Archive for the ‘Girl Scouts’ Category

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Journey that makes you say WOW!

March 19, 2015

WOW Journey - Brownies - Girl Scouts

By Kim Henry, Program Director

Calling all Brownie Leaders! Looking for a how-to guide to incorporate Journey’s into your troop year plan? You’ve found it! This post is all about at what Journeys are, how to make them fun for your girls, and different resources available to help you shine even brighter as a troop leader. Ready? Let’s go!

WHAT ARE JOURNEYS?

There are three Leadership Journeys that girls can choose from!

It’s Your World – Change It!

It’s Your Planet – Love It!

It’s Your Story – Tell It!

On every Leadership Journey, everything girls do – whether it’s performing science experiments, creating art projects, cooking simple meals or learning to protect the planet’s water supply – is aimed at giving them the benefits of Girl Scouting. In each Journey a girl discovers her special skills and talents, connects with others, and takes action to make the world a better place.

Journeys are a great way to incorporate fun and leadership skills for girls while also providing a framework and guide for leaders. One of the most common misconceptions I hear is how leaders feel they need to follow the leader guide word-for word. That, my friend, is far from true!

The leader guides are just that, a guide, which you can customize to fit the needs of you and your troop. What’s important about the Journeys is achieving the outcomes of each so girls discover, connect, and take action throughout the activities and experiences. As long as the girls are achieving the primary outcomes, you can choose your own path on how to get there.

HOW DO I USE JOURNEYS?

We’re so glad you asked! Here we’ll walk you through some simple steps to get started. Let’s use our Wonders of Water (WOW) Journey as an example.

First, let’s find out what the outcomes are for this journey. Looking through the WOW Journey, you’ll see an entire page dedicated to the outcomes girls should achieve as they work on and earn leadership awards along the way. (We recommend opening this page while reading the rest of this post to help guide you along the way!)

Using the example above, let’s focus on the Love Water Award (the first leadership award within the Journey). The outcomes for this award are:

  1. Girls can show two things they know and love about water.
  2. Girls make and carry out one personal promise to protect water.

Now that we know the outcomes, we can begin to think about how our troop/girls might go about achieving these goals. So, where do we start? Well, what are your troops interests? Do your girls enjoy hands-on activities? Or perhaps they love going on day trips? Involving your troop in answering these questions keeps it girl-led and helps them identify and pursue their passions!

Great – you’ve got some insight into what inspires your girls and get them excited – now it’s time to utilize your resources!

  1. Volunteer Toolkit: Brownie Troop Leaders have access to our handy online Volunteer Toolkit (VTK). The VTK offers lots of troop meeting plans (similar to the sessions outlined in the Journey books) giving you great ideas to help achieve the outcomes listed above. New to the VTK? Use our online video tutorials to learn about all the great functionality, meeting plans, and resources! You can login into the VTK here.

  2. Pinterest: Another great resources that our leaders and staff love is Pinterest! Here’s a fun activity I found and don’t forget to look at our council Pinterest boards – there are tons of great resources and information just for Brownies!

  3. Experienced Leaders: I bet you also didn’t know that you have another AMAZING resource right in your backyard — other leaders!! Experienced leaders are your most valuable resource as they have tons of ideas and resources to help! There’s lots of ways to connect with other leaders including contacting your Service Area Unit for recommendations, participating in our troop mentor program (where we will match you up with an experienced leader!) or joining our Troop Leaders Facebook Group. You can also email us any time with questions at JourneyHelp@nccoastalpines.org.

Lastly, Journey’s don’t need to take all year. You can finish a Journey in a few sessions or meetings. To help you get started on your first award, here is an outline that I have used for my Jump Into Journeys: WOW! Program. I used activities from the leaders guide, Pinterest, and more. I customized it for a group of 20-30 girls to complete in two hours – and it was a total blast!

Remember – Journeys are all about the experience! Your girls will feel so accomplished as they make their way through the leadership awards and learn a whole lot along the way!

Do you have resources you’ve used to customize or plan Journeys? Share them in the comments below!

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Keep Calm and Girl Scout On

March 10, 2015

By Catherine Locke, Volunteer and Former Board Member of USA Girl Scouts Overseas

Special thanks to Kathleen Fitzsimmons and Ruth Miller for the great pictures.

Special thanks to Kathleen Fitzsimmons and Ruth Miller for the great pictures.

Anytime a family decides to move it is tough– everyone is forced to give up things that are familiar and safe for the unknown. The unknown can include a new job, a new town, a new neighborhood, a new house, a new room, new friends, a new school and so on.

Toss in a move overseas to a foreign country, and now you have something many of our Girl Scout families in the military are faced with! With a move to a foreign country there are additional challenges to overcome: new language, new customs, and a new culture. The best thing you can do is “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

The phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On” was part of a propaganda campaign intended to be used during WWII by the British government. People in major cities were being threatened by massive attacks. The campaign was designed to increase morale, strengthen their faith and bring out the best in people.

“Keep Calm and Carry On” is now very common saying and as ubiquitous as the smiley face. And why not? It is a very catchy and positive phrase. It reminds us to remain steadfast in our lives and goals. To be strong. To do our best in the face of adversity. In essence, to be a Girl Scout!

Whether she is a daisy just starting her Girl Scout career, a girl with years of Girl Scouting on her sash, a leader who has come full-circle, or even a board-member who had just reconnected with the organization, it is possible to “Keep Calm and Girl Scout On” almost anywhere in the world.

In over 90 countries around the globe, girls can find troops to continue “carrying on” with Girl Scouting in ways that are familiar through USA Girl Scouts Overseas. Girl Scouts teaches girls how to survive, be strong and to lead. To see every challenge through the lens of optimism and hope. To turn the unknown into endless opportunities.

Endless opportunities abound for expatriate Girl Scouts. Yes, they participate in activities, just like their US counterparts. But camp is held in the Swiss Alps. Hiking is in the Welsh countryside. Her first cooking lesson may be in Japan. A Girl Scout troop may have the privilege of participating in the 60th Anniversary of DDay ceremony in Normandy, France. They may host World Thinking Day at a palace in Singapore.

Moving has its ups and downs. And USA Girl Scouts Overseas can provide some stability – and opportunities – during these tough transitions. And with a positive attitude and the ability to “Keep Calm and Girl Scout On” the transition is not only doable and but also life changing.

Catherine Locke recently relocated to the Raleigh area from England where she lived with her husband and son for the last 3 years. Catherine has served on the Executive Board of Director for Girl Scouts for the Sahauro Girl Scouts in Tucson Arizona as well as the USA Girl Scouts North Atlantic Overseas Councils. Professionally she has worked in marketing and public relations for the government, telecommunications, tourism and the retail industries. Welcome to North Carolina, Catherine!

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