The Girl Scout Destinations program provides an amazing opportunity for girls to travel, both domestic and international, and gain new experiences and insights to the world.
Ten GSEM Girl Scouts participated in the program this past summer. From exploring exotic locations like Morocco and Costa Rica, to preparing for college or studying wildlife stateside, these girls made new friends, gained great experiences and created memories that will last a lifetime.
Over the next installments of our blog, we’ll share some of the girls’ favorite photos and Destinations experiences with you.
So, grab your passport and sense of adventure! Today we travel across the globe to highlight Jaylan, a Senior Girl Scout and Kelin, a Cadette Girl Scout who both participated in the “Exotic Morocco: A Whole New World” Destination this past summer.
|Jaylan recruiting new members for Troop Sahara|
Jaylan’s African Adventure
Jaylan first learned about the Destination Program through her mom who had gone on one as a Girl Scout when she was in high school. When her younger sister went on a Destination to Wisconsin last summer, Jaylan knew it was time to have an adventure of her own.
Scanning through the list of locations, the “Exotic Morocco: A Whole New World” caught her eye. Visiting Northern Africa intrigued Jaylan, as the only time she had been out of the country was a trip to Canada. She wanted to visit a place where the culture and daily life would be very different from the United States.
Visiting a new country meant the chance to experience new food, language and clothing. Jaylan found herself to be open-minded and accepting of differences when it came to experiencing all that Moroccan culture had to offer.
Jaylan was able to use her adaptability skills to create lasting friendships with her travel mates. This bond of friendship was important early on, as the girls started on their adventure right away. Throughout the 10 days, they climbed Mt. Toubkal, the second highest mountain in Africa, rode a caravan through the Sahara, and visited the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou.
While hiking through the rural town of Imlil, Jaylan and her group passed by a school built by UK Girl Guides in the 1980s.
“This made me realize just how much a couple of girls can make a huge difference,” she said. “I was so proud to be able to call myself a Girl Scout.”
This upcoming year, Jaylan will be traveling to Italy and France with her Girl Scout Troop and Spain and Belize with her high school. She hopes to find ways to keep traveling and experiencing new cultures for the rest of her life.
Kelin’s Exciting Exploration
After her older sister went on a Destination trip to Costa Rica, Kelin was inspired to go on her own. She researched Morocco and learned as much as she could about the culture and customs. After 10 days in this new place, Kelin found “the best way to understand a culture is developing relationships with its people.”
Kelin and her group visited the city of Marrakech and were able to experience the markets and shops where locals make their daily purchases. The city was heavily populated and chaotic at times, but the girls were glad they had the chance to experience this authentic part of Moroccan culture.
This trip taught Kelin not to underestimate herself and to take challenges head on. She learned how to adapt to new situations in order to have the best experience possible.
Not that there weren’t challenges. During the hike up Mt. Toubkal, Kelin and a few others were heavily affected by the altitude change and became ill. Although unpleasant, she learned that she is able to persevere and take on any challenges that come her way.
This year girls will have to opportunity to visit South Africa, Mexico, Peru, Scotland, China and many other exciting locations! A Boston-based trip is even available for girls who want to learn more about their home state. Applicationsare due November 15, 2014. Financial aid is available for most destinations.