Heading back to school in the fall can always be nerve-racking for kids, especially young girls. There is pressure on what to wear, how to do your hair, who your friends are, and everything in between. Why not re-kindle some friendships and plan a get-together before school starts in August? Ending the summer with a daring, girls-can-do-anything type of adventure can start the school year off with a bang.
1. Rock Climbing: The extreme sport of rock climbing is growing in popularity every day. Plan a day out at a local rock climbing gym. It's easy, even for those with zero experience. Instructors are on hand to teach everyone the proper technique and to help them belay. There are also many state-sponsored programs in the state parks that teach children and adults how to rock climb outdoors -- on real rocks. Whether you get to the top or just a few feet off the ground, nothing boosts a girl's confidence more than knowing they accomplished something so fierce.
2. Ziplines: While many playgrounds have a zipline feature incorporated into the design, the type of zipline referred to here is much more intense and not for the faint of heart. Zipline companies help you fly over the treetops in an exciting -- and fast -- race to the other end. If you want your group of girls to feel like they can conquer the world, this would do the trick. In fact, many zipline operators have special scout troop programs designed to boost confidence and trust.
3. Go Karts: It is not just boys that feel the need for speed. An all-girl go kart outing may be just the thing your group needs to bond and re-connect before school. Let them experience the exhilaration of the wind in their face while competing with friends to go faster and faster. Let them channel their inner Danica Patrick.
4. Skydiving: While you wouldn't -- and can't -- take children skydiving, there are several places around the country that give you the sensation of skydiving in the controlled environment of a wind tunnel with a certified instructor. Can you think of a better way to instill a feeling of 'I-can-do-anything' than skydiving?
5. Behind-the-Scenes Tour: Anyone can go to the zoo. While it's a fun afternoon, the real excitement begins with a behind-the-scenes tour. Most zoos have special programs that allow you to go behind closed doors and experience the zoo the same way the zoologists do. You can prep food for animals, get some great photo ops, and learn a lot. If zoos aren't your speed, many facilities from museums to aquariums have similar programs, if you know to ask.
6. Spelunking: Exploring underground terrains can be scary, yet fun. Spelunking, also known as caving, is another fabulous outing to plan with a group of young girls. Whether you go with an experienced tour guide or just head out on your own, caving will definitely add a bit of adventure to the end of their summer.
7. Kayaking: Let the girls take the wheel, or in this case the paddle. Kayaking is a great way to get out on the water in your very own vessel as young as eight years old. Let them feel the independence of it all. Whether you head out on a calm lake or a raging river, kayaking can make a girl feel powerful.
Letting a girl take physical risks with adventure sports is a great way to help her feel powerful and including her friends helps them forge a stronger bond before the social pressures of school start again.