Submitted by Helen Kidwell, Outward Bound Costa Rica
Each summer, more than 100 Girl Scouts from across the country travel to Costa Rica and Panama to participate in the Girl Scout Destinations program with Outward Bound Costa Rica.
Journey through some of the most spectacular landscapes that Central America has to offer, while building lifelong friendships along the way. From scuba diving along coral reefs in Panama to trekking through the rainforest in Costa Rica, each Girl Scout Destination course is packed with adventure.
These unforgettable trips will introduce you to exciting new challenges that will develop your leadership skills and help you discover hidden inner strengths.
“It was a crazy experience to open your eyes to look within yourself and at the world around you. Before I was stuck in my comfort zone, and now I feel stronger and braver.” —Annika, Girl Scout Alum
There are also opportunities to give back by working on impactful volunteer projects. Girl Scouts visit indigenous communities and bring much needed restoration to schools and other important community buildings. Those with a passion for conservation can help protect endangered sea turtle populations and play a key role in rainforest reforestation projects.
These service projects are also the perfect chance to develop your language skills and expand your cultural awareness.
“It was a great experience for my daughter to be involved hands-on with helping the endangered turtles to lay their eggs in safety. She also enjoyed trying new fruits and other foods, helping to refurbish the sleeping location for future participants, meeting new friends from all over the country, and becoming more aware of the world we live in and need to protect.” —Valerie, Girl Scout mom
Multiple Girl Scout Destination sessions and dates with Outward Bound Costa Rica are now available for Summer 2020!
Still thinking about going on a Girl Scout Destination? You’re in luck! There are still many Destinations that still have availability. As the ultimate adventure for individual girls ages 11 and older, you have the opportunity to explore amazing locations around the world with Girl Scouts from different states and have life-changing experiences. Applications for these unique opportunities are open through April 2019 at forgirls.girlscouts.org/travel:
Advanced Space Academy, 6/16/19-6/21/19
Archaeology & Culture: Uncovering the Mysteries of Colorado’s Pueblo Communities, Durango, CO, 6/30/19-7/6/19
Ashland- Art of Theatre, 6/23/19-6/29/19
Athens and the Islands, 7/22/20-8/2/20
Biking Denmark and Sweden: Cycle the coast and castles of Scandinavia, 7/17/19- 7/24/19
CampHERO: Wisconsin, 7/21/19- 7/26/19
Caribbean Land and Sea: Puerto Rico, 7/28/19- 8/3/19
Catching Waves: Costa Rica, 6/29/19- 7/13/19
Channel Island Adventure: California, 7/7/19- 7/15/19
Costa Rica & Panama Service Challenge, multiple dates summer 2019
Curtain Call in London, 7/25/20- 8/5/20
Discover South Africa, 7/25/19- 7/7/19
Equitation Challenge: Georgia, 7/28/19- 8/4/19
Escape to Iceland, 6/11/19- 6/18/19
Ethiopia: An African Mountain Adventure, 6/11/19- 6/21/19
Germany- Castles in the Sky, 7/15/19- 7/24/19
Grand Tour of Italy, 7/21/20- 8/3/20
Greece- See Kayaking Kefalonia and Ionian Islands, 6/23/19- 7/2/19
Happy Trails: Georgia, 7/28/19- 8/4/19
Hollywood Dreamin’, 6/30/19- 7/6/19
Horseback Riding Mongolia, 7/3/19- 7/12/19
Japan- Land of the Rising Sun, 7/6/20- 7/16/20
Lake Erie Island Exploration, 7/28/19- 8/4/19
Majestic Alps: France, Switzerland and Italy, 7/26/19- 8/3/19
Native New Mexican Adventure, 6/1/19- 6/10/19
North Country Rock n Wilderness: Minnesota & Canada, several days July 2020
Orlando Adventure Quest, 8/4/19- 8/11/19
Rainforest, River & Reef: Costa Rica, 7/27/19- 8/10/19
Scuba & Sea Turtle Adventure: Costa Rica and Panama, several dates summer 2019
Space Academy: Alabama, 6/16/19- 6/21/19
STEM: Energy Solutions in Germany, 7/19/20-7/30/20
Want to experience a Destination, but not quite ready to travel out of the state? You are in luck! This year, GSUSA is hosting an AMAZING Destination in Cortez from June 30- July 6, 2019.
Join archaeologists at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Cortez to take part in hands-on fieldwork. You’ll help excavate great houses on a site located nearby on private land. When you’re not busy digging into the past of ancestral Pueblo great houses, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the Four Corners region of the American Southwest, going to restaurants, museums, and sites such as Hovenweep National Monument, the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, and Mesa Verde National Park.
On the day you arrive, researchers will conduct an orientation and brief you on the work you’ll be doing. Fieldwork will begin on the second day, where you will:
Excavate ancient households and public architecture: Most days, you’ll arrive at the dig immediately after breakfast and spend much of the day working with hand trowels, brooms, buckets, and screens to remove and identify artifacts and other archaeological finds. Your work may focus on the excavation of homes, middens (trash deposits), and the great houses.
Survey for future excavation sites: Help with remote sensing surveys that identify likely areas of archaeological significance. Remote sensing tools are used to identify features beneath the ground that may have been overlooked by standard survey techniques.
Survey for future excavation sites: Excavate a site of the ancient Pueblo II community.
Lab Analysis: Process artifacts recovered from excavations—pottery, lithics (stone tools), ground stone, and animal bone—which includes washing, sorting, cataloging, and labeling them.
In the evenings, you’ll head back to the field station for dinner and time to relax. Additionally, you may attend programs, including an introduction to research at Crow Canyon, presentation by staff archaeologists, and guest lectures on current research in Southwestern archaeology.
Girl Scout Destinations is the ultimate adventure for girls 11 and older! Destinations brings together Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors from all over the country for amazing summer and winter adventures filled with nature, culture, service, art, science, and tons more! Any girl in grade 6–12 can apply.
With a ton of different trips to apply for every year, from surfing camp on the east coast and breathtaking hikes out west, to the crazy-cool wonder of new cultures abroad, there’s something amazing for everyone to experience. Dreaming of kayaking to an island campsite? Let’s do it! Want to explore the cobblestone alleys of Europe? We’re totally there! Passionate about protecting wildlife habitats? Yes, yes, yes! On a Girl Scout Destinations trip you can do all that and so much more. Interested? Here are the easy steps to get started:
Girl Scouts of Colorado has received a grant from Girl Scouts of the USA to support girls traveling on upcoming Destinations trips!
Girls must first apply to a Destination trip before apply for D-Pass grant funding. Grant Funds can be used for Destination trips occurring in Summer 2018, Winter 2018 or Summer 2019. In order for the D-Pass grant funds to be used for a Summer 2019 Destination, the grant funds must be applied to a trip balance by December 31, 2018.
Girl Scout Destinations are the ultimate travel adventure for girls 11-years-old and older. Girls apply individually for trips sponsored by Girl Scout councils or Girl Scouts of the USA to join Girl Scouts from around the world in the trip of a lifetime! Destinations for Summer 2018 still have girl spaces! Try Native New Mexican Adventure, Saddle up Sycamore, Discover Cambodia, Rainforest, River & Reef, Germany- Castles in Sky, and many more! Visit http://forgirls.girlscouts.org/travel/take-a-trip/destinations/ for more information and to apply.
D- Pass Grant Timeline
April 23: Application closes
April 30: Funding decisions announced
Post Destination: Applicant agrees to write a blog post, and create a short presentation about her Destination
Are you interested in traveling? Maybe you have always wanted to surf in Costa Rica or kiss the Blarney Stone in Ireland? With Girl Scout Destinations you can see the world while meeting fellow Girl Scouts and experiencing a once in a life time adventure!
To apply, visit the Girl Scouts Destinations website and download the PDF application. Email the application and two completed reference forms to Anna Danila, Girl Scouts of Colorado Travel Representative, by November 30, 2015.
The 2016 Destination Application Timeline is as follows:
November 30, 2015:**New extended deadline!** Round One Applications are due to Anna Danila at Girl Scouts of Colorado. GSCO will review and send applications to trip sponsors.
January 11: All Round One Applicants are notified of their approval status.
January 29: Accepted Round One Applicants must pay a deposit to hold their place on the trip.
February 12: Round Two applications are due to Girl Scouts of Colorado. GSCO will review and send applications to trip sponsors.
March 4: Accepted Round Two Applicants are notified of their approval status and must pay a deposit by March 20, 2016 to hold their place on the trip.
The vastness of time and space is so large our feeble minds can’t even begin to process it. Trillions of stars and galaxies, planets and asteroids, all moving silently through a black void in a cosmic dance of beauty and perfected harmony. All is balanced. To us, living on what seems like a mere speck, an insignificant blip in the gaze of the stars above us, we must feel very small indeed. Our world is tiny. But it is just as beautiful and strange as all the cosmos. Complex, unique, and amazing, our world is something that can be explored and treasured. There are few humans, however, that ever get an opportunity to do so. It must not seem very important to those who have traveled often, but to me, my experience on a trip to China was one I can never forget.
Last summer, my mother suggested the idea of going on a destination trip. I looked carefully through the list, choosing from the trips I knew would take me out of the United States of America. I finally settled on four to apply for, got accepted to go on three, and chose to go on one: The Great Panda Adventure. It would take me to China with fourteen other girls to work at a panda base and explore several of the cities there. I was excited and I was nervous. I would have to meet my group in San Francisco, and then fly with them all the way to Beijing. Then from Beijing, we would fly to Chengdu. I would have to go on my first flight alone to make it to San Francisco.
Despite my qualms, the flights went smoothly and we were in Chengdu before I knew it. Exhausted from flying, my new friends and I dropped our things off in our rooms and hit the streets of Chengdu. I immediately forgot how tired I was. There were so many new things to look at. I could barely turn my head fast enough as the tour bus drove us to lunch and then to an older part of the city preserved for tourists. We charged through the gates and emerged in a dazzled place of elegant buildings and sizzling food stands. Gavin, our leader, gave us permission to separate and explore on our own, and so we did. I took more pictures than I could ever need. When the group finally made it back onto the bus, it was time to go to the panda base. It gave us exactly what we wanted to see: cute pandas. When we had seen all the pandas we could for the day, we went to our first dinner in China. The food was much different than anything I’ve ever eaten before. I cautiously nibbled on each dish that was presented to us before deciding on something and going with it. Full of heavy Chinese food and weary from the two days of excitement, I finally got back to hotel and stumbled into bed.
The next morning, it was time for the panda base. Before we even got on the bus, sweat was dripping down my face and back. A hot, humid climate is no place for me. I promised myself I wouldn’t let it get to me as the bus rumbled to the panda base. The bus pulled in, we rolled out, and the two days of work began. They had us sweep and hose down the pen, clean the enclosures, feed the pandas, and even pet them. I got many pictures to show off to my friends back home. I found out that pandas are not actually all that interesting. They eat, shamble around, and for the most part are lazy, spoiled, and grumpy creatures. They eat and sleep. Pandas are, however, still adorable. People enjoy them, and it is with the help of that appeal to human emotion that they have survived this long. Of course, it is humans who are putting them in danger. The great panda has few enemies, but the most powerful of these enemies is the destruction of their homes and our inability to coexist with these gentle, intelligent creatures. Through my journey to the panda research center, I have learned much about how we hurt pandas, but I have also learned how we can help them. True to what has been told to me throughout my years as a girl scout, we must be aware of the world around. Every move we make has an impact, positive or negative. We have to be sure our impact on this world is positive. As Girl Scouts, it is our duty to take care of the Earth and all creatures on it, including humans. Treating each other right is just as important as treating the environment right. I hate to sound preachy, but I want all who read this to understand how hurt the Earth is, and how our behaviors towards it and each other has to change. It’s the only way.
I have experienced so much through this trip. I am not the same teenager who anxiously awaited her first flight alone. Because of Destinations, and because of Girl Scouts, I am more confident in everything I do. My trip to China changed my life. It made me stronger, more open-minded, and less afraid. I owe my growth over the summer to Destinations. I strongly believe that every Girl Scout should go on one of these ATS Destinations at least once in her life. The world will be open to her, and the adventures she will have will change her life forever.