Leading your unit on outdoor adventures

Tips and resources to help you and your girls feel confident

23 June 2021

Outdoor activities have always been a big part of girls’ Girlguiding experience.  

Over the past year, with more unit meetings taking place outdoors, they've become even more important! But we also know from our own research that girls of all ages can find it difficult to take part in outdoors or adventurous activities. Lots of girls feel unsafe or self-conscious when they’re outside, or worried about doing things on their own.  

We want every girl to feel confident in pursuing all kinds of outdoor adventures. As a leader, you’re in a great position to inspire your girls to try all sorts of things and build their confidence. Here are our top tips on how you can help girls feel happy, safe and confident on outdoor adventures.  

1) Help girls learn new outdoor skills 

Through Girlguiding, girls can develop outdoor skills they might not have the opportunity to learn about anywhere else. One of the best ways to do this is through the Camp Skills Builder, sponsored by our friends at GO Outdoors. Girls can practice putting up tents, outdoor cooking, and lots of other camping and safety skills. It’s a great way to show girls that with the right preparation, there’s no reason to be scared or anxious about having outdoor adventures. These are skills that will stand them in great stead for the future, whether it’s a trip for their Duke of Edinburgh award, camping at festivals or going away for future hiking or camping trips.  

If you haven’t tried out any of the Camp Skills builder activities before, we’ve made some handy how-to videos that can take you and your girls through the activities. Learn how to Invent a gadget that can make camping easier, and try out some Wild cooking techniques!  

2) Provide lots of different outdoor opportunities throughout the term 

One of the best things you can do help build girls’ outdoor confidence is to regularly give them the opportunity to take part in fun outdoor activities. You don’t have to stick to particular programme themes either. There are lots of ways that you can do this, and we have more resources than ever before to help you run fun and exciting outdoor unit meetings!  

A great place to start is with our outdoor programme plans. In these four-week plans, one for every section, we include suggestions for activities that can be easily adapted to be done outside. Take a look and consider whether any of the activities you have planned in for the summer could be adapted in a similar way.  

We’ve also been working hard to suggest adjustment ideas for as many programme activities as possible! We’ve been regularly adding lots of suggestions for how you can run outdoor activities in a way that’s safe, and socially distanced. Check out our blog giving a handy roundup of some of the most popular ideas. 

3) Share your own skills and boost your confidence 

By learning more outdoor skills yourself, you’re showing girls in your unit that adventure is open to everyone.  Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you need to fake a love of camping if you’d rather sleep in a warm bed! There are lots of ways to model a love of the outdoors for your girls.  

Whether you enjoy walking, running, outdoor photography or gardening, these are all skills and passions you can share with your unit. Being active in the outdoors has great mental health benefits too. No matter what form it takes, modelling your love of the outdoors like this can make a huge difference, and show girls that they can explore and develop the skills that they are the most interested in. Give girls regular opportunities to decide which outdoor activities they’d like to do in their unit. 

If you’d like to develop your own outdoor skills a little more, we can help there too! We have a number of training schemes to help you lead girls on a range of outdoor adventures, from canoeing and narrowboating, to climbing and walking. We also have some outdoor training events for volunteers coming up soon at our Activity Centres as a part of the Generation Green project! You’ll be able to learn how to run and support specific activities such as camping and camp fires, walking and navigation skills, outdoor cooking, bushcraft and much more.  

If you’re planning on running activities or leading girls on outdoor adventures, remember to check our guidance for including disabled members. This will help you to ensure that all activities are accessible, and enable all disabled girls and volunteers to fully take part in guiding.  

Whatever outdoor activities you try, remember that all Girlguiding volunteers can access a discount at GO Outdoors in store and online. With all the equipment you need to make outdoor meetings unbeatable, what’s stopping you?