Sunday, 13 July 2014 21:24

New Research Affirms the Overwhelming Benefits of Outdoor Experiences for Girls

According to a new study by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), More Than S’mores: Successes and Surprises in Girl Scouts’ Outdoor Experiences (2014), girls benefit immensely from time spent outdoors. Girls who regularly spend time outdoors eclipse their peers who spend less time outdoors in environmental stewardship, more readily seek challenges, and are better problem solvers—all important traits in twenty-first century leadership.

Additionally, through an outdoor experience in Girl Scouts, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of girls improved a skill, and 48 percent helped other girls do an outdoor activity. And as noted previously, girls learn environmental stewardship through outdoor experiences. Girl Scouts are twice as likely as non–Girl Scouts to say they take action to protect the environment (51 percent versus 23 percent) and that they’ve had a personal experience in nature that has made them appreciate it more (49 percent versus 29 percent).

Last year, more than 1,160 girls experienced resident camp at Girl Scouts Heart of Central California’s property, Camp Menzies. And more than 1,330 girls experienced horseback riding—one of the most popular activities! This year, we expect to see similar participation throughout summer.

“Giving girls experiences such as camp is why we do what we do, and research shows there’s a strong connection between outdoor experience and leadership potential,” said Dr. Linda E. Farley, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts Heart of Central California. “Girl Scouts provides girls the opportunities to build confidence and develop leadership skills, while also meeting new friends and having fun.”

Girl Scout camp is a tradition central to Girl Scouts since 1912. Today’s camps are highly evolved, matching the interests of twenty-first-century girls. Locally, Girl Scouts Heart of Central California offers camp programs such as Under Construction (a STEM program focused on building structures at camp), Horse Lovers camp, Farm to Fork camp, and Eco-Fashionistas. Girl Scouts is committed to pursuing its mission through the camp experience, offering an astounding array of innovative, fun, and memorable camp activities that allow girls to build courage, confidence, and character, and make the world a better place.