Yes, we know as adults that hiking is fun, serene, beautiful, and an incredible accomplishment once completed. Yet sometimes our girls aren’t on the same path of that fun. A hike in the woods may not be all that enticing to the kids of today who are surrounded by the huge of amounts of multi-media right at their fingertips. So how can you get them excited to go hiking or to how to keep them motivated while hiking the trail?
We’ve got lots of experience of taking girls hiking on the Appalachian Trail – from easy trails to more advance terrain, from scenic spots to a wall of woods, from day hiking to backpacking overnight. And we are sure you have great tips and ideas too. Here are a few of our successful, fun-filled hiker words of wisdom.
A hiking we shall go? How to hook them into hiking!
- entice them with a scenic spot to hike to by showing photos or videos of the spot.
- hiking fun patches are nice collectibles – Girl Scout ones or ATC ones.
- emphasize the fun – not just the beautiful vistas, but the large hollowed out trees, the rocks to scramble, the vines to swing on, waterfalls, caves, arches, rock formations, anything that’s unique or special!
- plan a picnic for your summit/mountaintop – a unique experience.
- pick a destination with water involved and plan to play in it!
- plan a “theme-hike” like camera hike or rainbow hike or story hike.
- make it a treasure hunt by searching for a geocache or letterbox on the trail.
- as always, get the girls involved in the planning process: have them look at maps, choose the correct clothing, help plan the food, and select a favorite song to sing.
- don’t call it hiking… call it adventuring!
- help the girls set their own personal goals to reach for the day of the hike.
- use dress-up paper dolls to learn about seasonal clothing layers – girls love dolls & fashion!
- it’s what the first troop did over 100 years ago so let’s continue that great tradition!
So while adventuring… how to keep them going on the trail!
- embrace the pace set by kids – they are slower than adults.
- too slow, then take turns in leading the hike by allowing each girl to lead the way until they reach a white trail blaze then the leadership turn moves to the next in line while the other retreats to the very back.
- sing songs along the trail – nothing says Girl Scouts like singing in the great outdoors! Try-out some of our fav songs!
- take plenty of rest stops & bring lots of water and snacks; food is important! Stop by a convenience store on the way to the trailhead so the girls can select their favorite candy to celebrate making it to the halfway point or the very end.
- emphasize the fun & adventure; keep a surprise in your backpack in case boredom sets in quickly or badly or worse both.
- take time for photo ops and video shoots – involve a little technology into your hike; Facebook your hike’s beginning, middle and ending. Mix the tradition of the great outdoors with the technology of today.
- make instant nature jewelry – create inside-out duct tape bracelets and allow girls to collect small items to attach to it.
- create a nature scavenger hunt – flora or fauna you’ll see, smell, feel or hear.
- introduce them to the yummy experience of “fireless” foods like candy necklaces & ants on a log.
- do an alphabet hike – find various items with names that begin with each letter of the alphabet.
- play the game “20 Questions” or “What am I?”
- encourage them — there are 99 ways to say “very good!”