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I’ve travelled with Girl Scouts all around the world, watching as the people and experiences they encounter transform their lives. When I started thinking about all the reasons why girls should travel, the song “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen popped into my head. The original song describes a girl’s discovery of her own strengths and differences, the challenges that came with them, and her choice to embrace them instead of trying to hide them. I realized that travel brings these same discoveries to our girls as they experience the world around us! So I rewrote a verse of “Let It Go” to help explain all the reasons girls have to travel, and for their parents and guardians to let them go!
Let her go, let her go
Don't hold her back anymore.
Let her go! Let her go!
There’s a big, wide world to explore
I don’t know where she might go
But let her go, let her go, let her go!
Save it for later!
Let her go, let her go…
Support her independence as she grows.
Over the years I’ve been lucky to share the world with many girls who had never been out of California or traveled without at least one parent present. While I am aware that not all girls are ready to start there, the Girl Scout way of travel is set up to help prepare girls (and their parents) for the opportunity to explore the world on their own. The key to this is progression, starting with baby steps for everyone. What I have discovered through travel opportunities is that if we “let them go” they become more aware of the world around them and what part they play in it.
Pro Tip: Check out the Travel Progression chart for more information on how girls can explore and level up their travels as they grow!
Don’t hold her back anymore…
Give her a safe space to take risks.
The sky is the limit to what girls can do and where they can go. The big thing to keep in mind is the proper progression of activities. While we don’t want to hold them back from participating in something, we do need to keep Safety-Wise in mind when planning for activities. If it is an activity that has been approved, let them explore it. If it requires special training, like a lifeguard, hire someone who is trained to help your group so the girls can enjoy the activity, or talk to your service unit to see if they have someone with the right expertise!
There’s a big, wide world to explore…
Help her explore the world at her own pace.
Did you know that any time a troop goes somewhere away from their regular meeting place, it is a form of travel? Getting out and about can offer a lot of fun opportunities. There are a number of questions that go into planning where to go:
- Where do the girls want to go?
- Is this something everyone wants to do?
- What will they do when they get there?
- Is there a cost? How will the activity be paid for?
- What transportation is needed to get there?
- Should they include a service project if the opportunity is available?
- What training may be required for the adults?
Whether she’s ready to take her first trip abroad with her troop or merely go for a walk in your local state park, these questions will help her explore her world.
I don’t know where she might go…
Let her take the lead on planning.
Once these questions have been answered, it’s time to start planning. It is important that girls are part of the planning of these adventures to make sure they are girl-led—depending on their age, girls can express opinions about activities they want and come up with questions to ask while there, all the way up to taking charge of much of the logistics of the trip. As they progress, you will be amazed with how much the girls can be responsible for with your support and encouragement. For some shorter troop trips, the planning is simple: where, when, who, how much, and how will they get there. For trips that are three nights or more, the leaders/adults who will be participating in the trip will need to take Extended Travel Training, so sign yourself (and your co-leaders or volunteers) up today!
Let her go, let her go, let her go!
Support her as she becomes a citizen of the world.
Travel will change your girl, and help her grow up into the woman she wants to be. When they go out into the world, they not only build skills like decision making, communication, teamwork, time management, and financial savvy, but they also encounter people, ideas, cultures, and spaces they’ve never encountered before. The more your girls experience in life, the more they connect with people different from them, and learn about cultures and ideas different than the ones they grew up with, the more empathetic, compassionate, respectful, and open-minded they’ll become. Letting them go out into that great big world (with support from troop leaders, fellow Girl Scouts, and their parents) gives them the opportunity to become a citizen of the world, and a leader for their peers.
The world is waiting. Please let her go! For more information on the Council trips for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors in 2020 and 2022 please contact Sandy Norman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Programs fill fast, so sign up today!
What to do next:
- Learn more about Girl Scout travel on the Trailhead!
- As with all things Girl Scouts, girl-led travel increases in complexity and responsibility as girls get older. Use our handy-dandy Travel Progression chart to learn more!
- Explore upcoming GSNorCal council trips and Destinations trips!
- Get the travel training you need for your next troop adventure!
Sandy Norman—Sandy has been a Girl Scout since 5th grade, during which she lived in Naples, Italy. She has been an Extended Troop Travel learning facilitator for 18 years and has loved helping other leaders learn how to travel with their troops! Sandy has also been leading council trips since 2010 and enjoys sharing her travel knowledge with GSNorCal girls and adults.