Each of us knows our own community. How often have you wanted to do a field trip, but are unaware of what’s available? By sharing your unique community with others, you can provide experiences that visiting troops might miss.
Together, we can provide opportunities for discovery and exploration for our youth and ourselves. Instead of sharing our stories, we’re providing the opportunity for everyone to have the experiences to create their own.
Exploring my community
1. Sharing my community.
You can share your community with photos and information on events and organizations. Start a database, document or folder with information on the events that happen in your community so you can share this information. Include the following:
- Event name
- Hosting organization
- Location of organization
- Contact information for organization
- Frequency of event (yearly, anytime, etc.)
- Photos available?
- Links for more information
If you have additional ideas for your database such as age limitations, group size, etc. include those as well.
2. Free all the time.
Create a listing of free field trip opportunities in your area that may be arranged at any time. Make sure organizations that have offered free field trips in the past did not do it for a specific group or reason so that anyone may be offered the opportunity. Find out if these organizations are still operating. Share this list with your service unit, council or other groups that would find this information useful.
3. Special events.
Some field trip events are special events. These may happen at parks, orchestras, museums, clubs or businesses. Keep track of events that are special events and the organization / individual in charge. Is it possible that these might be held again? Track what you find.
4. Scheduled events.
Some events need to be scheduled to make sure they have the minimum number of participants, can be held at a certain venue, or have other requirements that need to be met. Find events that need to be scheduled and share those. Make sure you note any specific requirements, age limitations, etc.
5. Other events.
Find other events that do not fit into the above categories. Determine if they can or should be shared.
Take photos of various sites in your community. Highlight those areas that are of interest to tourists and locals. Rename your files so you can quickly identify your community sites.
Alternatively, you can search for images on the Web and create a “hometown” board on Pinterest to share your images.
Bird’s eye view
7. Determine the area.
You may choose to share your community with other group leaders or a larger group. Decide if your final plan is to cover your city, your county, your state or your council. Can you do this on your own or do you need to recruit help?
You can sort your area by any of the information in Step 1. Decide if you’ll distribute your information electronically, with printed materials or other means.
9. Printable only.
If you choose to share this only with printable materials (handouts and PDFs), create a template you can share with others so you can combine collected community events into a folder for reference. This will ensure that all shared information looks similar. Determine a way you can notify others about your updates.
10. Private and online.
You may choose to set up an online resource about your community. This might be anything from photos on Pinterest to documents on Google. Discuss this option with others who are sharing their communities. Do you want anyone to have access or limit it to those who request it?
11. Interactive site.
Create an interactive map of the area you’re covering. Make each area clickable so that it opens a page specifically about an event, city or other smaller area. Provide the information and photos you’ve collected in Steps 1-6. Include links for additional information.
12. Programs — individual.
List any programs available through the events you list and where you can acquire them. For example, a museum might offer a participation patch or cover the steps of a badge.
13. Programs — clusters.
Find or create programs for specific sets of activities or locations. Make groups of them so that the design matches, giving kids the opportunity to “collect them all.” You might want to do all the camps in your council, the museums in your state, parks in your region, etc. Brainstorm ways to honor kids who acquire all pieces of these badge sets.
For example, Indiana State Parks has a pin program where you can earn a pin at each of the state parks. You have to participate in events, explore the park, etc. Earning all of the pins would be an interesting project for a troop or group.
14. Programs — group.
Ask your council / school / group to provide a program featuring the specific areas of your area. This can coincide with an interactive map site (see Step 11). A multi-part patch can highlight areas visited while completing activities, exploring what other areas have to offer.
The supplement for this is listed below. It is a patch program from the Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana. It is no longer on their site, so I do not know if it can be earned. It is provided as a sample only of what you might do.
Expand the experience
15. Create your own — local event.
Create your own community event. Offer it beyond your organization as a recruitment event or service project.
16. Create your own — wide event.
Create your own community event, offering it to anyone within your organization. In addition to your own event, provide information about other community offerings that are similar that your participants might be interested in attending.
17. Social media.
Social media allows you to explore communities and create communities. Find out what social media offers and how you can utilize it to share your community. This might be through photo sites like Flickr or Pinterest, sites like Facebook or even special sites set up by your organization.
Sites to Explore