Sunday, June 24, 2012

Breathing along the Journey Pathway....

Pretty excited about this afternoon!

First day of our Cadette Journey Breathe Series.  Anne Rizzacasa and I have been talking about, planning for, and readying pieces for this Journey since January....and NOW it's here!

We had our first planning meeting with the girls last Sunday.  Not quite the input I'd hoped for, but a start!  This meeting will really get us started and focused on what the girls want to do.

I hope!  And I hope that their non-posting on our Breathe website is NOT an indicator of apathy or lack of interest!  (You can see what we have started, here:
I hope that it's just the start of something new, and the girls will just need some encouragement to get themselves motivated to do some work for the Journey.  I hope they don't expect us to deliver it all to them, by the spoonful.  I hope we really do get the girl leadership to deveop so that the girls will lead their Journey.

It seems a lot to hope for!  But I know they can do it!!!  And we can all do it together. Yes, I'm the optimist!  We'll be doing many of the things I talk about in training:  ice breakers, people bingo (thank you Chris Grisey from PA Training), kooshball name games, breaking into work groups, then changing the work groups, snack and craft, name badges, girl reports back about the women leaders featured in the Journey book, planning the overnight and field trip out to Palm Springs. 

Yes we have PLENTY to do!  I'll keep you posted on how it all goes.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cadette-Junior Blended Troops

Great training this week!  A small group of 3 leaders came for a GSLE non-level specific training in Irvine.  I'd met all 3 at various trainings, but it was Laura's comments from the last Cadette Essentials that really framed the session.

Laura is a brand new leader of a Cadette-Junior troop.  WOW!  She dove in with both feet at her daughter's K-12 school to create the first Girl Scout Troop ever.  Her recruitment was at the end of the school year, a bit unusual, but certainly workable!  Laura said that her challenge is how to make sure that these girls all have a great level-appropriate experience.

She emailed me this question ahead of time, so I had time to garner some great information from staff, leaders and other trainers.  Yep, I was prepared!  Turns out, so were the other participants!  All 4 of us shared ideas and strategies on how to make this work!  

Shellie Massick, Volunteer Development Manager, started the conversation off:  "In one word:  delegate!  In two words:  get help!"  

Susan Monk, SUM and Senior Troop Advisor added to be specific in what you ask the parents to do!  At the parent meeting, be very clear that you need:  a Silver Award Advisor, a Bronze Advisor, a Troop Camping parent, Cookie Mom, Junior Journey leader, Cadette Journey leader, etc.  

Barb Christenson, former SUM and Senior Troop Advisor said to be sure to have the Juniors meet in one room, and the Cadettes in another.  The younger girls may be all about the fun and noise, while the older girls have planning to do for the troop activities.  "Be sure that the Cadettes have opportunities to work with other Cadettes in the SU, or better yet, with Seniors and Ambassadors." You don't want the older girls to always feel that they are "stuck in the role as the ones training the younger girls. Conversely, the younger girls will also be stuck in the role as the ones being led/trained by the older girls in the troop, they will never be the experienced ones." "The leader needs to find opportunities for them to lead other girls." Maybe a Daisy troop?  Maybe other Juniors?

Barb also suggested that the leader "look into customizing the Journeys for the girls. The Juniors could have a lock-in weekend and the Cadettes could do a "spa" weekend to earn parts of their respective Journeys.  By not relying on the Journey to be the sole topic of the troop's meetings for the year, it is easier for the girls to do things together, regardless of the levels."

Teresa Beach, troop advisor, said she has great success with her multi-level troop by having the openings and closings with ALL the girls, then breaking them out to different rooms to do the business of their levels.  We talked about this at our training as well:  make each level feel special and maintain the girl-led leadership at each level.

One of the women in our Cadette Essentials training said she broke it up even further.  Two meetings a month as a troop, then one meeting a month for the Journeys, and another meeting a month for the girls working on awards.  She got a round of applause from the group!

Thank you to all for their input, and I hope that Laura and her girls will create a fabulous troop where everyone has fun, everyone has a chance to learn how to lead and work cooperatively with each other as they have a GREAT time in Girl Scouts.  I'm looking forward to seeing Laura and her girls at the OC Fair, Junior Jam, Cadette-o-Rama and everything else a girl can do in this council. And beyond.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Life is Made of Moments

“Life isn't a matter of milestones,
but of moments.”
                        - Rose Kennedy

I'm liking this for a Friday morning.  With all the graduations going on, it's almost like we're seeing our girls in snapshots.  Those little Daisies are now Brownies, click.  That Cadette who made it through 7th grade "fog" is now a happy Senior, applying for her first destinations. That former Gold Award Recipient just graduated from UCLA, click.  (Jen Fingal, this is a shout-out to you!  Congratulations!!)

And while these are milestones, okay so UCLA is a big one, we see them as moments. Time standing still.  That bridging moment is going to be added to that first Daisy uniform moment, which will be added to all the other wonderful moments that our girls have in Scouting.
It's these instants that we record on our highly efficient digital equipment for posterity. But they are snapshots in time that are engraved on our hearts, in all their Girl Scout glory! Rose Kennedy had it right:  it's the day-to-day, non-earthshattering moments that make up our full lives.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cadette Essentials Training

Fun training the other night!  We had a small group of Junior leaders who are getting ready for their first year of Cadettes, and they were all excited about the opportunities offered to their newly bridged girls.

It was fun to talk about ALL the things a Cadette CAN DO!  And while some Junior leaders had already turned over much of the leadership to the girls, for some of these Cadette leaders, I think it was a new and scary thing to contemplate.  But they admitted, they were ready to come into the light and embrace this GIRL LED program.  As I said, a good night for training!!!

What can a Cadette girl do?
Earn her LIA - in all 3 Journey books.  Even if the troop isn't taking the Journey!

Participate as a girl-leader in Junior Jam. 

Be a leader in a Day Camp.

Go on a destinations adventure as a single girl, or as part of the troop.

Participate in Cadette-O-Rama.

Plan a BIG DREAM trip with her troop for their Senior year.  (Just in case they hadn't done it before!)  And plan how to achieve that goal in the next 6+ years.

Plan all her own meetings, camp-outs, trips, etc.  (New for some, already in place for others!)

Plan her troop's Journey using the Cadette Girl Guide AND the Journey books.

Earn the PA (Program Aide) pin.

Create a troop shirt to solidify their troop identity.  Without anything actually saying they're in Girl Scouts, of course!  Choose a new troop crest to go along with the new identity. Or not.

Ledger Accounting of cookie money.  A big one for many!!!  Girls learn to take responsibility for their own money. Maybe earn the level badges that go with it?  Maybe serve as the troop treasurer and write the checks, balance the check book and report monthly on the troop financials. With adult supervision and adult signatures on the check!

New system of troop government. Choosing one? Or using multiples for different needs.

Learn just how much FUN Girl Scouting can be!  They are certainly on their own person Journey in Scouting.  We're here to support that, to be sure!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Use what you GOT!

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
--Theodore Roosevelt,
26th U.S. president

I like this, today!  We want our Silver Award girls to Take Action, using the tools they have gained through their Journeys, badgework, troops and all the levels. These are the tools that they need to use - what they have within.  Then the girls need to reach out to lead a team that brings event more support.

She needs to do this to the best of her ability.  This should be a stretch, not a walk in the park.  We're asking the girl to look within herself and use the tools to make a difference in her local community.

Not just collecting doggie blankets and neo-natal caps, but using the leadership skills that she has garnered in her GS tenure to make a measurable and sustainable difference. Now, does she need to ensure sustainability?  No, but she needs to be able to talk about how it could be sustainable.  What if her project was about the importance of spaying/neutering of all pets?  What if the information program she put together happened in ALL cities in Orange County?  California?  The U.S.?

Our girls are capable of more than service projects!  And the Take Action Projects that go with all three of the awards are meant to stretch the girl, and let her use what she has to make the world a better place.  We need to support these efforts, and push our girls, in the best possible way, of course, to achieve her goals.

Where she is.  Today.