encourage girls to share their outdoor stories. This is great because you can really get a feel for where each girl is and what step to take next with them. 


Meet out.  Have a meeting outside at a park. Our troop is going into second year brownies and we are working on the eco friend badge and this badge covers great topics like observing the natural world and starting to learn about the leave no trace principles. (See attached picture)  Our next meeting for the year we will be observing nature at one of our local parks.


After we have done the eco friend badge, we are going to move on to the next step which is planning a small walk.  We are lucky to live in an area that has some great paved, multi-purpose trails that go through some Nature parks. If we have the space we can even do an indoor sleep over to get girls used to being in different environments than their home.  This is important especially with younger girls who may not have much experience away from their families.


Explore out is taking that next step of learning what to pack to bring along on a hike in a state or national park.  This is the plan ahead and prepare part of Leave no trace.  State parks are great because you can get maps of trails ahead of time and you can practice and explain how to dress for a hike and the weather.  This may take a couple of meetings.  I can see one meeting about learning how to dress for the weather with a clothing relay game and I can see another meeting on the basics of reading a map so the girls can follow and plan out a route they may want to hike at the state park.


Cook out.  If you have young girls, they may not know how to cook for themselves. This is a wonderful step that I can see being done in a couple of meetings.  One of your meetings you decide on a simple meal, make the shopping list for that meal.  You can then have the girls meet at the grocery store to do the shopping, then you can have a meeting where you help the girls cook the meal they planned.  Because we are focusing on camping, and due to burn ban restrictions, I always recommend learning to cook on a camp stove. That way you won't be scrambling to change plans if you can't have a fire.  I am in Texas, so burn bans are frequent.  If you want to learn how to cook on a fire and there is no burn ban in effect, portable fire pans are really efficient and you can get a good cooking fire going, ( they tend to be hotter and less flames) you will be able to teach the girls that to cook over a fire, you will need to start it way before you are actually cooking so your food cooks completely. ( you would not want anybody to get sick from under cooked food.)


Sleep out is my favorite! If you have done the outdoor 101 training, this is the top of where you can go.  Does somebody have a back yard big enough to accommodate some tents?  Then go for it! this is great way to get parents involved in the troop, plus it helps bolster the confidence of the girls for sleeping away from their folks/family and outside with different sounds and experiences


I am going to do camp out and adventure out in one paragraph. Camp out is a 1 to 2 night camping trip. service unit encampments, week end camping trips at a local state park that is where camp out goes.  With the experience and confidence that have learned from the other steps of progression, they are ready to take on more outdoor skills.  Adventure out would most likely be for older girls who are planning on camping for multiple day trips, backpacking trips and that of the like.  If those older girls have gone through the outdoor progression, they will be ready with the skills they have learned on their way up through the scouting ranks to tackle multi- day trips.


Some points to take away.  If you are in the Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains council, The outdoor 101 training will be able to let you be able to go as far as camping in a back yard.  The Cabin training will allow you to take your troop to cabin camping and tent camping will allow you to take the girls tent camping at a place like a state park. I hope you enjoyed this little post on Outdoor progression! I am outdoor 101 trained and have Leave no trace training, so if you need some help with either shoot me an email and I will see what I can help you with !

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