Girl Scouts are going places! Ask any one of the members in Troop #28173, and they'll tell you just that. These Girl Scouts got the travel bug early, says Troop Leader Leah C., and have been excited to take a trip for awhile. A multi-level troop, girls going into grades 5-7 opted to take a trip to San Antonio this summer - and began planning for their summer adventure in early 2013.
Last year, Leah says the girls began discussing taking a troop trip and how they would pay for it. The girls wanted to go somewhere in Texas, and seeing that several would have completed 4th grade Texas history and two would be going into 7th grade Texas history is coming school year, San Antonio seemed like the perfect spot. But before they could pick out all the fun things to see and do, the girls had some work ahead of them.
"Initial planning started last cookie season," says Leah. "When they were planning what to do we printed out all the [cookie] safety sheets, and it was fun for them to learn about all the activities they can do. Starting in September , the girls researched where they wanted to go and once that was finalized they started working on their budget."
Earning funds through the Cookie Program
With a budget created and their goal set, Troop #28173 tackled the 2014 Cookie Program with one goal: sell enough cookies to pay for most of their trip. From individual sales to signing up for more cookie booths than in previous years, the troop managed to sell more than 9,500 boxes and earned $1,200 in Cookie Program funds. Combined with $1,000 from other two other fundraising efforts, each girl only had to pay $75 for the trip. It's amazing what a box of Thin Mints can do!
"Having a goal helped the girls plan how to run their cookie businesses," says Leah. "We always go over our troop budget with them, so they knew that our cookie funds pay for re-registration for all the girls, camping, etc. They would have to increase their sales to make enough money to pay for their trip. It was amazing - they worked SO hard and had fun doing it."
Managing their budget
Even with a majority of their funds raised, Troop #28173 still worked hard to manage their trip budget and find ways to save money.
"Not only did the girls have a blast, they learned SO much!" says Leah. "From the planning and budgeting to learning how to use GPS, read maps, understand mileage, how to be street safe and so much more. We had the parents give the Junior girls Visa gift cards rather than cash for spending money/souvenirs, and the girls were so cute. Each evening the Juniors would talk about their "money management", and they would keep track of their receipts and how much money they had. They learned about sales tax and how to figure out their totals ahead of time. One darling girl who is actually new to Girl Scouts this year told me, 'I learned all of this stuff when we earned our Savvy Shopper badges!'
"The Cadettes brought cash instead of cards, and they learned how to keep their money safe and had to learn about spending wisely so they didn't blow all their money on the first day. I had our Senior girl help me with the hotel reservations, and she was my navigator on the road. She is pretty much an expert now - and a WAY better map reader than my husband - I'll travel with her ANY time!"
San Antonio, here we come!
So what did the girls do in San Antonio? They visited SeaWorld where the girls planned their schedule each day. They also got a special behind-the-scenes tour where they got one-on-one time with staff and could ask tons of questions - perfect for a troop that loves science. They also arranged Girl Scout tours at the Tower of the Americas, the Institute for Texan Cultures and Natural Bridge Caverns as well as a tour of the Alamo (only one girl had visited it before) and even earned Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas' Walking Tour of San Antonio patch!
As for their next trip...
"We will probably do the Georgia trip, and they would like to go to Disney World," says Leah. "Our Seniors are going to be saving to do an EF Tour before their 12th grade year - they want to go to Costa Rica together. Our Daisies and Brownies can't wait to be Juniors to go on trips."
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