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Girl and father campfire

Outdoor Education

Once troops are ready to begin camping outdoors, special training from the Girl Scout council office is suggested. At least one adult must have first aid and CPR training for all outings beyond the usual meeting location. 

First Aid, CPR, and Wilderness First Aid
For any camping trip with an Emergency Medical System response time of less than 30 minutes, at least one approved volunteer must be currently certified in first aid and CPR. For any camping trip or activity site with an EMS response time of more than 30 minutes, at least one approved volunteer must be currently certified in CPR and Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder.

Outdoor Education Class
This class covers three major topics: basic outdoor camping and gear, outdoor cooking, and camp traditions.
We'll be discussing basic day packs, backpacks, and camping gear to prepare you for everything from a nature hike to a weekend camping at one of our properties or a state park. Additionally, you will learn a variety of outdoor cooking skills from stoves and Dutch ovens to simple foil packs and stick cooking. You will learn basic fire building styles, fire safety, and will cook a meal to eat for lunch. Lastly, you'll learn team building games that can be used with all grade levels to help girls learn to work together and respect each other's abilities. We will talk about some camp traditions, like flag ceremonies, and might even take time to even sing a few Girl Scout songs!

Participants will leave with some tips for girl-led trip planning on your next trip or campout to help guide girls in taking the lead. We will also discuss the outdoor and travel progression charts, so you'll know when your girls are ready for the next step!

This course is offered at all three of our camp properties seasonally. Find upcoming dates on our activities calendar.

Optional Outdoor Overnight Extension
Not sure you are ready to spend the night in the woods with your girls? Extend your outdoor education class by trying out a night with us at camp! This overnight portion is designed for the beginner and novice outdoor folks to get the experience of a night in the woods before you take your girls or to gain confidence before your next trip. We will do additional fire building and outdoor cooking skills, and we will give you plenty of time to ask questions of our experienced facilitators. Come spend a night at camp with other adults and we will take the mystery out of how to plan an outdoor overnight with your girls! Dinner and breakfast are included in the fee.

Overnight accommodations vary by camp and will be detailed in the event description. This is an “add-on” to the Outdoor Education course (above) and takes place on the same day, at the same camp.

Outdoor Education and Camp Policies

Our Outdoor Education classes are educational and hands-on sessions that are beneficial to go camping anywhere with a troop, including a volunteer’s backyard. One approved volunteer must complete the Camp Policies take-home exam. Volunteers can sign up for Outdoor Education Classes through the Activities page and calendar.

The Camp Policies take-home exam must be retaken every three years.

Service Unit Encampments
Plan the best campout in service unit history with this Service Unit Encampment manual! It’s filled with helpful information on how to reserve camp, plan activities, manage a budget, sample timelines, checklists, and more!

Safety Activity Checkpoints
When preparing for any activity with girls, always begin with the Safety Activity Checkpoints written specifically for that particular activity. They include key steps to take in advance of the activity.

Outdoor Programs Volunteer
Are you interested in becoming an Outdoor Program volunteer? Be a campground host for the weekend, help with special events at camp, teach outdoor skills or backpacking, assist with a ski trip or whitewater rafting trip, and more. For more information, email us at info@girlscoutcsa.org or give us a call at 800-474-1912.
 

Outdoor Resources

Thanks to a grant from the Elliott Wildlife Values Project, Girl Scouts of the USA created six new outdoor skill-building videos especially for volunteers newer to Girl Scouts and older Girl Scouts as they take younger girls outside.

These videos can help volunteers give girls a sense of empowerment in the outdoors, show them how to use natural resources more wisely (including respecting our environment and wildlife), and help them become lifelong stewards of the land and our natural resources.

Step by Step: Developing Outdoor Skills in Girls
At Girl Scouts, we work to build girls’ outdoor skills and inspire girls to care for the environment as they grow. The Girl Scout Outdoor Progression Chart (PDF) is a tool you can use as you advance girls’ skills in an age-appropriate way. 

Taking the Journeys Outside
It’s easy to take a Girl Scout Journey outside. Each Journey is full of fun, interactive activities that can easily go outdoors and inspire girls to love and protect the planet. Watch this video to find out how!

Planning Your Troop’s First Campout 
In order to have a great campout, you need to plan ahead—and be prepared. This video will give you plenty to think about as you plan your next outdoor adventure with Girl Scouts.

Introduction to Campsite Set-Up 
A safe, efficient campsite is important when camping. Watch and learn how to set up a proper camp!

Introduction to Cooking Outdoors
Propane, charcoal, box ovens—there are so many choices when cooking outside. This video shares ideas about the delicious possibilities. Tasty!

How to Leave No Trace Outdoors
A Girl Scout always leaves an area better than she found it. Throughout this video, girls will learn the importance of caring for the land, and how to easily “Leave No Trace” when exploring and enjoying the outdoors.

How the videos can help

  • Each video includes helpful tips that can be used when planning outdoor adventures. 
  • Adult- or volunteer-learning departments at councils can use these videos during troop camp certification, grade-level trainings, or with outdoor trainings.
  • Service units can use these videos when planning camporees and skill-building weekends.
  • Older girls (program aides, counselors-in-training, or volunteers-in-training) can learn new outdoor skills to use when working with younger girls.

Check your copy of Safety Activity Checkpoints or Volunteer Essentials to keep up to date with safety and risk management guidelines, and take appropriate outdoor training before starting any activity.