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Year-Round Outdoor Programs

From the backyard to the backcountry, Girl Scouts has a long, storied, and successful history of getting girls outdoors. In fact, many Girl Scouts tell us “camping trips” are one of the best things about their Girl Scout experience - connecting with nature in a girl-led setting is a big benefit of belonging to Girl Scouts.

Our year-round outdoor adventures are opportunities for girls to learn skills to resolve conflict, accept differences, get along with others, and work together to achieve a shared goal. The atmosphere of acceptance and sharing helps girls thrive. Use the button below to find year-round outdoor programs in your area or at your favorite camp property!

 

Types of Programming

Girl Scouts of Western New York offers a wide variety of outdoor experiences led by seasoned staff, committed volunteers, and outdoor professionals. 

Day Programs

These programs introduce girls to new outdoor skills and generally last a few hours. They often align directly with the National Outdoor Badges and are a great opportunity for less experienced girls. Some examples include snowshoeing in a park, outdoor-inspired art activities, hiking, and more. 

Virtual Programs

Throughout the pandemic, we were able to reach girls through virtual offerings. We found that the virtual format can be really effective for introducing specific skills and we will continue to offer these programs. Girls sign up for a specific skill and receive a package in the mail with the items needed for their virtual meet up (generally an hour-long). An example of a virtual program is knot tying: girls receive paracord, a fun patch, and a knot-tying booklet in the mail prior to their virtual meeting. 

Overnights

Our council hosts a variety of themed overnight experiences. This is a great option for girls that are ready to take the next step in their own outdoor progression and spend the night away from home. This is also a great option for troops who aren’t quite ready to plan their own night away. An example of this program is Starry Night: girls learn about the night sky and participate in activities such as crafts, s’mores, and a guided night hike. 

Vendor Partners

We frequently partner with outdoor professionals to provide unique experiences. Our partners meet our National Safety Standard and local GSWNY requirements. Examples include climbing wall gyms, whitewater rafting, gear shop tutorials, and more. 

Advanced Outdoor Programs

These programs build upon specific skills and offer the girls the opportunity to continuously advance those skills. 

The below progressions are designed to help participants build skills in each area. The areas of hiking/backpacking, paddling, and camping are meant to be completed in order with each subsequent level building on the previous one.

The Outdoor Skills progression (below) is a fun, instructional progression that leads to the annual GSWNY Skills & Chills competition (typically offered at the end of September). There is no pre-requisite for any of the three levels in this progression other than age or Girl Scout Level.

For instance, Senior Girl Scouts (grades 9-10) interested in trying Skills & Chills for the first time are more than welcome to join in without having participated in either Tents Up or Ready, Set, Camp. For more detailed information about these programs, be sure to thoroughly read the program descriptions in gsEvents.

Area of Interest Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4
Outdoor Skills Tents Up Ready, Set, Camp Skills & Chills  

Hiking/

Backpacking

Trail Adventurer I Trail Adventurer II

Trail Adventurer III

Trail Adventurer IV

Paddling Paddle Explorer I Paddle Explorer II Paddle Explorer III Paddle Explorer IV
Camping Conquer Camping I Conquer II Intermediate Winter Camping Advanced Winter Camping

Annual Events

Skills and Chills

Skills and Chills, our yearly competition that gives Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador Girl Scouts the opportunity to test their outdoor abilities and earn awards, is held over the last weekend in September. Girls face off in events such as one girl saw, jack knife safety, orienteering, archery, kayaking, fire building, tent pitching and more! 

Check out photos from the 2021 competition!

Girl Scouts Love State Parks

Every year, Girl Scouts explore the natural wonders found across our country during the Girl Scouts Love State Parks weekend. Over a weekend, Girl Scouts nationwide, along with their troops, friends, and family, will celebrate our shared love of the outdoors. 

Check back in for information about our 2022 event!

Girl Scouts Love the Outdoors

Summer = summertime fun! ☀ Every year, we celebrate our love of the outdoors with our Girl Scouts Love the Outdoors Challenge. Be it from a window, a campsite, the sidewalk, a laptop, or the wide-open trail, there are ways for you to earn a limited edition patch! 

We can't to release information about 2022! Stay tuned!


Frequently Asked Questions
How do I find and register for upcoming programs?

Events are found at mygs.girlscouts.org. You can search for events by location or by other filters such as grade level or type of program (outdoor, STEM, etc.).

When you find an event you wish to register for login to your Girl Scout account. This is intended to be a one-stop shop for your Girl Scout membership and activities. Aside from registering for programs, this also where you can renew your membership annually, change account information, and more.

If you experience any issues while attempting to register for programs or perform other account-related activities, please contact Customer Care at customercare@gswny.org. Or 1-888-837-6410.

Upcoming programs will also appear on our events calendar on our website as they become available, and we will also often advertise them in our emails to members or on social media. We recommend checking our event opportunities regularly as some programs fill quickly before advertising even begins. The events on the event calendar link to mygs.girlscouts.org, so the information is the same in both places.

Drop-Off vs. Non Drop-Off Programs

MOST of our outdoor programs are run as Non Drop-Off Programs. Utilizing outdoor spaces allows us to open our programs up to more girls and leaders, giving even more people a chance to participate in the fun. However, this also means we are limited in the number of volunteers available to simply supervise young participants as they move around the property in addition to the volunteers needed to run the activities. There are a few programs that we offer that ARE considered Drop-Off Programs. These are our Advanced Camping programs with very small participant numbers.

Participant Level

Always check to make sure the program is being offered for your specific level in Girl Scouts. When planning these programs, we utilize the Safety Activity Checkpoints guidelines to determine which levels are appropriate for the activities we are providing. Some activities such as archery specify that nobody below second-year Brownies may participate in this activity. Other such restrictions help to determine the level that the program is offered to, so it is important to read the description carefully.

Length of Program

Day Programs are typically offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and may or may not include a meal. Please read program description carefully for this info.

Overnight Programs are typically 24 hours from Saturday 11 a.m. to Sunday 11 a.m., unless otherwise specified, and include meals.

Weekend Programs begin at 7 p.m. on Friday and run until 10 a.m. on Sunday. These weekend programs will include a snack Friday evening, and all other meals.

Virtual Programs will typically be 1 hour in length and will be done on Zoom at around 6:30 p.m. to hopefully accommodate most ages.

Badges vs. Fun Patches

Some of our programs are built around Girl Scout badges and we have done our best to include all levels of that type of badge. Please note that there are some badge types that do not span all levels or the requirements of the higher levels are too involved to complete in one day which is why you may not see a badge program offered for your level. Many (but not all) of our other programs that are NOT badge programs will include a fun patch. These patches serve as a reminder of the activity or event, but are not GSUSA badges and should be placed on the back of any uniform worn.


Questions? Contact Customer Care at 1-888-837-6410 or customercare@gswny.org.