The winter holiday season is beginning – turn on the radio, and you’ll hear holiday tunes, and stores have been littered with Christmas and Hanukkah decorations for weeks. And here at Girl Scouts of Northern California, we believe opportunity and experiences are the greatest gifts of all! Whether you are searching for the perfect gift for that proud Girl Scout in your family, or you want to help support the next generation of women leaders by giving back, our holiday gift guide has something for everyone:

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For Your Outdoor Adventurer

Connecting with the outdoors is an essential part of the Girl Scout experience, which is why we offers year-round programs and events that encourage and inspire girls to get outdoors!  

#FindYourPark: Girl Scout Ranger Program

Girl Scout Rangers and GSNorCal CEO Marina Park holding up the Girl Scout signYou don’t have to go far to have an outdoor adventure, and with the Girl Scout Ranger program, you can earn a badge while you’re exploring the park. Northern California is home to many gorgeous national parks and monuments. From its thunderous ocean breakers crashing against rocky headlands and expansive sand beaches to its open grasslands, brushy hillsides, and forested ridges, Point Reyes National Seashore offers visitors over 1500 species of plants and animals to discover. Redwood National Park near is home to the tallest trees on Earth, the majestic coastal redwoods, and at Lassen Volcanic National Park you will discover steaming fumaroles, meadows freckled with wildflowers, clear mountain lakes, and numerous volcanoes. Follow the link to find out more about the Girl Scout Ranger Program and find your park! 

Golden Gate Bridging 

Girl Scouts crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in sunglassesIf you have a Junior that will be bridging in the spring, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity! Over 6,000 girls, both local and out of state, walk across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge as they bridge from Juniors to Cadettes, followed by an exclusive party on Crissy Field with music, snacks, and fun activity booths.

Pro Tip: Since Golden Gate is a national park, you can also earn your Girl Scout Ranger badge while here! 🙂

Want to learn more about the experience before you sign up? Join the GGB Facebook group to chat with GGB attendees past and future. Once she’s signed up, make sure your girl bridges in style with the 2018 Golden Gate Bridging gear and apparel.  

Winter Camping 

With the mostly mild weather we’re blessed with in Northern California, with a few added layers we can go camping all year round! All of our camp properties (except Sugar Pine and Skylark Ranch) are open for winter rentals (except for closures on Nov 22-26 and Dec 16-Jan 1). You can book time at Butano, Bothin, Twin Canyon, and Arequipa for your troop, school, or nonprofit group. Check property availability on the property rental reservation calendars. 

Get Geared Up 

Looking for a small gift or stocking stuffer for your outdoorsy Girl Scout? For winter camping, make sure you and your girls are equipped with essential campsite supplies and stay warm. 

GSNorCal Hiker Head Lamp ($6.99): A headlamp is inexpensive, provides necessary illumination for nighttime camp activities like stargazing night hikes and reading under the covers, and has many other uses as well. Check out this camp hacks video that Mary-Jane, our Senior Director of Camps & Adventure, helped make for GSUSA – you’ll find headlamp hacks at about the 34 seconds mark. 

GSNorCal Zipper Hoodie ($36.99): A perfect layer for California winters and staying toasty around the fire at summer camp.  

The Pocket Guide to Camping ($9.99): This book has all the camping basics, from planning your trip, to setting up a tent, to hiking a trail, to cooking over the campfire. Along with camping skills and first aid, it includes stories, games, activities, campfire recipes, and fun campfire songs. 


For Your World Wanderer

The gift of travel for a Girl Scout is something that will stay with her for a very long time. The holidays are a great time to sit down with your girl (or Girl Scout troop) and discuss where in the world they want to go as Girl Scouts. 

Girl Scout Destinations 

Girl Scout Destinations will whisk your girl to the far corners of the world, where she will meet new girls from around the country, develop leadership skills, and participate in a service project or travel adventure that fulfills their individual interests. These trips are for individual Girl Scout travelers. 

Sailing Lake Erie: Tall Ship Sail School: Set sail with the crew of the U.S. Brig Niagara, the largest wooden sailing ship in the United States, as you explore the beauty and majesty of Lake Erie. You’ll step aboard the Niagara, a US Coast Guard certified Sailing School vessel, as a trainee. Raise and lower the sails, eat meals from the ship’s galley, sleep in a hammock below deck, and keep lookout with the crew while onboard the ship. By becoming an active part of the crew, you’ll learn the skills of traditional square-rig seamanship, through sailing, maintaining, and living on the ship. 

Girl Scout Destination 2019: Cuzco, Peru: The highlands of Peru are an ideal landscape to experience the majesty of the Inca Empire and to challenge yourself as a leader and a hiker! Engage in meaningful cross-cultural exchange in the magical city of Cusco and the breathtaking Sacred Valley. Participate in hikes, soak in hot springs, and experience an overnight camp out in the remote Andes. The cherry on top of this adventure is the final stop: the famous citadel of Machu Picchu. This program will focus on globally responsible leadership, female empowerment, and learning to live a No Barriers Life. Note: Must be 14–18 years old at the time of the program, and must have completed your freshman year of high school. 

Girls show off their muscles at the top of a Peruvian mountain

Other future Destinations include Mexico, South Africa, India, Japan, New Zealand and Australia, Scotland and Ireland, Iceland, Costa Rica (to name a few). Have your girl look through the online catalog of Destinations and choose a few (she can apply to up to four). Round 2 of Destination applications are due January 20th, so apply now! For further assistance or support, please contact us at 800-447-4475 or email destinations@girlscoutsnorcal.org. 

Council Trips 

Council trips have been set up to provide older girls with the opportunity to see the world, either independently with other girls from the council or with other girls from her troop. These locations are chosen through the input of the girls who have traveled on previous trips. For planning processes, please keep in mind that the dates are tentative, with a possible swing of 1-3 days either way. They are normally firmed up by January of the year we travel.  

2018 Senior and Ambassador Trip to Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai: Our journey to China is more than walking along the Great Wall and visiting ancient palaces—it’s an experience and an opportunity to get to know the people of China. From a Peking Duck dinner, to a traditional tea ceremony to a rickshaw ride, the memories await. Your trip becomes truly special when your troop enjoys a traditional Chinese meal with a local family. A visit to a local school will give you insight into education in China.  Walking on the Great Wall brings a reality to just how big it actually is.

2019 Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador Trip through the Panama Canal: Completed in 1914, the Panama Canal revolutionized international trade by bridging the Atlantic and Pacific oceans between the Americas. But there is so much more to this isthmus nation, as you will discover on your in-depth expedition. Explore bustling Panama City and meet with artists near Panama’s only soapstone mine. Then focus your attention on the exotic wildlife as you come face to face with the variety of birds and animals at Rio Chagres and Soberanía National Parks.        

Future council trips include the 2020 Cadette Trip to the Galapagos Islands and the 2020 Senior and Ambassador Trip to New Zealand and Australia. Contact Sandy Norman for more information at slnorman@pacbell.net. 


For Your Knowledge Seeker

Science and technology and engineering and math, oh my! We know parents and kids these days have very busy lives, so time is precious. Our awesome STEM programs offer opportunities for both learning and quality bonding time with your girl (which may be the gift she really wants that doesn’t make it on her wishlist).  

Upcoming Programs & Events

Check out the Activity Finder or the Program & Events Guide for more fun experiences! 

Build It Family Festival – March 11, 2018: Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors are invited to the Lawrence Hall of Science Build It Family Festival! in Berkeley for a day of exploration. Channel your inner architect and engineer and practice your design, problem-solving, and spatial skills by constructing everything from tessellations to bridges! We’ll bring the materials, you bring the creativity! Museum admission and 3D movie experience also included.  

Seals and Slippers Sleepovers: Is your girl secretly a mermaid? Then she’ll love this opportunity to have a sleepover with the seals. At the Seals and Slippers sleepovers, girls (and their adults) get to sleep under the stars at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito while earning a badge. There are separate sleepovers for Juniors and Brownies. Juniors will earn the Animal Habitats badge, and Brownies will earn the Senses badge.  

Juniors Animal Habitats – March 16, 2018: Your girl will investigate all the marine mammals living on the California shoreline and learn how she can help care for them and preserve their habitat. Then in the morning, you’ll hike around the beautiful Rodeo Lagoon to see more local wildlife up close and participate in a beach clean-up. 

Brownies Senses Seals and Slippers – March 23, 2018: Your girl will engage all her senses as she listens for the difference between an elephant seal vocalization and a sea lion bark, smell and observe a fishy nighttime feeding, taste a delicious dinner, and get hands-on with the equipment used to care for the marine mammal patients. 

Innovative Retail Items

GSNorCal STEM Fun Patches ($1.25): Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math make up STEM. We believe all girls should explore the world of STEM. Choose from star gazing, robotics, computer coding, geocaching, and STEM.

Bubble Science Kit ($15.00): Bet you didn’t know that some bubbles are unbreakable! Experiment in the science and simple beauty of making bubbles of amazing shapes and sizes.

52 Amazing Science Experiments ($6.95): 52 enlightening projects for the amateur scientist! This collection is packed with concoctions and experiments that could turn you into the next great inventor of our age? Works well along side the Brownie Home Scientist and Junior Detective Badges.


For Your Daring Doer

Your high-energy, thrill-seeking girl will love these activities that will let her take healthy risks and safely expand her comfort zone.  

Indoor Trampolines 

You may not have known that indoor trampolines are back on the approved activities for girls! Plan a trip to go to an indoor trampoline park this winter and keep out of the cold and burn all the energy at once. Some indoor trampoline parks to check out are:  Rare Air Trampoline Park (serving Redding/North Coast Girls),  House of Air (San Francisco), RockinJump (Dublin/East Bay), SkyHigh Sports (South Bay).  

Indoor Skydiving  

Give your girls the gift of flight with Indoor Skydiving. iFly SF Bay Area offers your girls a soaring experience!  

Segway Tours  

Get motorized and moving with Segway Tours. Your girls can Segway through Santa Cruz or experience the adventures of what San Francisco has to offer. Learn about the hidden gems in your city or one you’ve always wanted to visit without having to walk everywhere by booking a Segway Tour for the girls, they are guaranteed to love the experience! 

Adventures In Archery  

Strength, finesse, and even patience – your girl will hone them all in the century-old sport of archery. Sign up your Junior, Cadette, Senior, or Ambassador for this low-cost class ($10 a session) at the Bothin archery range, where she will take part in a variety of games and challenges as she inches her way toward that bullseye! Archery sessions happen every month: 

Girl Scouts at the Bothin archery range


For Your Community Leader

Your girl has a heart for service, so partner with her on a project to give back to her community. From volunteering at a local soup kitchen to making bedding for an animal shelter to collecting toys for kids who would otherwise not get presents, there are many ways to give back. Here are two you might not know about. 

Camp Work Parties 

Give back to your favorite camp and earn community service hours with your troop, family, group, or as an individual. No previous experience is necessary, and each participant will receive a Work Party Patch! Projects may include trail improvements, general landscaping, painting outbuildings and picnic tables, and firewood stacking. Camp work party dates are already set through Fall 2018.  

One Warm Coat 

Everyone needs to stay warm in the winter. A One Warm Coat drive is an easy and convenient way to help people in need in your community. Every fall and winter, our friends at One Warm Coat collect new and gently used coats to provide warmth for people in need. Many of our Girl Scouts take the lead on organizing collection drives every year. 

Inspirational Retail Items 

GSNorCal Service Fun Patches ($1.25): Whatever service project you choose, there’s a patch for it.  

One Warm Coat Patch ($0.99 – $1.00): Earn a new patch each year for participating in the One Warm Coat Drive.

Girl Scout Multi-Function Rosewood Knife ($20.00): Useful on a camping trip, outdoor service project, or work party, this pocket knife is handy for clearing away brush, cutting twine, carving marshmallow roasting sticks, opening food cans, and other tasks.  

Girl Scout Fabric ($12.95 – $69.95): This brand new Girl Scout pattern fabric comes in a variety of sizes and bundles, and is great for making pillows and blankets for shelters.  


For Future Girl Scouts

Do you come from a long line of Girl Scouts? Was Girl Scout camp part of your best summer ever as a kid? Maybe you don’t have a Girl Scout in the family, but you love talking to them about their dreams and goals when cookie season rolls around every February? Then consider including Girl Scouts in your holiday giving this year. When you donate to one of our fundraising campaigns, you are opening the door for girls who could not otherwise experience the extraordinary opportunities we provide. 

Opportunity Fund

When you give to the Opportunity Fund, you can help girls and troop leaders affected by the Northern California fires recover cherished Girl Scout items such as: badges and pins, sashes, vests, official uniforms, insignia, earned awards and handbooks. Additionally, your gift will provide financial aid for programs and camps for any girl that needs support. Through this campaign, our goal is to ensure there are enough funds available for any girl to have access to these financial resources to experience Girl Scouts. 

Be a Camp Champion! 

If you believe that going to camp is a valuable way to increase self-confidence, leadership skills, and a sense of accomplishment, please join us in providing the camp experience to girls who cannot afford it. Pay forward the transformative power of camp—even a small donation can make a huge difference! (Just designate Camp Champions when donating). 

What to do next:

  • Check out our  holiday collection for great outdoor items, apparel, ornaments, plush, and more! Keep in mind all of our stores and offices will be closed December 23, 2017 – January 1, 2018 for the winter holidays (but don’t worry—our online shop will be open 24/7). 
  • Carry the G.I.R.L. spirit through the new year with these tenacious Girl Scout tunes! 

Ashley Redfield—Ashley is the Digital Marketing and Social Media Coordinator for Girl Scouts of Northern California, where she’s constantly planning, creating, and managing awesome content for social media. After graduating from Mills College (a women’s college in Oakland), Ashley joined the Girl Scout movement where she loves being part of a team that helps girls unlock their potential and continuing that legacy of women’s leadership. She has spent much of her life exploring Northern California, especially the Bay Area, so when not behind a blue-lit screen, you’ll probably find her hiking through a local park or at a café planning her next road trip.