gs troop 40234 twin lightsPHOTO:  Troop 40234 from Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey take in the view of Sandy Hook Bay from Twin Lights Historic Site in Highlands. The site was one of 34 state parks that participated in Girl Scouts Love State Parks weekend, July 13-14.

FARMINGDALE, NJ - Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore joined thousands of Girls Scouts across New Jersey and the United States this weekend exploring the great outdoors as part of the first ever nationwide ‘Girl Scouts Love State Parks’ initiative.

From kayaking the waters off Sandy Hook at Leonardo State Marina to climbing the steps of a lighthouse at Twin Lights Historic Site in Highlands, nearly 1,000 Girl Scouts and their families experienced the beauty and history of 34 New Jersey state parks on July 13 and 14.

“Girl Scouts Love State Parks weekend was aimed at getting more girls and their families outside to experience the outdoors, an integral part of Girls Scouts’ all-girl leadership program,” said Eileen Higgins,” chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore, one of four Girl Scout Councils in New Jersey.

The legacy of Girl Scouts and the outdoors is profound, Higgins noted. Studies show that 71 percent of girl members ages 8–14 tried their first outdoor activity through the organization and half would not have had access to outdoor activities and programming if not for Girl Scouts.

gs troop 40234 twin lights topPHOTO:  Troop 40234 from Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey learn what it’s like to be a lighthouse keeper at Twin Lights Historic Site in Highlands. The site was one of 34 state parks that participated in Girl Scouts Love State Parks weekend, July 13-14.

The organization’s focus on environmental conservation, camping, and outdoor science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programming is rooted in a passion for adventure and healthy risk-taking combined with taking action to protect the environment for present and future generations, Higgins said.

The outdoor initiative was developed in collaboration with the National Association of State Park Directors and plans are already underway for the next Girls Scouts Love State Parks program, tentatively in September 2020.

“It was a wonderful opportunity for our girls to unplug from cell phones and technology and connect with their families and friends in our beautiful state parks,” Higgins said.

For information on becoming a member of Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore, visit www.jerseyshoregirlscouts.org or call  (800) 785-2090.