The launch of a new collaboration between the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and the Student Conservation Association (SCA) has placed a member of Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) in the spotlight – and on a two-week Conservation Destinations Trip to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
GSUSA and SCA recently announced a two-year effort to expose more girls to the benefits of spending time in nature. As a first step, SCA is leading an all-Girl Scouts volunteer trail crew at Shenandoah National Park and among the ten-girl team is Katherine Stancil.
“Through separate studies, SCA and the Girl Scouts have each identified the transformative impact of immersive, team-based experiences in the outdoors,” states SCA President Jaime Berman Matyas. “By working and exploring in a national park, together we are instilling a constellation of leadership skills that will enhance Scouts’ success in their lives and careers.”
A recent Search Institute study shows SCA’s nature-based experiences foster optimal advancement and continuous growth. GSUSA research notes girls' outdoor experiences are positively linked to challenge seeking, problem solving, and environmental stewardship.
“Enjoying the outdoors is much more than a fun tradition for Girl Scouts,” says Patricia A. Burkart, CEO of GSWPA. “Outdoor adventures help girls become more environmentally aware, explore leadership roles, and build confidence to try new things.”
The pilot program is funded by a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation intended to elevate GSUSA’s current outdoor and conservation activities. From July 11 through July 22, the SCA-Girl Scouts crew at Shenandoah will repair hiking trails, restore habitats, and explore the park’s natural wonders. In addition to Ms. Stancil, girls from Girl Scouts of Arizona Cactus-Pine, Girl Scouts of Greater New York, and Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan, plus Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline which is close to Shenandoah, are also participating. Additionally, SCA crew leader Gaby Perkins is a Girl Scout and a Gold Award recipient from the Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey.
Later this year, SCA interns will help council staff enhance outdoor and conservation activities for girls and volunteers, as well as organize local service opportunities for family and community members, and assist in increasing girl participation levels and volunteer confidence in the outdoors.
About Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania
Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) provides nearly 25,000 girls from 27 counties and many different backgrounds and beliefs with the resources to become tomorrow’s leaders. And all of this is made possible thanks to the dedication of more than 6,000 volunteers, 100 full-time staff, 20 board members and countless supporters, all believing in the power of girls. Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate to GSWPA, call 800-248-3355 or visit gswpa.org.
The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is America’s oldest and largest youth conservation organization. SCA conserves lands and transforms lives by empowering young people of all backgrounds to plan, act, and lead, while they protect and restore our natural and cultural resources. Founded in 1957, its mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders, and seven in 10 of SCA’s 80,000 alumni worldwide are employed or studying in conservation-related fields. For more, visit www.thesca.org.