I'm sure you've seen some of the amazing trips our Girl Scouts have been going on this summer. You and your Girl Scout are probably a little jealous of these trips that the girls are taking. As a parent, it's hard to think about letting your Girl Scout travel without you. This week kicks off a three-part series just for parents about the joys (and concerns) of Girl Scouts traveling the country (and the world!)
For the series, we interviewed Beth Abel, who is a member of the Council’s Travel Interest Group and a Girl Scout adult volunteer in CTGSC since 1992, during which time she was a troop leader and the founder of the teen Girl Scout outdoor program, High Adventure Team. Ten Girl Scouts received their Gold Awards under her leadership. She has been a sponsor on international trips for GSUSA and continues to enjoy a forty year career counseling with adolescents and their families.
Here we go with Week 1's Interview Questions!
Q: My daughter has never been away from me that long before. How do I know she's ready?
A: A girl who is ready to travel without her parents or even a long time adult volunteer relationship will give you clear signals that she’s wanting to spread her wings somewhat. The Council Travel Interest Group is just the place for her next step out into the world, where she has the appropriate next level of supervision. Girls become acquainted with the adult volunteer, the trip lead, way before the trips happen. If you Girl Scout has never traveled before we suggest a shorter trip. We encourage the Girl Scouts to approach travel in a progression, much like becoming acquainted and comfortable with the outdoors. Shorter trips for first timers, and longer national ones for girls who are not old enough to go abroad yet. The last step in the progression is 2 week trips internationally for girls who are ready to see the world!
Q: How do I know my Girl Scout will be safe?
A: Safety of girls is always the Girl Scout adult volunteers’ number one priority. Although the girls are planning the trips, the trip lead will make sure that the activities are safe and appropriate. Certifications that are necessary for safety will be acquired by the adult volunteers participating. Trip plans are made by trip group consensus well before the trip occurs and the itinerary is followed. We will not go to places which are not safe nor countries in which the U.S. does not have good relations.
Q: Can I come with my Girl Scout daughter?
A: Council trips are meant to be girl based trips, which means we want to take as many girls as possible on a trip with the minimum number of adults needed. These trips are for girls, not for the adults. You can apply to chaperone a trip if your daughter is not attending it and you have the experience needed for that trip. Only special circumstances will allow chaperones to attend trips with their daughters but that is at the discretion of the Council Travel Committee.
Q: What if my Girl Scout doesn't know anyone on the trip?
A: That’s ok! It’s amazing how quickly the girls make new friends through Girl Scouting! The girls are all from Central Texas so they will all have that in common. She will be able to make new friends with girls her own age. They all want to go on the same trip so they will be able to share with each other the activities they want to do. Plus, if they attend the phone conferences before the trip so they will have at least spoken to each other by phone and communicated beforehand via e-mail.