New Research Affirms the Overwhelming Benefits of Outdoor Experiences for Girls

Moving at the "speed of girls," Girl Scouts brings the camp experience into the twenty-first century

Related Media

Girls Enjoying a Camp Fire

ALBANY, NY (06/17/2014)(readMedia)-- According to a new study by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), More Than S'mores (2014), girls benefit immensely from time spent outdoors. Girls who regularly spend time outdoors eclipse their peers who spend less time outdoors in environmental stewardship, more readily seek challenges, and are better problem solvers-all important traits in twenty-first century leadership.

Outdoor experiences are also particularly beneficial to girls of comparatively low socioeconomic status (SES). More Than S'mores finds that lower-SES girls who have regular outdoor exposure through Girl Scouts are likely to credit Girl Scouts with helping them become leaders.

"In this study, we expected to see that girls were having fun in the outdoors," says Dr. Kallen Tsikalas, lead researcher on the study. However, we were surprised by just how much they appreciated having opportunities to take on challenges and build skills in a socially supportive environment. Girls really want to feel like they are accomplishing something and growing as a person, and the outdoors is perfect place for them to do this."

As noted, girls learn environmental stewardship through outdoor experiences. Girl Scouts are twice as likely as non–Girl Scouts to say they take action to protect the environment (51 percent versus 23 percent) and that they've had a personal experience in nature that has made them appreciate it more (49 percent versus 29 percent).

"I still have wonderful memories of the time I spent at Girl Scout camp when I was a girl. From learning to paddle a canoe to telling ghost stories around the campfire at night, I had an incredible experience," said Mary Buszuwski, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York. "And, it is still true today. We know from the research that two-thirds of the girls who participate in an outdoor experience through Girl Scouts report higher enjoyment."

Girl Scout camp is a tradition central to Girl Scouts since 1912 and is still available to girls living in the 15 counties served by Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York thru 3 day camps (Is-Sho-Da in East Greenbush, Woodhaven in Galway, and Tapawingo in Beekmantown), and 2 overnight camps (Hidden Lake near Lake George and Lake Clear 20 miles west of Lake Placid). Today's camp programs are highly evolved, matching the interests of twenty-first-century girls. Girl Scouts moves at the speed of girls, which is evident in its wide range of camp offerings-everything from STEM camp and scuba camp to traditional kayaking/canoeing or art & cooking. Girl Scouts is committed to pursuing its mission through the camp experience, offering an astounding array of innovative, fun, and memorable camp activities that allow girls to build courage, confidence, and character, and make the world a better place.

Openings remain in many day & overnight camp offerings for summer 2014 and girls need not have been Girl Scouts during the school year to attend Girl Scout camp. Full camp program guide is HERE; online registration is available HERE; call 518.490.8110 for questions or email


About Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York:

Girl Scouts is the largest girl-serving organization in the U.S. and is focused on leadership development for girls grades K-12. Celebrating 102 years of building girls of courage, confidence and character to make the world a better place, Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York serves 11,000 girls and 5,000 volunteers throughout 15 counties: Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren & Washington. Offices are located in Albany, Halfmoon, Queensbury and Plattsburgh. For more information: GSNENY.ORG or (518) 489-8110.