Girl Scouts Destinations Explained
Girl Scout Destinations are domestic and international travel programs for individual Girl Scouts at the Cadette, Senior, or Ambassador levels. Destinations are for girls who are ready to take travel to the next level, and meet new friends while traveling the world. This is a chance for you to step out on your own and explore! Read on to learn more or click below to browse Girl Scout Destinations or register for our Destinations Q&A on May 27.
“ I went to Costa Rica December 27th to January 5th, 2019. The destination was a multi-day service project about sea-turtle conservation. We cleaned the beach in the morning and watched a sea turtle lay her eggs on the beach. We also went on turtle walks almost every night. When we weren’t on the beach, our trip included touring a coffee farm, taking a city tour in San Jose, ziplining, and visiting a volcano. I can say with 100% certainty that this was the best trip I have ever been on and that Costa Rica is the most beautiful place I have ever been. I strongly encourage other girls to apply for Destinations. It was an amazing experience and I can’t wait to travel again.” – Clara B., Girl Scout Ambassador
What do you do on Destinations?
It depends on the trip you sign up for! There are programs that focus on the outdoors, STEM, or any number of things! Some programs are simply designed to have you experience a new place and see the world like this trip to England and Scotland. Check out the Destinations Explorer Tool to find the perfect travel opportunity for you.
How long are the trips?
These trips last from four days to two weeks and mostly take place during the summer although there are some opportunities during winter break as well.
Do I apply with my troop? Who goes on these Destinations?
Destinations are for individual girls only–they are not for troops or groups of friends, and they are not for parents or troop leaders. Individual girls apply for Destinations from around the country, so you’ll make friends from all over–even Girl Scouts from overseas!
How old do I need to be to apply?
Destinations are for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors. Some trips are posted two years in advance, so when you look on the website, make sure to think about how old you will be in two years. Juniors can definitely start looking at Destinations now!
Do I need travel experience?
No travel experience is required! Destinations are a perfect way for you to experience travel for the first time, or if you’ve been away from home multiple times. Some girls who attend Destinations have never been on an airplane before! All you need is interest and a sense of adventure!
How many girls are on each trip?
The average number of girls per trip is 14, but it varies. Some trips have just 7-8 girls and some trips have 30-35 girls.
Who runs Destinations?
Destinations are organized or “hosted” in three different ways.
- A Girl Scout council might host a Destination for girls across the country like the Central Coast Outdoor Adventure program sponsored by Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast.
- Sometimes a Girl Scout council wants to host a program overseas and partner with a tour provider, such as EF Tours, to travel internationally.
- Girl Scouts of the USA has relationships with a few tour providers who create and run Destinations just for Girl Scouts.
I’m a parent and these sound fun. Can I come too?
Unfortunately, this is a girl-only opportunity. But rest assured, the chaperones and instructors on these trips are highly-qualified, experienced leaders who strictly follow GSUSA’s rules and guidelines.
How much do Destinations cost?
There is a wide range of prices–some trips are as low as $750 but others can be more than $5,000. Be sure to read the descriptions in detail and compare programs carefully. For example, one trip may be more expensive, but it may be significantly longer than another. Another VERY important detail to consider is airfare. One trip may seem much less expensive than another, but may not include airfare. This could drastically effect the cost of the trip, making it closer in price to more expensive trips that have airfare included.
Are there any scholarships?
Some organizations have scholarships you can apply for, either from them directly, or from grant funding like the Sea Turtle Destination in Costa Rica which uses funds from the Elliot Wildlife Foundation. Details of how to apply will be listed on the trip page.
GSWPA also has scholarship funding exclusively for girls accepted to Destinations so be sure to apply! This scholarship is called a D-Pass–stay tuned for more information when the applications open!
If I’m an Indie Girl, can I use my program reward certificate to help fund my Destination?
Yes! Contact us at email@example.com or 800-248-3355 for more information on using program rewards.
Where can I read what other girls have to say about their Destination?
How do I apply?
Once you find the Destination you want to apply to, download the Destinations Application Worksheet. This worksheet is just your rough draft. Once you have completed the application worksheet, copy the information into the online application.
What do I need for my application?
You will need your contact information, your parent/guardian contact information, and the name of your local Girl Scout council.
You will also need the name and email address of two people who have already agreed to provide a reference for you. A third reference is optional, but not required.
Lastly, you will need to list your skills and activities and write an essay.
Who can I ask to be my reference?
You could ask your Girl Scout leader, a teacher, a religious leader, or a sports coach. If you have a job, you can ask your supervisor. If you do not have any of these, maybe a neighbor or adult family friend who knows you well. Do no ask family members or peers your own age to be a reference.
You should contact the person to ask them if they are willing to be a reference for you BEFORE you enter their email address into your application. Let them know about Destinations, the trip(s) you are applying to, and why you want to attend. Then, ask them if they are willing to be your reference and if they are able to complete the reference form by the deadline date.
How do my references submit their letter?
After you complete your part of the online application, a link will be sent to your reference to complete their part. You will get an email when your references complete their sections, so you will know your application is complete. If you do not get the email and it is a couple days before your deadline, check in with your references to see if they have completed the form, or still have time to do so.
What do I write about in my essay?
Talk about why that specific trip interests you. Are you excited to learn about the culture? Let the Destination host know what you hope to get out of this experience. Are there skills you hope to learn or is there a place you have always wanted to see? Be specific!
Write about what YOU bring. What are your specific skills that are relevant to the Destination? For example, if this is a Destination to a city where you’ll be staying in a hotel, it’s less important to talk about your camping experience, and more important to talk about your experience using buses and subways. If it is an outdoor Destination, talk about your camping experience and skills.
Be sure to completely prepare your essay before you begin to enter your information online. You cannot save your information in the online application and come back to finish it later. You must complete it in one sitting. You should have your entire essay drafted and saved in case you have any technical issues while you are completing the online form.
Can I apply to multiple Destinations?
Yes! You can apply for up to four trips. However, you will have to complete a separate application for each trip you want to apply to. You can copy most of the information exactly from your worksheet–just make sure you are entering a different essay for each trip.
Should I apply to multiple Destinations?
Some Destinations fill up fast, so it is often suggested that you fill out applications to a few of your top choices, just in case one fills up, you will still have back-up options.
When are the deadlines?
Destinations have multiple application periods. The first deadline to submit your application is June 15, 2021. The second deadline will be in the fall. Applications will then be taken on a rolling basis for any Destinations with spots left.
When do I find out if I got in?
If you apply by June 15, The host will email you by July 15 to alert you if you are accepted, not accepted, or placed on a waitlist. Once you select a Destination, you must pay a non-refundable deposit by August 1, 2021. The deposit goes toward your program fee for the Destination.
What happens after I’ve accepted?
After you have accepted, each Destination will have their own timeline for payments and information being rolled out. Keep an eye on your email after being accepted to hear more from each individual Destination!