Over the summer, 10 GSEM Girl Scouts participated in the Destinations program - a truly unique opportunity that allows girls to travel near and far to broaden their horizons and make memories that last a lifetime.
Last week, we journeyed to Northern Africa, exploring Morocco with Jaylen and Kelin. Today we're tagging along with Katherine, Cat, and Katherine as their Destinations take us from chasing outdoor adventure in the southern states, to tending to baby sea turtles in tropical climates and summiting mountain-top settings that inspired some of your favorite fairy tales.
|Katherine scales new heights during her Adrenaline Rush Destination.|
Katherine’s Adrenaline Rush
Katherine chose to challenge herself on the "Adrenaline Rush" Destination.
Her mom participated in the program in high school, and Katherine was intrigued by the adventurous activities offered on this trip's itinerary. The white water rafting and a visit to an amusement park seemed particularly exciting.
Having attended Girl Scout summer camp for the past several years, Katherine had the experience she needed to tackle these physical challenges.
Traveling around Georgia and Tennessee, Katherine and her group participated in a high ropes course, a low ropes course, sailing, paddle boarding, archery, caving and mountain biking.
The finale to this week of adventures was a trip to Six Flags in Georgia where the group spent the day riding roller coasters.
This destination not only speaks to an adventurous spirit, but also teaches practical travel skills. "I discovered that it is not as difficult as I thought to travel long distances by myself," Katherine says. With this new confidence, Katherine is excited to visit other parts of the world.
Cat’s Castles in the Sky
After years of dreaming about visiting Germany, Cat was thrilled to learn about the Castles in the Sky destination program at a Girl Scout troop meeting.
Cat and her group toured many towns in Germany, including Munich where they visited the Olympic Tower. They also explored Neuschwanstein Castle, which served as inspiration for both Cinderella's and Sleeping Beauty's castles.
The last part of the trip was a visit to Austria where she was able to see locations used for the filming of the movie The Sound of Music.
Cat gained planning and travel skills on her destination trip. She also learned how to interact with people that are different than her, especially with a language barrier. "Girl Scouting has shaped me into the girl I am," Cat says, explaining that her experience as a Girl Scout allowed her to handle new situations in a positive way.
She reminds her Girl Scout sisters who may be nervous about leaving home but want to experience a destination program that their families will always be waiting when they return home. Cat suggests starting out with shorter trips or traveling around the U.S. to get yourself used to being away from loved ones, but also recommends diving in and taking full advantage of the opportunities presented to you as a Girl Scout.
Cat's trip helped spark a new love for travel, and she plans to see as much of the world as she can.
Katherine’s Costa Rica and Panama Service Challenge
Katherine was very intrigued by the opportunity to try new things and travel to a new country. She chose the Costa Rica and Panama Service Challenge for her destination as the program would not only allow her to explore new parts of the world, but also use her Girl Scouting skills to help those in need.
During the first week, Katherine and her group lived with a local family in Costa Rica and participated in service activities that benefited the community. A group favorite was helping to repaint the local school.
For the second week, the girls stayed on the coast of the Caribbean Sea in Panama. Here, they assisted with the maintenance of the sea turtle hatchery. The once-in-a-lifetime experience of transporting turtle eggs to the hatchery so they could develop and hatch in safety is something Katherine will never forget.
Despite cultural differences of people in the countries she visited, Katherine was happy to find that opportunities to communicate and bond remained, even when language barriers prevented them from using words.
Over these two weeks, the group of girls bonded quickly and formed lasting friendships. "Along with the projects, I also made unbelievably close friends in a really short period of time and learned a lot about the world and myself," Katherine says. By building up her confidence, she feels better about meeting new people and starting new activities.
She can’t wait to go on another Destination trip!
|2015 Destinations locations include China and Ireland!|
What Are You Waiting For?
Whether caring for Giant Pandas in China or exploring some of our favorite outdoor sports in Ireland, this year's Destinations offer a wide-range of experiences for participating Girl Scouts.
Girls can set their sites on a visit to South Africa, Mexico, Peru, Scotland, and many other exciting locations both overseas and closer to home. Applications are due November 15, 2014. Financial aid is available for most destinations.
Interested? Check out Destinations online or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If you or your girl have taken a Destination trip in the past and would like the share your story with us, email email@example.com.