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Get Girls Outdoors with camping, hiking, swimming, and other outdoor activities

Getting Girls Outdoors

When girls spend quality time outdoors and increase their exposure to nature, they thrive physically, emotionally, and intellectually. Volunteers need to be confident in their outdoor skills in order to lead the best safe and fun-filled outdoor experience for their Girl Scouts! We are here to help you if you’re not feeling confident or even just want to brush up on some outdoor knowledge.

Taking Activities Outdoors
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Venture Out:  Learn practical tips and tricks, read other volunteers’ stories, and explore the joys of taking girls outside with Venture Out!, a fun, interactive “outdoor” adventure made possible by GSUSA’s Elliott Wildlife Values Project.

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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. The Girl Scout Outdoor Progression Chart (PDF) is a tool you can use as you advance girls’ skills in an age-appropriate way. 

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Taking the Journey 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!

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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.

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Outdoors Songs and Games:  This video provides fun tips on how to teach songs and games to girls to do in the outdoors, and resources available to learn more about Girl Scout songs and games. 

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<-- Keep an eye out for the tree icon in Volunteer Toolkit! This icon indicates an activity can be taken outdoors!

Camping with Girls
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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.

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

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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!

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Introduction to Fire Building:  To ensure a fun campfire experience and help minimize impact on the environment, this video provides basic skills on Leave No Trace ethics, wood gathering, types of fire building methods, and how to start and extinguish a campfire.

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Not ready to take your troop out on your own? Check out our event calendar to find upcoming Troop Adventure Camp or Troop Adventure Day opportunities! At these events, you and your volunteers will supervise your troop while GSHPA staff faciliate outdoor activities. 

Outdoor Progression
Outdoor Program Progression Chart
Adult Enrichment

Outdoor Trainings are available throughout the year for any outdoor enthusiast or adventure seeker. You’ll have fun, learn something new and be able to provide your troop with an awesome new experiences like:

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Archery

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Climbing Wall (Facilitation)

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Low Ropes (Facilitation)

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Leave No Trace Awareness

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Fire Building/Outdoor Cooking

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Check our event calendar for upcoming adult enrichment opportunities.

Reserving a Camp Property

Visit our Property Reservations page to take a virtual tour of our camp properties, view pricing, and reserve a camp property for your next camping trip!

 

GSHPA + DCNR Partnership
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Pennsylvania State Parks offer a variety of professional development opportunities for  teachers as well as non-formal environmental
educators. We provide hands-on, cross-curricula training for teachers from all grades (Pre-K - College). Learn more!

GSHPA Outdoor Opportunities
  • Troop Adventure Day
  • Troop Adventure Camp
  • Spend a Day Completing Badge Requirements
Meet Our Outdoor Staff
Lutricia Eberly

Director of Outdoor Experience

Lutricia joined GSHPA mid-summer 2019 after 15 years at a local ski resort. There she created a number of Girl Scout experiences in partnership with GSHPA and field trip curriculum in partnership with local middle school teachers from Mechanicsburg and a career counselor from Middletown. Lutricia thrives by following rabbit trails to see what nugget can be found at the end of something that started off making no sense. She becomes stir crazy if a weekend getaway is not planned on the calendar and a coffee meeting is not scheduled for the next week.

Director of Outdoor Experience, Lutricia Eberly
Julie Queen

 

Associate Director of Outdoor Experience

Camp Name: Master Splinter

Julie has been with GSHPA since September 2017. She graduated from Millersville University with a B.S. in Environmental Biology. After graduation, she served in the Peace Corps in Ecuador as a Natural Resource Conservation volunteer for over two years. Julie has worked for both the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. In 2016, Julie completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail (AT) and worked as a Ridgerunner on the AT in 2017. She is a proud Lifetime Member of the Girl Scouts. Julie is a Leave No Trace Master Educator and is certified in Wilderness First Aid, First Aid/CPR/AED, is an American Red Cross Lifeguard, and a Level 1 Archery instructor. When not at Camp Small Valley, Julie can typically be found hiking in the woods.

Associate Director of Outdoor Experience, Julie Queen
Sarah Baldwin

Outdoor Program Coordinator

Camp Name: Donnie

Sarah joined the GSHPA team in the Fall of 2017. Sarah began her career at the University of Maine, where she majored in Wildlife Ecology. After graduating, Sarah traveled the states working at a variety of outdoor education centers and camps before making her way back to the Girl Scouts. It was during this time that she discovered her passion for teaching outdoor education and her love for camp. Sarah is certified in Wilderness First Aid, First Aid/CPR/AED, and is an American Red Cross Lifeguard. Sarah enjoys reading, kayaking, and hiking in her free time.

Outdoor Program Coordinator,  Sarah Baldwin

 

Leave No Trace

At GSHPA, we believe in responsible behavior and respecting the environment. That’s why we're one of only two Girl Scout Councils that are Leave No Trace Partners! The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics is a national organization that supports protecting the outdoors by teaching and inspiring people to enjoy it responsibly. That’s something we can get behind!


How can Girl Scouts ensure they’re practicing #LNT daily?

There are seven principles of Leave No Trace. It’s important that Girl Scouts are familiar with these principles, considering so many of our activities happen in the outdoors. Let’s go through each one and think about how the principles apply to Girl Scouts.

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare

Before you start your outdoor adventure (no matter how small!), make sure you’re prepared. Make sure you’re familiar with regulations and special concerns about the area(s) you’ll be visiting, and keep in mind high-traffic times. Avoiding crowds will not only prevent protected wildlife from getting trampled, it will also make it a more enjoyable experience for the girls!

Depending on the size of your troop, consider splitting up into smaller groups. If there are too many people in one given spot, there might not be enough room on the trail for everyone to listen, talk, and share with each other. Smaller groups help us foster conversation while we’re mindful of the environment around us.

2. Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces

Whether you’re visiting for a day or overnight, it’s important to stick to durable surfaces, like established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grass, or snow. This is for the safety of everyone in your group as well as the safety of the environment. When we walk beyond established paths, we risk damaging vegetation and other organisms that can be damaged beyond recovery.

If your troop is staying overnight, remember that campsites are found, not made! You don’t need to alter an existing site to meet your needs. Try to find a site that is so highly impacted that further careful use will cause no noticeable impact.

3. Dispose of Waste Properly

One of the easiest ways to Leave No Trace is to dispose of any waste you’ve brought with you. If there are trash cans available, excellent! Use them for anything you no longer need, separating recyclable and compostable items if necessary. If there aren’t any trash cans, bring it all with you. This includes packaging, leftover food, and other litter. And if you’re camping overnight, don’t forget to check that you’ve grabbed all of your clothing, camping gear, and anything else non-edible you may have left behind.

And when nature calls, find a spot at least 200 feet from water, your camp, and trails, and dig a hole 6 to 8 inches deep for solid human waste. When finished, cover and disguise the hole. It’s not glamorous, but it helps protect the environment!

4. Leave What You Find

Girl Scouts love souvenirs as much as the next person, but during your outdoor adventure, the only souvenirs you should take are pictures! Leave rocks, plants, and other natural objects where you find them, and avoid building structures like forts or makeshift furniture. Leave those projects for your backyard.

5. Minimize Campfire Impacts

While you may not be in wildfire country, it’s still incredibly important to minimize the impact of your campfire. Keep in mind regulations for where you’re visiting (which you should’ve already researched as part of principle 1!), as fires might not be allowed.

When and where fires are permitted, keep them as small as possible. Only use sticks that can be broken by hand, no tools required. Once you’re done, make sure all wood and coals have burned to ash. Put out the fires completely, then scatter the ashes once they’ve cooled.

6. Respect Wildlife

One of the best parts of spending time outdoors is seeing all the amazing wildlife. But as exciting as it is to see animals in the wild, remember that they should be observed from a distance and should never be fed. It damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.

Similarly, make sure food (including food waste!) is stored securely. Whether they’re fed intentionally or find your food on accident, wildlife can be very negatively impacted by human food.

7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Finally, remember to be considerate toward others, including those in your group. Ask questions courteously, avoid making loud noises, and yield to others on the trail. In short, be a sister to every Girl Scout—as well as every non–Girl Scout!

 

  

 

Have questions about getting girls outdoors? Reach out to our Member Services team at 800-692-7816 or MemberServices@gshpa.org.