More than 20 years removed from her scouting days, my wife still cites her Girl Scout training pretty much every single time we’re in the backcountry. She credits her time as a scout for deepening her love of the outdoors and providing her with a foundation to feel confident far from the comforts of civilization.
That’s pretty much the mission of the Girl Scouts. In an effort to spread that mission even further, they’ve teamed up with The North Face to create new adventure badges dedicated to some seriously physical outdoor challenges. Things like mountaineering, backpacking, and trail running, among others. 12 new badges in total. The idea is to use challenging outdoor experiences to help mold girls, regardless of zip code or socioeconomic status, into strong, into capable, fearless women.
The North Face will help out in lending athlete and adventurer expertise to help craft the badge activities. TNF has, in addition to their Girl Scout collaboration, kicked off a “Move Mountains” campaign, focused on celebrating a stable of world-class women who explore, adventure, climb, run, scramble, and paddle all over the planet. Inspiration, community-building, and support are the pillars of their initiative, which will open new woman-specific stores, aim for equality in marketing materials, and revamp lots of product lines. They’ve put together a team of absolute badasses from the outdoor world to help lead the program.
In their announcement of the team-up with TNF, the Girl Scouts cited some of their own research about how important youth initiatives are in preparing kids for success as adults. Back in 2014, a study of former Girl Scouts showed that half of the respondents said they’d never have learned a new activity like archery or horseback riding if not for the Girl Scouts. A full third said they overcame fears in life specifically because of their time spent as scouts.
We’re in the midst of a full-on renaissance of women’s outdoor empowerment and it only makes sense that renaissance would extend to the Girl Scouts, one of the oldest tools for stoking a love of adventure in women, and one that’s only getting better with this new program.
Photos: Girl Scouts
Is a grown woman worthy of the Girl Scouts? AJ’s Shawnté Salabert challenged herself to earn 12 merit badges in 12 months, selected randomly, and found out there’s a lot more to being a Girl Scout than selling cookies. You can read her account only in print and only in Adventure Journal 08, available here.