February in the Midwest can be a rough time of year. We’ve shoveled enough that the novelty has worn off and the bruises from falling on ice skates aren’t healing as fast as they used to. We’ve still got a lot of winter ahead of us and the only way to get through it is to…get through it. Luckily, we’re Girl Scouts and we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves. Not only are we tough and resilient, we’re also inspired rock stars when it comes to our imagination—we have the ability to create fun and make the most of any situation.
When the doldrums of winter greys settle in, I think it’s time to let your daydreams take you to a place of sunshine and clear skies, where you can put on your favorite pair of sandals and let the warm breeze tickle your toes. A place where you can step outside without your nostrils freezing shut. For me, along with other Girl Scouts River Valleys girls, this magical place is the coastal Caribbean country of Belize. (No, seriously, join us on our Belize Wildlife Adventure summer of 2019!)
Even though we can’t go to Belize today, we can pretend we’re already there! So, come along with us, the waters warm, let’s jump in with some snow-free activities (Belizean beach-themed party? Count us in!):
Make authentic recipes
Set aside the hot chocolate and peppermint bark and make room for yummy cuisine! My favorite way to experience new places and cultures is through food. With cultural roots deep in Maya traditions, many Belizeans still practice making authentic recipes, such as tortillas and tamales. Girls can work toward their cooking badge and try their hand at Belizean/Maya cuisine by making some delicious Belize tamales, Fry Jacks, fish tacos, and Belizean stew!
Create your own art museum
Out with the snowballs and in with the clay and paint brushes! Use this easy sculpture clay recipe and create pottery with artistic Maya designs—Brownies can even earn their Potter badge! Fill canvases with Belize-inspired art (A.K.A. seascapes, wildlife animal paintings, local street scenes, and tropical landscapes—we can already hear the Caribbean Sea waves rolling on to the shore). Don’t forget to display your girls’ wonderful masterpieces and let each girl explain their artwork.
Channel your inner conservationist
Did you know? Belize is home to thousands of species of terrestrial plants, animals, and the world’s second largest barrier reef! They’re also a leader in preserving dedicated land for wildlife sanctuaries. Learn more about local rainforest animals like the kinkaju (nightwalker), adorable margay, and the tapir (mountain cow), and how organizations are protecting them.
Grow your international network of friendships with other Girl Guide and Girl Scout groups around the world by sending a letter to penpals using these neat “Save Vanishing Species” Amur tiger stamps! The extra 10 cents from these stamps goes directly to wildlife programs helping endangered species.
We hope we’ve inspired your anxiously-waiting-for-spring hearts and rejuvenated your spirits! Whether you and your girls decide to go on an imaginary getaway to warmer climates and countries, remember to have fun, get innovative, and relax away!
Make your imaginations come to life and join us on our Belize Wildlife Adventure! Jam-packed with cultural experiences and adventures, River Valleys’ Girl Scouts are going to experience this biological diversity up close with a zip line tour, jungle hike, snorkeling, scuba, and more. We can’t wait to see you traveling #likeagirlscout!
Brenda Danner – Brenda is a Program Coordinator with Girl Scouts River Valleys working with partner organizations and managing the travel program. Brenda loves being the wizard behind the curtain and aims to create and support unique, unmatched, and girl-focused experiences. Before joining Girl Scouts River Valleys, Brenda spent 10 years teaching environmental and outdoor education with a wide variety of organizations. She spent two years running a marine science center and laboratory in Port Townsend, Washington. She has also had an assortment of strange jobs, including walking camels, training chickens, and being a professional balloon twister. Brenda loves all-things nature—but is especially fond of marine invertebrates and her dog, Rudder!