Wyoming Wildlife Wonders, Aerospace Career Explorer in Huntsville, Ala., Coast Rica Rainforest Outward Bound, Honduras: Reefs, Rainforests and Ruins, Ultimate Challenge: Traverse City, Michigan, Amazon Adventure: Peru. Sound like exotic trips offered by an international travel agency? Try the Girl Scouts of the USA.
Thirteen girls, ages 11-17, all members of Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast (GSWISE) are returning home from trips that allowed them to experience an adventure of a lifetime. Various Girl Scouts councils and partners sponsor trips for Destinations, a program that offers girls chaperoned travel opportunities both within the U.S. and abroad.
Interested girls review a lengthy list of Destinations each year and may select up to four. Destinations program manager Sue Molina helps girls navigate the application process to increase their chances of getting selected for a trip. Girls complete an essay and pay a fee ranging from $500 to $4,000, for lengthier trips abroad.
“We do provide financial assistance to girls who need it,” said Molina. “Applications are evaluated by the hosting Council. I’m pleased to say that this year, all of the girls who applied from our Council were selected.” Molina pointed out that Destinations helps to broaden a girl’s world by exposing her to new experiences, and also helps shape career decisions.
Seventeen-year-old Katie Blackburn of Brookfield, WI agrees. Fresh from her trip to the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Hunstville, Ala., Katie said she jumped at the opportunity to go to Space Camp. “I was looking at all the options and when I saw Space Camp,
I thought I could explore a career field I hadn’t been interested in before.” Blackburn enjoyed the mock missions and role playing. “We learned what real astronauts would do in space.” Visitors from all over the world attended the camp.
Top notch guest speakers included Dr. Georg Von Tisenhausen and Dr. Don Thomas.
Dr. Tiesehausen is credited with creating the first complete design of the Lunar Rover.
Dr. Thomas, a former astronaut, shared his experiences orbiting in space. Katie’s visit came at a pivotal time. “I’ll be applying to college in a couple of months. Now after Space Camp, I think I could be an engineer or astronaut,” she said.
Emily Brown, a 17-year-old from West Allis, WI took 1,000 photos during her 10-day stay in Costa Rica for her Rainforest, River & Reef Destination. She was one of 15 girls in her group. Last year, she participated in a Destinations trip to San Francisco, CA. Emily enjoyed hiking to locations surrounding the rainforest to stay with various host families. “The people really lived off the land. They got their water from the river, had their school right there, and used local plants for medicine.”
Emily credits her biology teacher at Nathan Hale High School, Mrs. Getzel, with encouraging her to go the rainforest. “I always wanted to go and my teacher said it won’t last too long. I decided to go and it was a great experience.” Emily also had an opportunity to work on her Spanish language skills.
Both Katie and Emily highly recommend Destinations to any girl seeking new experiences. Enrollment is now underway for 2010. The deadline to apply is November 1st. Financial assistance is available. To find out more about 2010 Destinations, visit www.studio2b.org or contact Sue Molina at 414-476-1050. Girls will learn by mid-January whether they have been chosen to participate.
Girl Scouts of the USA is the pre-eminent leadership development organization for girls. Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast (GSWISE) serves more than 28,000 girls and is the leading authority on girls’ healthy development.
Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
For more information, visit www.gswise.org, or call 1-800-565-GIRL (4475).
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