Saturday, September 29, 2012

Silver Award Training

Had a SUPER ENERGETIC group in Silver training this week. We had so many attendees, that we had to split into two rooms.  Wow!  I think that's just great!  Close to 100 leader/advisors/parents who want to learn how to best guide their girls through the Silver Award process.  Truly, I hope that means we'll get some amazing Gold Award Projects in the very near future.

In a way, it's all about Taking Action.....first in the Journeys and then for the Awards.  Its a progression through the Bronze, Silver and Gold to ask the girls to do the best they can to make a difference in the world.  Not a collection project, but a Take Action Project that makes a change in the community. And that would NOT be the Girl Scout community!  No more Brownie Play-Days for the Silver.  No more neo-natal cap sewing and dropping off. No more birthday boxes....but MEANINGFUL projects that Take Action to make the world a better place.

And as Shellie pointed out, I'm not putting down Service Projects, in the slightest!  Our girls have big hearts, and you, as their leaders have given them the opportunities to help others. All those Binky Drives, Scouting for Food, Tennis Shoe Collections, etc. are, hands down, GREAT!  And our girls provide valuable service to the community by doing them.

However, Taking Action is bigger, more sustainable, uses more girl leadership, asking the girl to stretch to achieve her goal.  As one advisor said, "I figure if it's easy, she's not working hard enough!"  Or her approved project wasn't big enough.  Or both.

As we say in training, let the girl do the work!  Start with the issue, not the project.  Girls need to use their critical thinking skills to work their way through to a project.  They need to understand what the issue is and what the root cause is.  Critical thinking!  As Lesley Finch says, "ask them to dive deep!" and get involved with the issue.  Look at it from a variety of ways before deciding which issue to address.

We want the Silver Award Take Action Project to stand out!  And we want it to be something that the girl is proud of.  So that one of these days, in a Gold Award Interview, I'll ask, "so, what did you do for the Silver?" and I'll get a great, enthusiastic response.  Unlike the responses I've been getting to an even easier question, "how did you Take Action for your Journey last month???!!!"  But that's for the other blog....

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ToGetHerBoating - Mariner's Skills

Does everyone know what GAM is?  Our council hosts one every May, to give Sr/A Girl Scouts the chance to get together and compete in a variety of ways...tying knots, singing songs, swimming, boating races, and more. 

And to help girls get ready, we are offering a ToGetHer Boating Practice event on October 21, 2012 at the Newport Dunes.  You can download the flyer from our website:

Anne Rizzacasa and I are co-chairing the day, with a great committee, and we are VERY excited about offering in-water boating skills for our girls:


And also some land skills:

Bell Time
Compass and Relative Bearing

So, come one come all!  If you have 8th grade and above girls, they are welcome to come learn some new skills and practice on the water.  We'll have certified life guards and small craft instructors to teach and supervise.  Even if you think you're not ready for GAM competition, come on down anyway, and have fun with us.

Registration is required, and yes, all participants get the patch!  Would love to see you there!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A total LACK of Take Action!

Well, I knew I'd been busy:  plenty of changes in the last month....sold my kitchen, closed my catering business, moved office stuff and props to the house, and worked on Mom's accounts...oh, and volunteered with Girl Scouts!  Whew!  No excuse, but I think I just lost my rhythm of when to blog. Fixing that, as of today!

I was at the GSOC Open House on Saturday. Oh my, but there sure were a whole slew of little Daisies and Brownies!  Fewer Juniors, and only a handful of older girls.  Many of you have heard me at training talking about how my hat is off to all you who work with those little girls!!!  They a are nice, funny, open, and sooo excited about everything, including tying knots.  We had fun, to be sure, sort of like herding cats!!!!

But it was while I was at the Awards table in the lobby, that I heard of a girl's Silver Award Project that was just not up to current standards of Taking Action.  I didn't say anything then, but I've been thinking about it, and wondering why an advisor would have approved it?

This girl was taking the flowers from after Saturday services at her Temple, and re-purposing them into vases/bouquets to take to various hospitals, fire departments, police stations, etc.  She had a very nice piece to say when she did it.   A nice service project, to be sure.  But Silver?  No way.

What issue was she addressing?  "Brightening up someone's day" is not an issue.  

What was the root cause?  Lack of flowers in an office? Why?

And who was her team?  Sounded to me like her Mom and the daughter were it.  Who did she lead?  How did she use her leadership skills to make a positive change in her community?

How did she make a measurable and sustainable difference to the audience she sought to help? 

You leaders/advisors are the ones to hold the girls to the standard!  And if you don't know if something is "good enough" or "appropriate", send me the ideas, I'll let you know!  And if they are not up to snuff, I won't cite your name. But if they're great, I am very happy to put your name and your girls/troop's name in the blog with big props!  

These girls can do it!  We just have to let them (or is that make them?) take the steps do it!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dr. JoAnn Deak Speaks!

"The girl has to do the work to change the world" Dr. JoAnn Deak. 

Speaking at the OC GIRL SCOUTS VOICE FOR GIRLS Dr. Deak had plenty to tell us about the physical differences between boys and girls brains. 

 "Boys and girls are born differently. We have to fight nature to get girls to take the lead." She talked about how when faced with a challenge, the boy brains shoot out a glob of testosterone which gives the brain the cue to address the issue, meet it head-on and step up to the plate. When most girls face a challenge, her brain releases a glob of Oxytocin that stimulates her to care about others, wonder about how this is all going to affect them.  Our job as adults, parents, mentors and leaders is to get that girl to "hug the monster" and GO DO IT ANYWAY!  

In training we talk about how Girl Scouts is a "safe place for girls." It's an excellent place for girls to go do something, even if they aren't comfortable with that leadership role.  Dr. Deak said, "Make a mistake and trying to figure it out build the brain and strengthens the brain muscle."  Don't do it for the girl, get her to stand up on her own two feet and try to fix the problem, or address the issue or face her fears.  Practice at this strengthens her!

Dr. Deak had another powerful message to share. "7th and 8th grade girls have the highest testosterone they will ever have. They are also the meanest at this time." We create a safe place for these girls in Scouting, where they can fail and be supported by their troop and leaders.  To me, that quote also reinforced how great the aMaze Journey is for this age girl!  All that good stuff about relationships, frenemies, cliques, BFFs, etc. resonates with these girls at this age.  

As  a friend said, we all have to live through it!  I agree, but we also can't let down our guard and let the monster control us or our girls.  We need to encourage our girls to HUG THE MONSTER and take on big ideas that lead to meaningful big action. And we don't start in Cadettes! Dr. Deak says, "start early with girls. Let them learn the magic of doing.  Work on the monster!"

(Re-posted 5:00 p.m. to correct typos and expand on the topic.  First time I've ever tried to blog during a talk.  I need to hug THAT monster and learn how to do it better!!!)