While carefree travel is not exactly an option right now, that doesn’t mean we have to be stuck staring at the same four walls for the foreseeable future. Thanks to the magic of the internet, we can still visit places near and far. Behold: the virtual field trip! We’ve talked before about the importance of real-world experiences that enable your Girl Scouts to flex their skills and explore the greater community around them. You can reap the benefits of seeing new things and venturing to places unknown—it’ll just look a little different than going there in person. Here are just a few field trips you can take with your troop without leaving the comfort of home.
Unleash Your Inner Scientist
Girl Scouts of the USA teamed up with Discovery Education to create resources for troop leaders and families to spark girls’ interest in STEM. On this field trip, girls can learn what it means to be a citizen scientist and how they can use their observations to contribute to the field of science. This trip is geared towards Brownie and Junior girls (up to fifth grade) and includes handy troop leader and girl activity guides to prepare for and deepen their learning.
Take in Some Art
Ever wanted to wander the halls of the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Van Gogh Museum? Now you can! With Google Arts & Culture, you can view collections from hundreds of galleries and institutions across the globe. Bonus—if your troop is working on an art badge, this is a perfect way to bring in some outside inspiration to get their creative juices flowing.
Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!
Take a (virtual) walk on the wild side with a trip to the zoo or aquarium. Check out the live underwater webcams at the Georgia Aquarium (the jelly cam is very relaxing). Or, go down under to see some truly endemic wildlife (That means these animals are found nowhere else but in Australia!). Also, koala cam—need I say more?
Glimpse the glittering City of Lights from the top of the Eiffel Tower, ponder the prehistoric mystery of the Stonehenge, or pound the pavement in the Big Apple. If there’s a sight or city you’ve been meaning to check out, beam yourself there using Google Streets. Immerse yourself further with videos of walking tours that (almost) make you feel like you’re really there.
Attend a Concert or Show
Going to see an opera or classical performance in person can be cost-prohibitive for many folks, so an unexpected upside of concert halls temporarily shutting down is that lots of content is now available for free online. Watch recorded opera productions from across Europe. Or head over to the Walt Disney Concert Hall and check out the LA Philharmonic’s latest project, SOUND/STAGE, a new online collection of concert films. (They truly are beautiful—my favorite is “Power to the People!” which explores how we can come together to advance the causes of peace and justice.)
While these online experiences can’t fully replicate the joy and tactile wonder of seeing, hearing, and feeling something in real life, they can nevertheless be enriching adventures. Especially as pandemic fatigue starts to set in (or makes itself fully at home), we need to remember that there’s still a whole wide world out there. It’s waiting for us and will be there when travel is safer. In the meantime, why not take a virtual voyage with your troop? Where will you “go” next?
Lily Yu – Lily is a Program Resource Specialist at River Valleys. She earned her BA in comparative literature and Japanese from Hamilton College and has a background in publishing and advertising. Though she wasn’t a Girl Scout growing up, Lily is making up for lost time as a volunteer and troop cookie manager for her daughter’s Brownie troop. In her free time, she enjoys going for long walks, reading, and spending time with her family (And rescue dog, Neil!).