Girl Scouts launch wellness programs


This month, many of us are on a post-winter health binge, delighting in mild temperatures with outdoor activities and enjoying the local seasonal produce. The very sight of green in our yards and vitamin D from the sun are just a couple all-natural health benefits that come with springtime.

While most people hear “Girl Scouts” and think cookies (and the calories that come along with those cookies), the organization’s programming is more vast than what’s inside the box. Health and wellness is one of Girl Scouts’ priority focus areas, and from badges to camp activities to community wellness events, girls have numerous options for getting in shape and making healthy choices.

Still, more than ever, children are heading indoors for play and entertainment, with an average of nearly five hours of television daily. This decreased exposure to the outdoors can result in depression, obesity and even attention disorders.

For these reasons alone, Girl Scout camp is a fantastic opportunity for girls to get some fresh air and exercise, and to make real, lasting face-to-face relationships with other girls without the distraction of electronics.

Taking it a step further, local Girl Scout camps are launching a new initiative this summer called Healthy Hikers, which encourages girls to adopt a healthy diet and get more physical activity by navigating the waters and trails at camp, then take these healthy habits back home with them at the end of the week.

Additionally, Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes is hosting the second annual Thin Mint Sprint in Eau Claire and is partnering with the Bellin Run in Green Bay, both held June 14. These events bring our community together for a celebration of wellness, and to support local leadership programming for girls. The Thin Mint Sprint is a 5K, which also features a half-mile Shortbread Shuffle race for kids, and the Bellin Run has grown to become one of the largest 10K races in the nation.

“As an organization for girls, it’s our responsibility to provide fun, healthy opportunities for our members and the greater community,” said Gail McNutt, CEO of Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes. “Wellness is a big part of the Girl Scout experience; we want all of our girls to be confident, happy and healthy.”

While Girl Scouts always will be known for their cookies, they are coming to be known as “tough cookies,” growing strong in their well-being, confidence and leadership. To learn more about Girl Scouts and upcoming wellness programs, visit

Jess Radke is the copy writer at Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes Inc., a United Way partner program. She can be contacted at 888-747-6945, ext. 5515, or email