Monday, August 20, 2012

The Dog Days are Over....thanks Florence!

Yep, the end of August is fast approaching...some schools have already started back up:  football practices and back-to-school shopping are all the rage!

It also means that Girl Scout troops who may have taken a hiatus for the summer are revving back up, and readying for  their parent meeting.  What a great opportunity to have old and new parents meet each other, offer to help, and take a piece of the work during the year.  Write checks for the Family Giving Campaign.  Give a big thank you to the leader for all her work in helping give the girls a great Scouting experience.  And in general, be supportive and caring.

Okay, so you're all laughing or snickering right now, wondering in what parallel universe I come from!

But I can hope!  I can hope that the parents have seen the benefits of Scouting for their daughters.  And I can hope that the girls/the troop has been really great about communicating the successes they've had in the troop.  Did you have a scribe per month?  And did she write about what the troop did/learned?  Did you email it to the parents?  That's one way to get the word out.  Did you invite the parents to your end of the year bridging/awards ceremonies to see the great work ALL the girls did? Was it a girl planned event, so that the girls used their leadership to put together something meaningful?

Are your girls planning a re-dedication ceremony to kick off the fall? It's a great way to come back together and re-commit to the values and sisterhood of Girl Scouting.  Your girls can plan it!  Maybe a Mom can help advise them.  Maybe your girls are planning it for all the Cadettes in your association?  Maybe there's some entertainment to help draw the crowd. The more success stories and girl-led program we adults see, the more we see how GREAT Girl Scouting is for our girls. Shameless promotion with a great end:  building girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place!

Have fun!

Friday, August 17, 2012

BREATHE at the August Kick-off

It's a Girl Scout weekend, to be sure!  Sunday is the end of our Breathe Journey series, and I'm very sad that it may be the last time I see some of these girls!  We had a GREAT group of 11 who earned their AWARE, have almost completed ALERT, and who will have another month to complete AFFIRM on their own.  I'm hoping we can schedule a celebratory meeting in September or October, so that they can share their successes with us and each other. 

And Saturday is the August Kick-off!  I'll be co-teaching a class with Susan Monk about Award Recognitions and the Attitude of Gratitude that we are hoping will permeate our council.  It should be a really good session, especially since we have plenty of time for feedback from our class members.  If you are not able to attend, you can see our Matrix of Thanks and a summary of our class on line.  I think Shellie said it should be up on the Volunteer Network next week, along with the other class info.

I'm also going to host a BREATHE break-out session in the morning.  And to be sure, I'll be bringing my props to show how we tried to infuse the girl-led piece into the Journey.  We had some success, some failure, and everything inbetween!  These girls are all about the snack and crafts, but they have also gotten interested in the topics surrounding the air we breathe.  One Take Action Project involves the creation of a coloring book and story about why smoking is bad for you. And the other is a girl-written satire of the Wizard of Oz, talking about how polluting the planet is bad.  I wonder if it's titled the Wizard of Ooze?  I'll let you know....

One of the happy parts for me, in getting ready for the Kick-off, was that I reacquainted myself with the It's Your Journey - Customize It planning guide.  Lesley Finch gave it to me 2 years ago, and I have to confess, it was tough for me to wrap my brain around at first. Now, after 3 Journeys and teaching the GSLE trainings, I've come to see the guide as a useful tool!  Pages 26-35 make sooo much more sense to me now!  Not only for troop meetings, but for a series as well. If you have a chance to buy/borrow a guide, I bet you'll find it helpful as well.

See you at the Kick-off!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

August Kick-Off

Have you signed up for the August Kick-Off on Saturday, August 18th?  It looks like there will be terrific information there for every troop leader!  Parents too!

I heard from Shellie that there's going to be a new segment on doing Journeys, with a break-out to ALL the Journeys at ALL levels.  Woohoo!  I'm going to be with the Breathe Journey, for sure, then morphing over to Girltopia, if need be.  

Join us!  Learn about what's new for the coming year!  Taste the new cookie flavor that was just debuted at the OC Fair!  Choose a seminar to participate in!  If you're in the mood, join Susan Monk and me for an hour about saying thank you/showing appreciation.  We'll talk, then we'll all brainstorm together.  It should be fun as we talk about the new/continuing  "attitude of gratitude".

And if you sign up in time, you can reserve a Jersey Mike's Sandwich.  Or bring your own lunch in an ice's going to be warm out there!

So join us!  Leave the kids at home and come Kick-Off the new Girl Scout year! 

See you there!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Breathe in, breathe out, grasshopper....

Yes, still working on the Breathe Journey Series.  We had a fabulous time in Palm Springs touring the Turbine Farms as our guides gave us all sorts of information about energy and power.  It was awe-inspiring to see how huge those turbines are up close!!! 

The girls asked some good questions.  They had fun with the annanometer (sic) that measures the wind.  We were there on a relatively coolish summer day (101F) and a mild breeze (15 mph) coming from the southeast.  The girls had firsthand experience seeing what the Saint Andres Fault looks like, and what it's done to the topography around us.  They were also able to feel the wind and the monsoonal moisture still in it.  We didn't see a roadrunner or iguana, but we did keep our eyes out for those creatures of the desert.

I think that seeing the fault line area was sobering for many of them.  (It is for me, especially since we had that 11:30 pm quake last night, and a smaller one at 10 this morning, as I was talking on the phone!)  And I think it also got them to thinking about the scope of power and air, and how one thing can affect the other.  Elite Tours did a GREAT job in talking with the girls, asking questions, and handing out waaaay too many snacks!  Were I to do it again, I'd tell them one snack per girl.  The sugar high set off the giggles that were hard to control!!!!

Our girls have earned AWARE, and they have now chosen their Take Action Projects and their Air Car Teams.  I'm really looking forward to our next session where they send the ALERT and continue moving forward.  Since the girls won't finish in our sessions, we'll plan a Sunday in September or October, where we'll all come back together to finish AFFIRM and award them their 3 awards.    We want to give them a chance to celebrate!

I'm sure snack will be involved.....

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Character Counts

“Character is what you are in the dark.” D. L. Moody
Evangelist and Publisher, 19th Century

Girl Scouting is all about "courage, confidence and character", and that's what we adults are hoping for our girls.  I think that one thing that unites us as adults, is that we only want the best for the girls we work with, whether that's a daughter, granddaughter, niece, troop member or stranger.  We want those girls to grow up strong, to make good decisions and to proudly go where no one has gone before.....  thank you, Captain Kirk.

When I teach the Cadette Essentials classes, one of the things we keep coming back to is that this is a leadership program.  And while it can mean that a future President of the United States is in one of our troops, it's more likely that a future married, mother of three with a part time job, two labs and a mini van is too!  Both will need to be leaders:  for the country and for their own lives. Both will need skills that they learn in Girl Scouts. And both will need the character to move forward.

We give girls a safe environment to practice their leadership skills, and to make safe mistakes while they're learning.  Girl Scouting also gives them the opportunity to practice their leadership as a patrol leader, treasurer, Junior Jam staff, destinations participant, Silver Award Awardee, and more.  In the process they develop that strength of character that fits into the young woman they will become.

Whether it's in nation-wide politics or home-based values and beliefs, we want our girls to succeed, and to be the same great girls at both the beginning and end of the day.