Living her Girl Scout Dream!
Meet Bridget Petersen, an education ranger at Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah and a proud Girl Scout Alumna from our council!
Thanks to her experiences in Girl Scouts, Bridget is pursuing her dream of working outdoors! Every day she gets to see, first-hand , how the natural world brings so much joy not only to kids, but to everyone who visits the mountains and red rocks around her home in Moab, Utah. Bridget believes that experiencing the outdoors is a fundamental ingredient for living a content, healthy, and happy life.
“Getting people outside, especially kids, lets them see more of their environment than just a computer screen or video-games, Bridget says. The outdoors literally opens up their entire world.”
As a kid, Bridget was always interested in nature and animals. She would catch bugs and frogs and make them her temporary pets.
“Girl Scouts got me outdoors and into nature more than any other group or organization I was involved with,” Bridget says.
Bridget’s summer camp experience was love at first sight, and her first backpacking trip with Girl Scouts really opened her eyes to adventure and wilderness traveling.
Bridget’s first summer camp experience came in 2001 at Camp Prairie Schooner. This experience was a turning point for her. She immediately fell in love with summer camp. The atmosphere, the counselors, and the amazing opportunities to try new things, sing songs, make friends, and experience the outdoors turned camp into an awesome place that would be a huge part of her life for the next 11 years. Bridget went to summer camp again that next summer and each summer following. She progressively experienced more challenging programs through Girl Scouts, culminating with the “Pack Trek” adventure, a 10-day program backpacking on the Ozark Trail in southern Missouri learning wilderness travel skills.
The summer of 2008 was the start of Bridget’s camp leadership experience. After four summers working at our council camps, she went out to Shadow Rim Ranch in Payson, Arizona. In 2013, Bridget participated in a National Outdoor Leadership School course in Prince William Sound and Wrangell-St. Elias, Alaska. Through the course, she learned sea kayaking, advanced wilderness travel skills, and glacier mountaineering.
In December 2013 Bridget graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in Parks and Recreation Management and started an internship with Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah. This past summer, she was the trip leader for Trefoil Ranch in Provo, Utah. Today, Bridget is an education ranger at Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Her job is planning and implementing outdoor field science programs with local elementary school students in the parks and surrounding natural areas.
“When I became a counselor and started leading outdoor trips and activities of my own, I knew it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life, “Bridget says.
Camp allowed Bridget to be someone completely new from the person she was at home or at school. A truer, more pure person who loves herself and the world around her.
Bridget grew up in a family of eight, with a twin sister nonetheless. She constantly felt pressure to distinguish herself from my siblings. This affected how she behaved in school and at home; always competing, never happy with where she fit in.
Camp, however, was always her place. Bridget could relax and try new things where failure didn’t actually mean failure. She could improve because she wanted to, not because she felt pressured or inadequate. Bridget discovered that there is nothing more empowering than doing something purely because you want to. Through camp, and through learning outdoor skills, challenging herself became a form of leisure and joy and a career that she enjoys thoroughly.
Girl Scouts is the perfect way to get girls outside. Whether through badge work, summer camp, day camp, troop camping, or even leadership training, Girl Scouts has the ability to influence how girls experience the outdoors for the rest of their lives. After all, the roots of Girl Scouts are in the outdoors. 103 years later, Girl Scouts continues to be an excellent source of outdoor experiences and education.
Resident Camp registration is now open! Register your Girl Scout and give her an experience that has the power to impact her life forever!
We would like to spotlight more alumnae like Bridget in our Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout series. Do you know an inspiring alumna? Tell us her story! Send your idea to firstname.lastname@example.org.