Friday, May 29, 2015

Great Outdoors Month

Studies show that children are spending half as much time outdoors as they did 20 years ago. In a typical day, most American children spend over seven hours staring at a screen and only minutes engaged in outdoor play. This is a far reach from the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity for youth.

While getting girls outdoors has been an essential part of Girl Scouts since the organization was founded, today, parents, volunteers and staff members are working diligently to provide unique and engaging outdoor opportunities for all girls. As a result of this, 97 percent of Girl Scouts participated in at least one outdoor activity through the organization during the school year and nearly 40 percent participated on a regular basis. Moreover, while participating in these outdoor experiences, nearly three-quarters of girls improved a skill. 

During the month of June, Girl Scouts and others across the nation will be celebrating Great Outdoors Month, a celebration of the outdoors and the health, educational, economic and social benefits it brings. The month-long recognition encompasses a variety of events to engage the public in outdoor activities, including National Trails Day (June 6), Day of Service (June 19) and the Great American Campout (June 27). Governors across the country have also joined the President in proclaiming June as Great Outdoors Month.

This national spotlight on the importance of outdoor experiences coincides with findings reported by the Girl Scout Research Institute last year in More Than S'mores: Successes and Surprises in Girl Scouts' Outdoor Experiences. The Girl Scout Research Institute found that experiencing the outdoors is a great way for girls to explore leadership, build skills and develop a deep appreciation for nature. Researchers also found that girls who have more frequent and longer-in-duration outdoor experiences are more likely to seek challenges and are better problem solvers, which are qualities that will help them be successful in school and in life. 

Whether you're giving your girl the gift of summer camp, taking her hiking on a new trail or joining her journey to earn a Junior Ranger patch at a National Park, there are so many ways to celebrate Great Outdoors Month with your girl.