What do you get when the National Park Service and Girl Scouts of America join together? For one thing, the Girl Scout Ranger Program! The Girl Scout Ranger Program (GSRP) represents an expansion of the previous National Park Service Resource Stewardship Girl Scout Ranger Program and a partnership between the National Park Service and the Girl Scouts of America. The new program began in 2015, with the dual purpose of getting girl scouts outdoors and helping them learn about the national parks. By participating in organized education activities or volunteer service projects at one or more national parks, girl scouts can earn a Girl Scout Ranger certificate after five hours of participation and a Girl Scout Ranger Program patch after ten hours.
While other national parks have hosted GSRP events for the Girl Scouts, their focus has largely been on learning about natural resources. The Southeast Archeological Center (SEAC) is one of the first national park units to offer girl scouts the chance to earn a GSRP certificate and patch through a two-day event learning about cultural resource stewardship and participating in activities including: a mock excavation, artifact lab analysis, atlatl throwing, Native American pottery making, and geocaching. These activities provide participants with a better understanding of the tools and techniques used by archeologists to learn about and record historic and prehistoric sites, as well as providing insight into how people lived in the past.
SEAC’s inaugural archeology event took place at the Girl Scouts Camp for All Seasons, near Tallahassee, Florida, in May 2016, with 14 Girl Scout Juniors participating from the Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle, Inc. (GSCFP).
The program caught the interest of Fort Frederica National Monument, which requested SEAC’s assistance in hosting an archeology event for the Girl Scouts at their park in January of this year.
Eighteen girl scouts from three troops of the Marshes of Glynn Service Unit (MOGSU) participated in the archeology event to earn their GSRP certificates and patches. In addition to the Girl Scout Ranger Program patch, SEAC has also designed the event to allow participants to complete the requirements for the Geocacher and Science Detective badges. While the current program hosted by SEAC is meant for girls in the 4-5th grade range (Juniors), the possibility exists to adapt the program for other age ranges in the future as the program expands to other parks.
The next archeology event to be hosted by SEAC for the Girl Scout Ranger Program will be held on March 18-19, 2017, at the Camp for All Seasons, near Tallahassee, Florida. Girl Scout troops interested in participating need to register for the event by Tuesday, March 7 through GSCFP!