October 1, 2018, marks the start of Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys limits-pushing outdoor challenge, Every Girl in a Tent. This year-long, outdoor skills-focused program aims to incentivize girls of all skill levels to get outside and spend at least one night in a …you guessed it, a tent.
Tenting pushes girls to experience something new and something out of their comfort zone. Spending a night outside allows girls to get closer to nature and to themselves, which is key to building confidence and appreciation for the world around us–all core to the Girl Scout mission.
Let it be no secret that Girl Scouts has long offered outdoor skill opportunities for girls (since our founding in 1912)—and it’s working. According to More Than S'mores: Successes and Surprises in Girl Scouts' Outdoor Experiences (2014), girls’ outdoor experiences are positively linked to their challenge-seeking, problem-solving, and environmental stewardship.
“Girl Scouts has provided outdoor opportunities for girls since the beginning,” said Tish Bolger, CEO of Girl Scouts River Valleys. “This is another way to encourage girls and their troops or families to spend some time under the stars–in fact, for families thinking about joining, it’s the perfect time–start now and start planning your adventure!”
Every Girl in a Tent is also partnering with local and national organizations. Girls can now earn a special patch with the Minnesota State Parks and Trails when they participate in a council-sponsored partner programs such as I Can Camp! And REI has graciously donated tents and gear, so nothing can hold our girls back from spending a night outside!
Adventure is what you define it to be. This program is flexible to meet girls where they are and encourage them to go a step further. Some girls may be heading out for the first time to camp in their backyard, others may try their hand at winter camping or a six-day backpacking trip along the Northern Trail.
Whatever girls decide, the benefits of getting outside are long lasting both for girls, and our environment.