Polar Explorer Role Models on Success

Written by Jane Brooks

When Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft set out to become the first women to ski across Antarctica, kids from around the world tracked their expedition.

Teaching Your Child Self-Esteem
Girl Scout patches are earned for special projects, frequently related to contemporary issues.

To earn the Antarctica Expedition Patch, a Scout must have completed all the activities in six of nine subject areas, including:

  • nutrition
  • clothing
  • technology
  • first-aid
  • mental fitness
  • physical fitness
  • geography
  • goal setting.

    The journey was exciting for young girls, who watched as the polar explorers plunged themselves into a field formerly dominated by men.  The women traveled across 2,400 miles of ice and snow, pulling sleds that weighed more than 250 pounds each and faced wind gusts of up to 100 mph.

    Independent and physically and emotionally strong, Bancroft and Arnesen represented the changing face of female role models. Nowhere is that paradigm shift more evident than in the uniquely female organization, the Girl Scouts of the USA.
    While cookie sales are still a primary focus, today's Scouts can earn badges in car care, computer skills and architecture.

    The scouts teamed up with the Antarctic mission to offer a Girl Scouts/Bancroft Arnesen Expedition Patch, which incorporated everything from learning cold weather survival to meal planning.

    Dee Ebersole, sports and fitness consultant for the Girl Scouts and designer of the patch project, saw the expedition as an opportunity to highlight women who are risk takers.

    "We feel that girls need inspiration to step outside the box, to be empowered to be capable beings and to take charge of their lives," Ebersole says. "Outdoor adventure, like this expedition, fosters those things."

    For the explorers, knowing that the girls followed their trek was immensely inspirational. Liv Arnesen said the Girl Scouts motivated her in a variety of ways,  "Number one, to communicate, and number two, just to push my ski one step further on those days when I didn't want to."

    Bancroft and Arnesen, both dedicated educators, supplemented the Girl Scouts' patch project with satellite phone calls, e-mails and online diary entries.

    So if the mention of Girl Scouts makes your mouth water for thin mints and samoas, pull your head out of the cookie jar and take a fresh look. These days, there's a good chance your local scouts are out there learning a lot more than selling cookies. 

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