Friday, September 30, 2011


WOW! Last night there were 24 enthusiastic, excited Cadette leaders in the room for Cadette Essentials.  All but a couple were starting their first year of Cadettes with their 6th graders.  Most had completed at least one Journey at the Junior level.  Over half had girls who completed the Bronze Award.  All were looking forward to the Cadette Journey experience and the Silver Award process.

WOW, again!  What a difference from the first Cadette Essentials I taught, not that long ago, where no troop had taken a Journey, only a few troops had transitioned to the new requirements, and few troops were embracing the GSLE (Girl Scout Leadership Essentials) model.

NOW, the purposeful leadership, the letting it be girl led and the Journey leadership experience are part of everyone's lexicon! PLUS, everyone was ready for the new red Cadette Guide that has the new badges, all the awards for this age group, Silver Award requirements and other great GS information.  It's a shame that all these binders aren't available right this moment, but I don't think that's going to stop any of these leaders.  The suggestion was made to just start a Journey, and when the Girl Guides become readily available, start using them.  Yes!

We also talked about how they have THREE years of Cadettes. There is NO RUSH to get a Journey and a Silver Award done in the first 10 minutes!!!  Depending on age and maturity, it could take a good half to full year to get the girls up to speed with Cadette life.  New government structure, new ledger accounting (if they choose it), new LIA opportunities, new leadership role, etc.  Let the girls decide was the mantra for the training.  We leaders provide the structure and support to let this happen.

Of course, everyone knew that it wouldn't happen over night!  It's a process, and since this is Girl Scouts, I'd ask how to measure this?  I'm sure everyone would have said that the best measure would be when the leader sits in her chair in the back of the room, and watches the girls lead the meeting, make strong decisions and take the lead.

Truly, I am so proud of these leaders and wish them every success with their girls.  A big thank you to them for their enthusiasm and commitment. And thank you to all our volunteers who provide such great support for all our Cadette girls.  It just does my heart good!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cadette Leaders

Thank you for being Cadette leaders!  These girls are a challenge, that’s for sure!!!  And I mean that in a good way….

Most of you leaders have been working with these same girls for years now.  You’ve seen them grow from enthusiastic little Daisys into happy Juniors, and now you’re going to go to go through an even tougher transition.  To Cadettes and Middle School!

As you make the transition from Juniors to Cadettes, remember that this is when you turn ‘em loose!  You’ve led them through badges and Bronze Awards, and now YOU get to let them take their next big steps in taking control of their Girl Scout experience.  Not all at once, but piece by piece.  THEY get to plan the menus, timeline, activities, etc. for your next overnight. THEY get to check the Safety Checkpoints….even more so than in Juniors. By the time they’re 8th graders, they’ll be champs!

So, enjoy it!  You survived letting them plan in Juniors, a slow, painful process at the beginning.  Now reap the benefits!  Model new behaviors, but sit back and let them do it! This is also when it’s great to have a new troop government structure, so that the girls can work with their BFFs and also apart from them.  Where the girls have structured some social time as well as work time to get it all done!

It’s a time for them to try new ideas, to fail, to succeed and above all, to have fun and LEARN. To Discover, Connect and Take Action.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

LIA - Leadership in Action

“…to teach is to learn twice…”
I just saw this aphorism posted on the old Orco Block building off the 55 freeway.  There is surely some truth to the statement.
As a trainer, I am supposed to have a really good knowledge of the subject I’m to teach.  But I don’t know everything!  And I don’t really KNOW it until I’ve taught it several times.  To the content of what I teach, I add in the discussion information from each class, the great ideas and the failures.  So when I go to teach again, I am not only teaching the syllabus, but I am re-learning the information I’m teaching, adding in new tidbits as I learn them.  Teaching certainly reinforces what I’ve learned!
Isn’t that what the Leadership in Action (LIA) is all about?  We ask our Cadettes to identify a team of Brownies who are working on the same Leadership Journey.  Using the Breathe Journey as an example, the girls take some of what they’ve learned for Breathe (experiments, facts, fun crafts, etc.) and figure out how to teach it to the younger girls.  They learn it twice!  Once when it was new, and then again as they teach the Brownies. What great reinforcement!
And what a great way for these Cadette-aged girls to use their leadership skills!  These little Brownies LOVE the older girls!  The older girls are there only for them, paying attention, focusing their efforts and having successes. It’s a win-win situation!
I would be remiss if I didn’t say, don’t forget to reinforce this with the girls. Be sure to take the time after they’ve completed the LIA to talk about what the girls discovered about them selves, how they connected with the younger girls and how taking action makes a difference.  Be sure that they see the value of using what they’ve learned to help others… that they make the world a better place!  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Training at council

Saturday was my first Cadette Essentials Training in the daylight!  Council put together a day of training for all the levels. PLUS it was a day to pick up the new RED CADETTE GIRL GUIDEBOOK that I had pre-ordered.  It was great to have it for show-and-tell during the class.

We talked a little about how to use the great binder, and how important it is for each girl to have her own, and what she can do with it.  Why not put a copy of the Group Agreement in the front?  Barb suggested adding the packing list for overnights.  Another leader suggested including the yearly calendar that the girls would come up with at the start of the year.  Great ideas!  How else could the girls use these new Girl Guides?

There was quite a discussion about the new Silver Requirements.  One leader had stepped down from being an 01, and offered to be the Silver Advisor for girls in the troop. What a great idea!  Not all the girls will want to do a Silver Award Project, so she can help guide those who do.  What a great way for a leader to still participate in a meaningful way.

Karin Carlson and I were emailing about how important it is to get the girls started on the right foot for their Silver Awards Projects.  Don't start with the project, but start by using the Silver guide and identifying issues that the girl(s) are passionate about.  Have them do the research, and work through the great worksheets to identify a need in the community, reach out to others to help, and create a great Project that really does make the world a better place!

Starting with this experience, then moving on to a Senior Journey, really gets the girls ready for her GOLD!  But that's a different blog......

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Quote for the Day

I have a friend who sends me a quote every day in my in-box. Many of them resonate in some way with Girl Scouts and what we do as leaders.  As we move forward with this blog, you’ll see more quotes, and I hope you’ll share yours too.

Quote for the day:
“People never change.
They just become more of
who they really are.”

I liked this one for Cadettes.  These middle school years the girls are becoming more of who they will be.  They’re not set. Change and growth are possible and encouraged.

Perhaps they’re taking the Amuse Journey, where they explore the maze and navigate the twists and turns on their Journey.  It’s a great way for them to see how they value friendships, how they see others and how they view challenging behavior in themselves and others.  Working through these issues is going to help them define who they will be, and we all hope that they will become leaders in their own lives who learn to Discover, Connect and Take Action.

They’re still girls!  And while they already have a personality, they are still putting together the whole person they will become. 

And I think about my Mom.  She’s 82 this year, a former Girl Scout leader to me and both my sisters, and at the other end of the spectrum.  Truly, she’s still the same nice woman she was in my youth.  She just forgets more....

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Welcome to the Blog!

Welcome to the first post on my brand new blog! Still working out the kinks, mostly on my end, as I learn to use the widgets and great tools that Google has to offer. So here goes….

Being a Cadette Trainer has its ups and downs! There’s nothing like hearing “I did what you said, and it worked!” or “I used the idea that other woman was talking about, and my girls loved it! We’ll do it again!” And it warms my cockles to hear, “we like the training so much the first time, we came back to do it again and learn more!” Truly, I am more of a facilitator. I have a training format to follow, but the real blood and guts, in the trenches comments come from you leaders.

Most of you own a Cadette girl, and many of you are facing the same challenges with your daughter and her troop mates. They are a squirrely bunch of incoming 6th graders, 7th graders in a fog, and then 8th graders getting to know who they are a bit better. So social, and so about snack and chat in 6th grade. Most of them don’t have email accounts and phones, yet, but they will, and as a leader and troop, you’re all going to be working toward making the changes that come as these girls grow up.

And they’re going to change. They’ll get hair in funny places, body changes in shape and dimension, and their hormones will just be raging. School will be both fun, hard and boring. Those happy little chatty girls will change into monosyllabic responders. Yep, they’re a different kind of challenge, all right!!!!

So, in this blog, I’m hoping to provide a forum for questions and answers. Resource for info and a way for all of you to share info with one another. It’s my first try, and I hope it works!

It will also be a place for me to post info gleaned from training, any new program pieces that I hear about from council, and maybe even some fun photos of Cadette events. I’m hoping it will be fun and productive for all of us.

  -  Ann