Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What a girl sees....

"Bus seats are like airplane seats, just fuzzier.  No really."  So starts the story I had asked my niece to write about her visit to Phoenix on March 12th. As you may recall, her troop was invited to participate in the State Capital recognition of Girl Scouting in Arizona.  So, she went,  "in one of those huge buses, like the kind that football teams use. You’d expect them to be a little comfier…"

My niece loves Girl Scouts!  And she loves new adventures!  So this trip to Phoenix from Tucson, on a weekday, to celebrate the Girl Scout 100th was right up her alley.  The girls arrived, and "my leader, Mrs. Brown, called us up to the stairs. I led my sister Girl Scouts (and fellow members of Troop 1852) up the stairs… and another flight… and another flight… pausing at the third level… going up to the fourth… until finally, Mrs. Brown gathered us ominously in front of two glass paned doors. “No talking once I open these doors” she ordered in a stage whisper. I waited tensely as she opened the door, half expecting to be thrust in front of a hoard of flashing cameras and jabbering spectators… gasping as I find myself...on the top story of a balcony composed of carpeted steps. No chairs, or tables, or anything."

" I wish I could report that the speeches made by the congresswomen and important Girl Scout leaders were illuminating and brilliant. In truth, they were sorta boring....the pinning ceremony, in and of itself, was actually pretty short. The girls went to their assigned congresswoman, gently pinned the World Trefoil pin onto their honorary Troop 1920 (chosen because women gained the right to vote in that year) that includes GS alumnae from all over the US."

Her group also went to the Senate building, where they sat in the Gallery and listened to, "the President of the Senate droning through roll call, and then giving permission to senators to introduce guests in the Gallery." The actual time for Scouts sounded like it was pretty short, and there was not a whole lot of fanfare.

"It was nothing like I expected.  Okay, maybe I had anticipated the heat, and the stiletto heels, but really, aside from that, it was completely surprising. Unexpected. Unanticipated. Unpredicted. Unforseen. Bewildering.

And I guess that’s why I’ll remember it."

I love this age girl, and how she looks at the world. And granted, I'm a bit biased about this one, since she's my niece!  I'm looking forward to hearing about how her troop takes a Journey, and how she/they select their Silver Award Take Action Projects.  And I'm pretty sure I'll ask her for another guest blog post in the future, but for next, time, I'm going to ask for 3 paragraphs, not 3 pages!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Where a girl goes

“It's not where you came from
it's where you're going;
It's not what's on you
but what's in you;
it's not what you're driving
it's what drives you that's important!”

I received this quote from Rick Ruiz, who sends his whole serv-list a quote of the day.  I don't know who said it, but I liked the sense of it.  And of course, it applies to our Cadette girls!
These middle school years are a time for our girls to explore who they want to become.  A time to reinvent themselves and become the person they want to be.  They are going to see more of the world and other people, and their particular situations.  

This is a time when they may decide to become vegetarians or only eat cruelty-free meat as a way to address the issue they are passionate about - the ethical treatment of animals. Or they may connect to a news story about a family without resources to the internet or English education, and that could spark an interest in literacy across an economic/social divide.

And this is a time when this age girl is soooo sure about what she says, and expresses her opinions as facts.  It could be giving lipservice to what she hears at home, or it could be in response to new information she's learning at school.  

These girls are reaching out beyond themselves and their family, in the process of finding out who they are and where they want to go.  Isn't it great that they have Girl Scouting and the safe environment that Girl Scouting provides?  And as advisors, don't we hope that the girl will be able to channel this into a great Silver Award Project, so that she can truly make a difference in the world?

It's an exciting time!  Thank you for all you do to support them, even if they don't say it now, they will!

Monday, March 12, 2012

100th year Anniversary

Happy 100th Anniversary Girl Scouting!

...and wishing you another 100 years....
for many, many more girls and women!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Arizona Girl ScoutTrooop 1852 recognition

 Commissioned Art Quilt from Jamie Fingal for my niece

"As some of you already know, on Saturday morning, the girls that were working the Basha’s cookie booth had a very special secret shopper arrive at their booth.  This shopper was none other than Debbie Rich, the CEO of Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona.  She was very impressed with the booth, the girls, and our hard work as a troop.  She donated $5 towards cookies for the troops and handed each of the 3 girls working a special patch and a rubber bracelet.  She then capped off her visit with an invitation for any/all of the girls in our troop that are interested to attend the Centennial Celebration with her at the AZ Capital building on Monday, March 12, 2012!!  This is quite an honor!!"  Shawn Brown, Cadette Troop Leader #1852, Tucson, Arizona

Okay, Aunt Ann's time to brag!!  My niece, Kim, is in a new Girl Scout troop, and it sounds like she is lovin' it!  My sister said that these Cadette girls are waaaay excited as they sell their cookies. They have made-up cookie songs they sing, and they practice good saleswomanship techniques to upsell and get the buyers excited.  The CEO from their council sure appreciated it!!

What a great thing for the CEO to do:  to take the time to secret shop and then reward the girls on the spot.  This fits in with what we're calling our "attitude of gratitude" that we want to promote within the council year round for all volunteers  and staffers and girls. I'm co-chairing the Adult Recognition Awards Committee with staffer Shellie Massick, and this CEO hit on the type of thank yous we're promoting: do it well, do it often and make it meaningful!  Don't wait til the Annual Adult Recognition event! Say thank you, great job, now!

(It sounds like Kim went to the Centennial Celebration in Phoenix on the 12th. What a great experience for her, and for all the other girls who attended as well.  As I'm writing this before the actual event, I'll have to follow up in another post about what really happened!)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I love Cadette Essentials Training

It's true, I love the Older Girl age group!  So I have a BIG thank you to all of you leaders who survived Daisys, Brownies and Juniors with your girls. You have worked with them, loved them, coddled them and brought them to where they are now:  ready to be a Cadette.

I had a really great training the other night with only 5 leaders.  It didn't feel much like teaching. It felt more like a good chat for 2 hours in uncomfortable chairs at the Program Center.  4 of the leaders are current Junior leaders, so they're looking forward to the next level, getting ready.  And one leader who just jumped back into Cadettes after a long hiatus, to help a troop that lost a leader. She doesn't even have a daughter or granddaughter in the troop. But she does have a big heart, and she's ready to be the no-nonsense leader/advisor that those girls sorely lack.

So it was the 6 of us.  Chatting.  And I have to say, we all learned some things from each other.  And we all walked away with new things to try, new ideas on how to give more to the girls to do, and more courage that it was going to work out well.  

How to handle cell phones at meetings?  Trainer Barb has my favorite answer:  cell phones get switched off and put in a basket as the girls walk in the door.  If one rings out loud, Barb will go over, and text back, "so sorry, at a GS meeting."  She won't read the incoming message, but she'll send an outgoing one. I love it!  So, a leader asked last night, "so, has she ever had to do that?" I don't really know!  And I was at a fundraising luncheon today with 499 other women. The chair of the event said that if she heard a cell phone go off, the cell phone owner would have to pay $100 to get her phone back!!!  I loved it!  Each was a good solution, age appropriate and direct!!

How to do even handed ledger accounting?  How much goes to the troop's general operating fund? Should we collect dues?  Sashes or vests for the new Cadettes? Should we buy handbooks for each girl?  How will we know when our girls are ready for their Silver Award Projects?  Can the girls raise extra funds?  Can the troop help fund the project? Can we really do a different troop government?

Great discussion and solutions.  Yes, I love Cadette training!!!  Hats off to all of you Cadette Advisors who are making a difference in middle-schooler's lives.  You are giving those girls the opportunity to grow, learn, make mistakes and discover who they are in the safe GS environment.  

Thank you!  We couldn't do it without you!!!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Take Action

"Never confuse movement with action."
Ernest Hemingway, American Author

I think ole' Ernie had it right!  We want our girls to learn how to Take Action.  We want them to learn how to find what needs fixing/help, and take the steps to make the change.

Just as we can postpone decisions or tasks by "looking busy", so can our girls.  And that's okay!  I hear leaders tell me on a regular basis that sometimes, all the girls want is busy-ness.  It's all about talking, nails and the Oscars.  It looks like they're taking some action, but really, it's just motion.

The Journeys are a good practice for learning how to Take Action. Each Journey has a Take Action Project, and each Journey asks the girl to do the planning and thinking ahead of time before the TAP.  What a great way to learn!  These projects can be on the Journey-lite side, and they can also be robust, on the pre-Silver side,  and make more of a difference.

Movement merely looks good.

Action makes a difference in the world.