The North Face Is Partnering With The Girl Scouts On A New Initiative, And It Makes Us Want To Be Scouts Again

The first time I ever spent a week away from home without my family was the summer before sixth grade, after I mustered up enough courage to attend a sleep-away Girl Scouts Camp. Though I had my best friend in tow for moral support, I was absolutely terrified to exit my comfort zone. Yet despite my initial anxiety about the trip, that week in the wilderness exposed me to new experiences, people, and opportunities that I'll never forget. Not only did I earn a variety of outdoor skills badges, but I also got the chance to hang around the incredibly cool teenage camp counselors. With their confident leadership, patience, and encouragement, I immediately felt drawn to them and embodied their, 'Yes you can' attitudes throughout the week.

By having positive role models like my camp counselors, my normally shy self felt empowered to interact with new peers, learn new skills, and push the boundaries of my limitations (both socially and physically). Eventually, their influence motivated me to become a camp counselor myself as a teenager and empower the next generation of scouts! My own positive experiences made me so excited to learn of The North Face’s partnership with The Girl Scouts of the USA.

Bustle has teamed up with The North Face to announce their new collaboration with the Girl Scouts of the USA: an initiative to inspire, prepare, and mobilize the next generation of female leaders. As part of The North Face’s larger "Move Mountains" campaign, the goal is twofold: first, to provide young girls with more visible female role models in all areas of exploration, including athletics, the sciences, and beyond; and second, to provide all girls, regardless of socioeconomic status, more outdoor opportunities and adventure to enhance their leadership skills and confidence — all while encouraging them to seek new challenges.

At the crux of the collaboration is the creation of 12 new Outdoor Adventure badges, with activities ranging from mountaineering and climbing, to backpacking, hiking, and trail running. Slated to roll out over the next two years, the badges are designed to help girls of all ages, in every zip code, learn about different methods and benefits of exploration while simultaneously building leadership skills outdoors. The Girl Scouts will leverage The North Face’s 50-plus years of experience in the outdoors and network of experts to inform the various badge activities, and together, the brands are featuring America Ferrera — actor, Girl Scout alum, and women’s empowerment activist — as the voice of the Outdoor Adventure Partnership.

Both the North Face and the Girl Scouts have a longstanding history with encouraging outdoor activity. The North Face has a goal of getting one million more people outdoors this year, while the Girl Scouts has made the outdoors a cornerstone of its leadership experience since the organization’s inception. With proven results that show girls benefit from outdoor experiences — a 2014 study from the Girl Scout Research Institute found that outdoor experiences in Girl Scouts helped 72 percent of girls improve a skill, 33 percent overcome a fear, and 50 percent try an activity they had never attempted before — the partnership is a natural one supporting a shared goal to empower the next generation of female explorers.

As a former Girl Scout, I’m a teensy bit jealous these badges weren’t available when I was a kid. But mostly I’m excited for the girls who will be challenging themselves while learning about the outdoors, and continuing the Girl Scout tradition of having life-changing outdoor experiences. And if there’s ever an opportunity for an alum to get her first-ever rock climbing badge … can someone let a girl know?

This post is sponsored by The North Face. To celebrate role models everywhere, The North Face is calling for nominations of inspiring women. Post a black and white image of your personal role model on Instagram and share why they inspire you along with the hashtag #SheMovesMountains by April 31, 2018. Beyond giving your mentor, role model or BFF the shoutout they deserve, select submissions will also be featured in a public art piece in New York City this summer.