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Girl Scouts receive $845,000 grant for building outdoor programs |

Girl Scouts receive $845,000 grant for building outdoor programs

Megan Tomasic

Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania is building their outdoor programs thanks to a $845,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

Girl Scout officials plan to use the money for research and training, hoping to encourage girls to get outdoors and experience new things, spokesperson Stefanie Marshall said.

Troops in 16 states — Alaska, Arizona, New York, Michigan, West Virginia, Maine, Wyoming, Washington, Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Georgia and Florida — will receive about $645,000 to hire an intern from the Student Conservation Association, a nonprofit that works to build the next generation of conservationists, who will focus on development training for girl and adult members in regard to outdoor experiences, Marshall said.

About $200,000 will be designated to the University of Washington for research on the effectiveness of the outdoor experience in Girl Scouts, she said.

Money will be used to create two all-Girl Scout project crews that will travel to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and to New Hampshire where they will work on environmental service projects and learn about ecology.

“This grant and the continued support from the Richard King Mellon Foundation allows Girl Scout councils to profoundly impact how a girl experiences the outdoors and nature,” Patricia Burkart, CEO of Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania, said in a release. “The key to outdoor program success is providing expanded adult training. Our reach becomes exponential when we equip adult volunteers with knowledge and resources that create a strong skill set in girls.”

The grant was first received in 2016 and again in 2018 and has been used to expand activities at Girl Scout camps, Marshall said, adding that Tomahawk ax throwing ranges were added to camps this year.

A “Get Outdoors Challenge” was implemented in 2017, a checklist girls can check off like snowshoeing, bird watching and walking barefoot in the grass.

Megan Tomasic is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 724-850-1203, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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