Is your troop ready to venture out of hibernation? If the long, cold Midwestern winter had you longing for escape, but a trip to a faraway destination just isn’t in the cards, not to worry, you can still find plenty of unique things to do with your troop right where you are! Now that the sun is shining, resist the urge to seek out all your old favorite springtime spots, and use these tips to fuel that sense of adventure, right in your own backyard.
Travelling brings out a natural curiosity. As you navigate a new place, you notice everything from the mural painted in an alleyway to the way people greet each other. You start asking questions about that building over there or the origin of the meal you’re eating. Luckily, you don’t need to go far to turn on a “travel mindset.” Engage your sense of wonder by asking those same questions wherever you are.
Do some research on that old building or an inconspicuous monument you’ve probably walked by a million times, but you’re not really sure what it is or why it’s there. Ask some questions at a local restaurant about where they source their food or how they choose their recipes. Find a local artist to interview and ask away! You and your troop will all learn something, plus practicing how to formulate and ask questions helps girls become enthusiastic learners.
Be a Tour Guide
A great way to get a fresh perspective on somewhere familiar is to be a tour guide for someone else. Invite a younger troop, a troop from another area, a family that is new to the area, or exchange student friend to spend the day with your troop as tour guides. You’ll get a fresh take on your favorite places, and it will give you an excuse to check out that local museum that you’ve somehow never visited. Your troop could also create a postcard, brochure, or informational video about the place—then share it with locals and visitors alike!
See the Natural Wonders
Nature always has something new to offer. Observe the same place in all four seasons and note interesting changes. Research state or local parks near you and check for upcoming special events. Your troop will never take in a hike the same way after participating in a birding program (Did someone say Early Bird?!) or learning about native plants with a naturalist. Get another perspective on your home by learning about the ecosystems that exist there—from invasive species to pollinator-friendly habitats. Learning about the plants and animals that share your home can provide a new lens on a place you thought you knew everything about.
Your perspective on home is just one of many. Think of people who might have a different perspective on your home town or state. Interview someone who has seen how it has changed over the years or someone with a different cultural background than yours. Learn about the indigenous history of a place, and ask who has called this place home throughout history? Who calls it home now?
Become a Part of It
Become a part of the identity of your community. Whether you work with a local park to create an art installation, pass along what you learn to a younger troop, or record the interviews you do to create an oral history project, you can both experience and contribute to all that a place has to offer.
McKayla Murphy – McKayla is a program resources specialist at Girl Scouts River Valleys. She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College with a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and a minor in dance. McKayla is passionate about racial equity, critical media studies, and art education. She enjoys dancing, trying new food, and seeking adventure (including winter camping and travel). Staples in McKayla’s life include dark chocolate, her hammock, and plenty of reading material.