(SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK, VA) July 14, 2016 – The launch of a new collaboration between the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and the Student Conservation Association (SCA) has placed 10 Scouts in the spotlight – and on a two-week Conservation Destinations Trip to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
GSUSA and SCA recently announced a two-year effort to expose more girls to the benefits of spending time in nature. As a first step, SCA is leading an all-Girl Scouts volunteer trail crew at Shenandoah National Park. Crew members are:
• Elizabeth Fullerton, Elizabeth Flores and Alexis Motko, Girl Scouts of Arizona Cactus-Pine Council
• Rosie Lu, Girl Scouts of Greater New York
• Daniella Keith, Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan
• Phoebe Hurt; Evangeline Sackett; and Samantha Houck, Girl Scouts of Virginia
• Katherine Stancil, Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania
“Through separate studies, SCA and the Girl Scouts have each identified the transformative impact of immersive, team-based experiences in the outdoors,” states SCA President Jaime Berman Matyas. “By working and exploring in a national park, together we are instilling a constellation of leadership skills that will enhance Scouts’ success in their lives and careers.”
A recent Search Institute study shows SCA’s nature-based experiences foster optimal advancement and continuous growth. GSUSA research notes girls’ outdoor experiences are positively linked to challenge seeking, problem solving, and stewardship, and help girls become more environmentally aware, explore leadership roles, and build confidence to try new things.
The pilot program is funded by a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation intended to elevate GSUSA’s current outdoor and conservation activities. From July 11th through July 22nd, the SCA-Girl Scouts crew at Shenandoah will repair hiking trails, restore habitats, and explore the park’s natural wonders. In addition to Ms. Keith, girls from Girl Scouts of Arizona Cactus Pine, Girl Scouts of Greater New York, and Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania, plus Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline which is close to Shenandoah, are also participating. Additionally, SCA crew leader Gabie Perkins is a Girl Scout and a Gold Award recipient from the Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey.
Later this year, SCA interns will help council staff enhance outdoor and conservation activities for girls and volunteers, as well as organize local service opportunities for family and community members, and assist in increasing girl participation and volunteer confidence in the outdoors.