Wider Opportunities, or Wider Ops as they are more commonly called, are merely excursions that take place outside the regular meeting place and time. They can be as simple as a trip to the park or as elaborate as a visit to the Juliette Low Birthplace or one of the Girl Scout World Centres. These are known as Troop Wider Opportunities. See the Trip Planning section of this site for more information on planning Troop Wider Opportunities.
When you ask Cadettes or Seniors about Wider Ops, they normally will think of Wider Ops with Nationanwide Participation. These are events run by sponsoring Girl Scout councils that are open to a specified number of participants from across the country and sometimes from around the world. Each year's events are listed in a publications called "Wider Ops" which is generally available in August as well as published online on the GSUSA Just for Girls Wider Op page. Participants submit a written application to their own Council for the event they wish to participate in. They are then interviewed by local staff or volunteers. Their application and Council recommendation are then forwarded to the council that is sponsoring the event. Applications are again reviewed and selections are made.
These events cover widespread topics from science and engineering to history and the arts. Several events each year include outdoor skills such as canoeing, biking, or backpacking. Skiing and other snow sports are offering during the winter. In addition to these events, GSUSA also often sponsors several events around the country such as its leadership seminars at the Girl Scout training facility in New York, the Edith Macy Conference Center. No matter what the topic, meeting Girl Scouts from across the country is always a high point.
Accommodation during these events are often local Girl Scout camps but can range from dormitories at local universitites to home hospitality where the girls stay with a host family for a portion of their stay.
In addition to the Wider Ops with Nationwide Participation, there are International Wider Opportunities that the girls can apply for. Many times these are at one of the four World Centres (Pax Lodge in London, Our Chalet in Switzerland, Our Cabana in Mexico, or Sangam in India). Girls must be at least 14 years old to participate and a special application must be filled out.
Before filling out applications for a Wider Op, girls can check out the hints listed on the GSUSA site. There is also an online application form to fill out and then print. Additional hints for filling out applications are as follows:
- On the essay portion of the application make sure that you list interests or skills that are related to the topic of the event. For example, if your event is going to Kentucky to learn about folk arts of the region and you have previously earned the Folk Arts Interest Project or Badge, that should be in your essay.
- Make yourself unique in some way and make sure you identify a reason other than it "being fun" for you to apply for the particular event.For example, if you come from a family of engineers, mention that for an event that deals with science and engineering. If you belong to an environmental club at school, mention that for an ecology event.
- Make sure that at least one of your references are from someone who knows about you in relation to the event topic. For example, a reference from your Girl Scout leader would be appropriate for a camping event, a history teacher would be approrpiate for an event studying the history of a certain area, and a coach would be an approrpiate reference for a sporting event.
- Provide one reference who knows you well enough to detail that you are capable of living away from home. If you have gone on an extended trip in the past, an adult supervisor for that trip would be an excellent choice as a reference.
- Ask references if they would be willing to write a short paragraph detailing your strengths in specified areas. If the reference form is merely presented to a person many times they will just fill out the form and not write anything. A written paragraph is a much more positive presentation.
Here are some hints to think about prior to the council interview.
- Arrive at the interview on time. Promptness (as well as tardiness) tells a lot about a person.
- Come to the interview in full uniform. If you do not own a uniform, borrow one. Most Wider Ops ask that you travel in uniform so you will need to have one anyway if you are chosen. Also, make sure that your uniform is worn correctly and that all insignia is placed properly (you can check out the publication "Girl Scout Uniforms, Insignia, and Recognitions" from your local Council)
- Think about your answers before you speak. Take a moment to form your answer in your head. That way your answer will be clearer and you will make a better impression.You will also eliminate unwanted "uh's" this way.
- Do some preliminary research about the event topic or the event location. This will give you a better idea of how to respond to certain questions
- There is generally a definite learning objective of each Wider Op in addition to providing fun things to do. Try to identify that objective prior to your interview and then, in your mind, relate your interests, strengths, etc. to that objective.
- When asked to relate why you chose a certain event, relating a career possibility, a favorite hobby, or actual topic experience are better responses than merely saying "because it sounded like fun". For example, for an event about the engineering and aerodynamics of roller coasters, the first response is better than the second even though both responses are true statements:
- I've always been interested in how things work and I have wondered when riding roller coasters in the past just made them work. This would be an opportunity to find out.
- I love roller coasters! I could ride them all day!
Relax! The interviewers are not there to scare or intimidate you. They are only trying to determine your readiness for your chosen Wider Op.
With your troop or group, practice interviewing each other and then critique each other's experience.
You might even ask parents or other adults to help you out with this as interviewers. This will make you feel more at ease in the actual interview.
To Leader's Landing
This page hosted by
Get your own Free Home Page