Monday, April 30, 2012

Cadette Essentials Training

Okay, it's true, I LOVE training!  I love delivering it, and I love receiving it!!!

Being an adult trainer is it's own LIA opportunity, just for adults! It's a chance for me to use the leadership tools and knowledge  that I've developed over these many years, as well as to talk about Scouting which is near and dear to my heart.  

But as much as I like standing in front of the class, delivering the message, I think the most fun really comes from hearing the leaders in the room talk with each other.  We had a great session the other night with a small group of 7 leaders for Cadette Essentials.  One woman was a brand new leader! First time ever, and she'll be taking over the bridging Juniors as they become first year Cadettes.  I applaud her, and so did everyone in the class. 

She had great questions, some of which were better directed to the more experienced leaders, and they all chimed in.  Each of those leaders had gems of wisdom to share with her and with each other.  A couple questions really took me aback, as I was a bit appalled at some abysmal behavior of parents and leaders that was being told.  But every leader was nodding in agreement, offering their support and potential solutions. Each of them had a sense of fairness that they shared.  No one was thrown under a bus!

And each of them was looking forward to more Girl-Led experiences with the Cadettes.  No more "birthday party" meetings!  These leaders are ready to move the meeting place, create a group agreement at their first meeting, let the girls vote on whether they want ledger accounting, offer a new form of troop government, and encourage the girls to take advantage of the many opportunities they now have as Cadettes.  Their girls are going to have a GREAT Cadette experience, because they are going to lead their own experience.

Hats off to all you leaders who work so hard to make the experience as robust and fulfilling for the girls as possible!  You rock!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

PA Training is fun

PA Training is fun! Gee (Chris Grisey) has been delivering this training for many years along with a dedicated team of girl and adult volunteers. I am so happy to have a part in it this year!

We had our first session a couple weeks ago, and the 20 girls came ready to learn, make new friends, work together and have fun.

The training really works well and shakes up the day. There is some sitting at the table, taking notes and participating in a group discussion, but there's also a really strong interactive component that keeps the girls moving.  Plenty of different group participation.

One of the things we talk about in Cadette Essentials training is how important it is to let the girls who are in a troop/group with their BFF have time with her at the meetings. But at the same time, for the working part of the meeting, it's best to shake it up and not always pair up the BFFs.  That's something that Gee really takes to heart in the training:  girls have a chance to work with every girl during the day.  Sometimes with a simple count-off, and sometimes by type of name tag, or favorite color.  All the girls worked cooperatively.

They also received their own binder of information to keep, along with handouts and notes that they could add.  Personal expression was encouraged, and those crayola markers got a work out!  Each girl was able to personalize her own experience.

The only part that felt a little flat to me, was the GSLE piece.  It was my job to deliver that, and I didn't connect with the girls about it!  At all!  Very frustrating!  We moved on, but it's been bugging me that this very key element of the Girl Scout program didn't resonate with the girls.  I'm still working out how to address it better for next time.

These girls are a product of GSLE!  And by taking PA training, they truly are stepping up to the leadership part of their journey, by leading younger girls in Day Camp.  We're training these girls to be leaders, so key!  But when I talked about it, and handed out the outcomes page, it just died.

If your girls are coming to the next PA Training sessions, rest assured, they will have a GREAT time, a wonderful experience, and they will learn somethings.  They will also have a better connection to the GSLE Outcomes page, or my name isn't Sneetch!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why is Girl Planning sometimes SO HARD?

It sure seems easy, when I say in training, "let the girl lead" or "let the girl decide".  In actuality, I bet many of you want to throw tomatoes at me, since it's not always easy to let the girl do it.

I think about how easy it is for me to make an agenda, create a list, organize my thoughts and then do the follow thru.  Well, it had better be! Partly because I've had many, many years of practice, but also because I do it for a living!!!

I know, middle school girls CAN plan, and they CAN make good choices, and they CAN take the lead.  We adults just have to let them, and facilitate their learning how to do it. In the meantime, make sure we maintain a safe environment for the girl, in case she fails.  Support her, even when "we know" it's not a good plan/decision, and reward her for her successes.

I think that's why I'm liking the Breathe Journey that Rizzy and I are, okay I"ll say it, planning for the summer.  We are working to create a Breathe Journey series, and we are doing our best to have girl-planned pieces.  To that end, we have a pre-Journey meeting for girls to attend if they want to help plan. Not required, not a cost, just an opportunity to come in ahead of time and help plan their Journey.

We have also put together some opportunities for the girls to choose from, so that they can pick a topic from the Journey book, prepare at home with some parental help, and then come back and lead on their date.  We are providing a framework, and we're truly hoping that these girls step up and take their leadership piece seriously.

Guess we'll find out.... we're going to let them lead, even if it kills me!  
A facilitator I will be! A leader, the girl will be! (Sounds like a song....)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Breathe Journey

We invite Cadettes to join us on our Breathe Journey this summer!  We've had fun getting it started, and now we're looking for girl input on June 17th, to fill in the days. There's already a field trip planned out to the Wind Turbine Farm in Palm Springs, and we'll have one meeting at Cal State Fullerton in a classroom and at the Arboretum.  We've done other long terms planning to get all our approvals and adults lined up, but we're truly hoping for girl input, too.

If you are interested in helping, we welcome the help!  Just let us know what you want to do, and when you can do it, and we'll see how we can make it work. 

You can reply on this blog OR to my account.  We'll also be checking the website for comments as well.  It's still under construction, but you should be able to get to the pages we have posted.