On Thursday, February 19, Girl Scouts joined President Obama, Interior Secretary Sally Jewel, and other national park officials to announce a major new White House initiative dedicated to ensuring that every fourth grader in America has access to a national park. The “Every Kid in a Park” program, which is part of a buildup to the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016, will give every fourth-grade student and their family free access to national parks and officer public lands for a year. Our involvement in the announcement of this initiative is a truly awesome recognition of Girl Scout as a leading authority on the outdoors. This is all thanks to the work everyone in our Movement does every day to provide girls with unique outdoor adventures, from camping, to community recycling activities, to Gold Award projects centered on sustainable energy.
And Girl Scouts is continuing its century-long commitment to providing girls with outdoor opportunities, a commitment we renewed at our convention this past October as we prepared to roll out new outdoor badges and programs. It was there that we unveiled a new Girls’ Choice process in which Girl Scouts can vote on new Outdoor badges. First, we polled girls on their preference among three themes: Outdoor Recreation, Outdoor Environment, and Outdoor Survival. They overwhelmingly voted for Outdoor Recreation, and, in December, we encouraged you to help girls vote on the badge topics, choosing among: Outdoor Challenge, On or In the Water, and Outdoor Explorer. The girls again made a clear choice – Outdoor Explorer – and on March 12, we hope that you’ll connect with us on Facebook or Twitter as we unveil the activities included in each new badge.