By Christine Posey, Director of Girl Leadership Experience
I just did the math. This past Girl Scout year, there were over 170 Badgerland programs and over 200 activities sponsored by our Program Partners. Wow! That’s a lot of stuff for our girls to do. Beyond that, Girl Scouts are out there doing service and Take Action projects, earning Journey awards and badges, and taking trips regionally, nationally and internationally. It’s amazing! There are adventures to be had around every Girl Scout corner.
With July winding down, we’re not too far from the start of the school year and thinking about what the next Girl Scout year looks like for your girls. Here are a few things to help create a memorable Girl Scout year.
1) Follow the Girls’ Lead: Let them Plan
Most leaders like to map out their entire Girl Scout year, including service projects, before things kick-off in the fall. Before you plan though, make sure to sit down with your troop and take the opportunity to follow their lead. Let them choose what programs to attend or what service projects to focus on. Encourage your Daisies and Brownies to share their ideas with you. Even if their notions are unrealistic, it lets you know what the girls are interested in. I remember a group of Daisies who wanted to go to Sea World and Paris. They ended up visiting the Shedd Aquarium and had a blast.
As the girls get older, let them become a part of, and start planning, activities and meetings themselves. This is where girls begin to learn about what is and isn’t a realistic goal. Girl Scouts isn’t just about going and doing. It’s also about the girls learning practical skills they can use as they grow and face challenges in their lives. The girls won’t always be successful in their plans, and it’s important for them to learn how to deal with those outcomes with the support of great leaders and involved parents.
2) We’ve Got You Covered! Use These Resources
Looking for some fun troop activities? Check out the Activities calendar or list, the PathFinder and the camp book, all on our website, to see what we have planned. You can also search for programs through your Volunteer Toolkit (VTK). Coming up this fall, over 150 Program Partner opportunities are available and tons more Badgerland programs including STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), the outdoors, camping, cookie kickoffs and more! We’re also introducing two new STEM patch programs; Girl Scout Makers, with 5 progressive patch programs and MAD 4 Science, which is all about citizen science (like crowd sourcing science research).
Many Girl Scout Leaders spend lots of time researching various blogs and Pinterest boards for activities. For Daisy, Brownie and Junior co-leaders, we’ve got two whole years of meetings pre-planned for you in VTK-and they’re customizable! Talk about easy. If you need some help getting started with VTK, check out our training video.
3) Keep it Simple and You’ll All Have More Fun
Remember, what’s new and exciting for Daisies and Brownies may be something that we, as adults, or the girls’ older siblings, have done hundreds of times. Don’t be intimidated by doing something low-tech such as playing Hot Potato or Musical Chairs. It’ll be the hit of the day. You’ll find that sometimes, even the older girls want to be silly and play those games as well. As adults, we often forget that kids still love the things that we did as kids. Keep it simple and straightforward at each level, adding a little to your activities each time. This lets the girls be excited for the next thing they get to do!
A final thought – if you don’t already, plan to attend the Girl Scout Leader meetings in your community. This is where all the grown-ups get together and share ideas and gab and have a great time supporting each other. Even if you can only make it once in a while, this is a great place to connect with other leaders. Go, get energized and get inspired! It’s a great club to belong to.