How to Earn the Hiker Badge (It's Your Planet-Love It WOW! Journey)

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One of the reasons Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts is to give girls from all kinds of backgrounds skills that they needed. Many of those skills included being in the great outdoors. There are many vintage photos of Ms. Low and her groups of scouts outdoors and enjoying their surroundings.

Earning the Brownie Hiker Badge is perfect for an early fall or a spring meeting. If you are a troop that meets over the summer, this is also a great time to earn this badge as well.

Because there is prep work involved, this badge will take up more than one meeting. The actual hike, Step number 5, will take place on another day. Be sure to have a rain date in case the weather is not cooperative!

Meeting plan with resources on how to earn the Brownie Hiker Badge

Step 1 Find a Trail

While the guide for earning this badge has experts coming in to speak or finding a trail, in reality, second and third grade girls cannot choose which place they want to visit. This is an adult decision.

However, girls can choose what kinds of things they would like to see and do while on the trail! Make a list and see what things you can actually accomplish while on the trail you have selected.
This would also be a good time to discuss what kinds of supplies need to be brought along. Unlike a trip to the theme park where mom usually schleps along, girls will be responsible for carrying their own supplies.

Discussions about the kind of footwear and clothing that needs to be worn, as well as safety rules, would be a good starting point for this meeting.

Make Your Own Backpack (Craft)

This meeting would be a good time for the girls to make their own drawstring backpacks to decorate. 

Materials
  • Drawstring Backpack
  • Fabric markers or Sharpies
  • Stampers (optional-girls might enjoy stamping nature scenes on their backpacks in addition to drawing on them)


Have the girls put their troop number somewhere in their design and their initials on the outside of the bag. I am not a fan of having children write their names on things, as someone they do not know can call out their name. Initials will identify the bag.


Step 2 Try Out a Hiking Skill

This is a fun step that will take your troop outdoors. Create a trail map of the outside of your meeting area and place signs for the girls to find. You may also want to add trees, plants and flower to the trail so this activity is a bit more detailed.

After the trail has been completed, have the girls remove the signs. This is a great time to share the “Leave No Trace” rule, which is to leave a site just as you found it.

Another thing to do is to go over trail signs. This print out will help the girls become familiar with them.


Step 3 Pick the Right Gear

Although the requirements states that an older Girl Scout or hiker should talk to the girls, this is not really necessary to complete this step.

What gear to bring when earning the Brownie Hiker badge

Ask the girls what they wear to a certain activity, for example, to a softball game or to a tap class. Then ask them why they would not wear a football helmet to play softball or ballet shoes to a tap class.

This leads to the discussion of what to wear on their hike. Some of the items chosen will depend on the kind of weather you are hiking in-a crisp fall day will require a hoodie, but a late spring day would require short sleeves and sunscreen.

Some must haves are:
  • Closed to shoes like hiking boots or sneakers and socks
  • A hat or visor to protect them from the sun
  • A backpack with a water bottle, a small first aid kit, hand wipes and snacks

Make Your Own Hat (craft)

If you are not doing the make your own backpack, then the girls can create their very own hat to take on the trail. It is an important accessory to keep the sun off sensitive scalps and to keep bugs out of the girls' hair.


This DIY Hat kit from Oriental Trading permits the girls to create their own design,It includes 12 hats, markers, stickers and will let each girl's creativity shine!

Another craft can have the girls quickly put together is a small First Aid kit. Have them fill a travel soap container with a few Band Aids and some Neosporin samples (ask your pediatrician for them.) Have them label the top with their name in Sharpie.

Step 4 Pack a Snack for Energy

While hiking, the girls will get hungry. This is where trail mix comes in to help them curb their hunger pangs.

At a prior meeting, ask the girls what their favorite salty and sweet treats are. Once you have compiled a list, shop for those ingredients. On meeting day, put them in paper or plastic bowls and tell each girl to write her name on a baggie.

Make your own snack mix to earn the Brownie Hiker badge


Put the bowls in different sections of the room and have your co-leader supervise one table while you supervise the other. Girls should start off with the larger items, such as cereal, pretzels, and crackers. The second table should have sweet items like chocolate chips, M&M’s, raisins, dried fruit and mini marshmallows.  Explain that they will take more of the salty items and less of the sweet. Avoid nuts if there are allergies or the place where you meet is peanut/tree nut free.

Because the girls are making their own special blend, there should be no complaints about what they are eating! Make sure each girl has 1-2 prepackaged wipes in her backpack so she can eat with clean hands.


Step 5 Go on Your Hike (and don’t forget your camera!)

The big day is finally here! You have your permission slips, your field trip approval number, extra volunteers and all of the right gear for your girls. Now it is time for the fun to begin!

Here are some fun activities to do with your girls.




Color Coded Nature Hunt (go to picture number 7 in the slideshow)





What have you done with your troop to earn the Brownie Hiker badge?

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