Earlier this month, the ladies of the Outdoor Adventure Interest Group (OAIG) jumped at the chance to earn one of the four new outdoor badges, the Senior paddling badge. Girl Scouts from all across northeast Texas met up at Frisco’s DFW Surf at Hidden Cove Park and Marina to try their hand at paddle boarding.
Jennifer Jeacock, the event coordinator for Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors in service unit 403, was also there for the exciting activity. The idea for offering this opportunity came up after she had a discussion with Jean Butts and was eventually set in motion and pushed across social media channels. Also, thanks to Danny Braught of DFW Surf Shop, the badge requirements were applied to the paddle boarding activity and everyone was ready to be immersed in a brand new Girl Scout experience.
It all started as 50 girls and 6 adults were split up into three groups as they maneuvered through four stations of learning:
- The Classroom: It’s always best to fully learn about something before you try it, right? Here, participants learned about the history of paddle boarding along with its origins, the different ways of paddling, the benefits of the sport and its safety, including specific rules and regulations.
- Learn to Paddle: Girls learned the basics of stand up paddle board (SUP) and paddle boarding terminology before hitting the water.
- Fitness/Yoga/Prone: There’s many popular activities you can do on a paddle board including yoga and other exercises. There’s even the option of paddling and maneuvering without the paddle itself and instead, using your stomach or knees to get around. The girls were brought up to speed on it all!
- Test: Throughout the day, everyone was fed tidbits of knowledge and eventually given the WPA test. When it was over, all of the girls regrouped and answered questions based on what they learned.
Now it’s time to paddle board!
According to Jennifer, she had been planning a water sports activity for the summer and paddle boarding turned out to be the most popular among girls.
“Paddle boarding was one that many girls had expressed interest in before we knew about the new badge,” said Jeacock. “When the new badges were released this summer, it was a perfect fit for the group.”
Such a perfect fit because OAIG is a GSNETX interest group for Girl Scouts in sixth grade or higher who want to experience more of the outdoors. This is the kind of stuff they live for. Not surprisingly, the feedback from the activity was overwhelmingly positive.
“Their girls loved it and thanked me for opening it up to the north Texas area,” Jeacock said. “Many of the girls were able to meet others from around the region for the first time, and for others who have been with OAIG, it was a great way to meet up with friends that they haven’t seen in a while.”
Other than giving girls opportunities to explore the great outdoors, OAIG also helps them prepare for the real world.
“Our events our girl-led and focus on the outdoor leadership experience, which is one of the pillars of GSNETX programming”, Jeacock said. She went on to say that trying new things and learning new skills will teach a girl that she can do anything she sets her mind to.
From the beginning, getting girls outdoors has always been a core focus of the Girl Scout mission. There’s just as much to learn about while outside as there is to learn indoors. In fact, when it comes to OAIG and the #gsoutdoors initiative, it’s all about getting girls excited about outside.
“Most of the girls had never done stand up paddle boarding before but they were excited to try, and many can’t wait to do it again,” said Jeacock.
So for any Girl Scout out there interested in joining OAIG for fun, outdoor activities like canoeing, high ropes, horseback riding or rock climbing, do it! In doing so, you’ll be exposed to all of these and then some.
To find out more about OAIG, please contact Jean Butts at firstname.lastname@example.org, or if you’re a Girl Scout in Texas, join them by searching “Outdoor Adventure Interest Group” on Facebook!