In 2016, Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast started a Trailblazer troop to provide teen Girl Scouts ways to engage in high-adventure activities in wilderness areas. Trailblazers develop skills in orienteering, survival camping, trail hiking, and environmental stewardship - all relevant skills that shape what they do in the future.
Steve Monsen has served as Trailblazer troop leader since the beginning. What started as an opportunity for him, his Girl Scout daughter, and seven others to explore cool places and do rigorous activities that many believe are too hard for girls, has evolved into a strong troop of 25 Girl Scouts. They have climbed mountains in Colorado, hosted annual Camporees with other troops, and participated in trail reconstruction, to name just a few of their activities. The troop is planning their next grand adventure to Alaska, where they will backpack across glacier crossings and ice climb.
“The girls grow in confi dence and with integrity – they go from saying ‘I can’t do that!’ to being self-sufficient,” said Steve. “They know how to keep composure in a crisis, they create their own shelter, carry all their own gear, cook for the troop, and understand how their behaviors impact the environment.”
“At the beginning, I felt nervous, but we practiced all these skills, like how to start fire and how to use axes, and I had so much fun on my first Survival Weekend,” said Corah, a Girl Scout Cadette and new member to the troop.
“This troop has taught me how to be a leader,” said Morgan, a high school senior who has been with the Trailblazers for four years. “As a Senior Patrol Leader, I learned to plan and run troop meetings, practiced time management, and got real-life experience teaching younger Girl Scouts outdoor skills.”