First-Ever ‘Girls’ Choice’ Outdoor Badges



To celebrate its 103rd birthday, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) unveiled a new series of badges, chosen by Girl Scouts.

The badges pay tribute to GSUSA’s commitment to providing girls fun and beneficial outdoor experiences through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE). In November, GSUSA began a poll for the Girls’ Choice Outdoor badges by inviting girls to vote on outdoor themes. Outdoor Explorer emerged as the winning theme, with five age-specific badge offerings:

  • Outdoor Adventurer;
  • Horseback Riding;
  • Archery;
  • Paddling (paddle sports such as kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddle boarding); and
  • Ultimate Recreation Challenge.

“Outdoor experiences transform a girl’s understanding of and appreciation for nature, while allowing her to build a unique set of skills and boost her confidence in ways few experiences can match,” GSUSA CEO Anna Maria Chavez said. “The badge program has always been one of the cornerstones of Girl Scouts, and our research clearly shows that there is a connection between outdoor experiences and girls’ understanding of their leadership potential—so Outdoor badges are a natural fit.”

According to the Girl Scout Research Institute’s study, More Than S’mores, girls benefit immensely from exposure to the outdoors. Girls who spend time outdoors eclipse their peers in environmental stewardship, more readily seek challenges, and are better problem solvers, all of which are traits needed for 21st Century leadership.

Girls also learn environmental stewardship through outdoor experiences. In a national sample of girls, Girl Scouts are twice as likely as non-Girl Scouts to say they take action to protect the environment (51 percent versus 23 percent), and have had a personal experience in nature that has made them appreciate it more (49 percent versus 29 percent).

Research shows that getting outdoors is so important to the physical, social and psychological development of girls and the planet’s health.

Through this voting process, the Girl Scout movement is illustrating its commitment to being “girl led.” This focus on girl-led cooperative learning and “learning by doing” ensures high-quality programs that promote the fun and friendship girls want out of Girl Scouts.

Locally, the Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails owns and operates two camps:

  • Rancho del Chaparral in the Jemez Mountains near Cuba; and
  • Camp Elliott Barker in the Moreno Valley in Angel Fire.

Last year, 1,886 campers discovered and explored the out of doors at the Girl Scout camps.

“We are excited about these new outdoor badges, which will enhance our existing outdoor programs for girls across the state,” said Vanessa Grose’, outdoor program manager and camp director for the Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails.

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