Category Archives: Journeys

Agent of Change Journey – Power of Community

AoC

Last school year, my Juniors completed the Agent of Change Journey in anticipating of earning their Bronze Award this year. We completed the Power of One at our fall lodge/camping trip; and we completed the Power of Team at one of our meetings.

The Power of Community took up a good chunk of the rest of our GS year. Fist to Five was incredibly helpful in figuring out what to do for our Take Action Project (TAP). The girls came up with several areas to focus their efforts in: animals, veterans/military, books/literacy, and food. Using Fist to Five, the girls cast their votes for each area, and at the end I totaled the “number” of votes for each one. Animals won by a landslide.

One of my moms (now my coleader), offered to run the TAP. She did the legwork to find different options of how the girls could help animals, and once the girls chose, she did the legwork to get them going.

The girls’ TAP: helping to raise awareness of a local pet food pantry that focuses on pets owned veterans and homebound individuals. The pet food supply store in our town let the girls use his store as their front (and temporary storage for collected food and supplies). We’ve done other service projects/badgework with this store, and I love them.  They have always been more than gracious and helpful.

  1. The girls created a flyer to advertise the pet food pantry food drive. They each took 5 flyers, to go to area businesses, explain what they were doing, and ask if they could post a flyer. (This was incredibly successful.)
  2. Coleader ran an advertisement in our local paper for several consecutive weeks.
  3. Coleader found a rain barrel. Girls decoupaged drawings of pets on the barrel. Girls also created an advertising poster to hang over the barrel in the store.
  4. On the day of the pet food drive, girls rotated manning a table set up outside the store to collect donations of pet food and pet supplies.
  5. Rain barrel was left at the store for more donations (I believe the barrel is still there, 6 months later).

The pet food drive was insanely successful. Insanely. Successful. Within half an hour, the rain barrel was full. Within two hours, the storage space the store owner set aside was full. By the end of the drive (four hours), the girls had to help him make space for the donations until someone from the pet food pantry could come and pick everything up.

My coleader wrote an article about the drive’s success that was published in our local newspaper as a follow up.

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Agent of Change Journey – Power of Team

AoC

We did two activities for the Power of Team (PT). The main activity was from Follow the Leader, the second activity was the “Fist to Five” activity from the the leader’s book (page 68).

Puppy Trial (from Follow the Leader)
The basic idea for the trial was for the girls to work as teams to defend their side of the trial – was the puppy guilty for stealing food from the restaurant’s dumpster? Or was the puppy innocent because he was stealing food to feed his orphaned siblings?

One of my moms is an attorney, so she was in charge of this activity. She divided the girls into two teams – one arguing the puppy was guilty, the other arguing the puppy was innocent. The girls spent 10-15 minutes coming up with arguments to support their side. One girl was chosen to the the speaker for each team, and they presented their sides.

puppy trial

We never came to a consensus about the puppy’s guilt, but we did have a very good conversation about the puppy’s actions and how they translate to situations the girls might be involved in.

Fist to Five
Fist to five is a way for the girls to come to a consensus using a zero to five scale (zero being a definite no, five being a definite yes). When an issue or question is brought up, they hold up their hand using their fingers to show how they feel about it. Anyone holding up two or less fingers is given the opportunity to share why they don’t like the idea.

The book says that the issue can only be passed or affirmed if all girls hold up three or more fingers. This might work for smaller troops, but with 15 girls, there is a very good chance that at least one girl will hold up two or less fingers. I realized this when we were using fist to five to choose how the girls wanted to complete the GS Ways badge. On every. single. option. there was always one or three girls who didn’t like it. We couldn’t make a concrete decision on anything. It was frustrating for all involved.

 

Agent of Change Journey – Power of One

AoC

Two sites were instrumental in my being able to plan this part of the Journey. Both have great ideas and kept me from having to fumble through the leader and girl guides to figure out a way to make it interesting for my girls:

Girl Scout Leader 101
Girl Scouts River Valleys (GSRV)

I broke Power of One (PO) into five activities. The first four focused on PO, and the fifth was a transition into the Power of Team (PT). We were able to complete 4/5 of the activities at our camp out. The final one (herstories), was done at a meeting.

  1. Rope Ceremony
  2. Power (strengths and skills)
  3. Self-Collage
  4. Herstories
  5. Leaders/Trust Me!

Rope Ceremony
We tied an equal number of knots in the rope for participating girls and leaders. Everyone chose a knot and held it. We went around two times, first sharing our talents, and then sharing our weakness (as related to the GS Law). The girls were given an index card to write their talent on one side, and their weakness on the other. We pinned their responses to their knots. One parent wrote down everyone’s answers in case any of the girls needed help remembering what she said. At the end of the ceremony, I explained to the girls that as individuals we all have strengths and weaknesses. When we become a team, we bring both of those with us. Our strengths help our team succeed, and our team helps us strengthen our weaknesses. Even a weakness can be an asset.

Power (strengths and skills)
The girls used page 11 of the girl journey guide as a basis for this section. There were question prompts to help get them started: What do you think about your powers and strengths? Why are they important? How do your powers or strengths reflect the values of the GS Law? Which value of the GS aw means the most to you? We talked about power and what the girls thought it was.

Self-Collage
Each girl traced her hand, then decorated the inside of the hand with words and pictures that make them who they are. Their focus ended up being talents and likes more than “powers”. Once everyone was finished, the girls briefly shared the highlights of their hands. Most of them talked to me afterwards, giving me a much more in-depth account of what they chose and why.

hands

Herstories
I ran this section as homework. I emailed parents a template (based on page 50 of the leader’s guide) for the girls to follow in order to write up a brief statement about a woman they admired. The woman could be alive or a historical figure. Over several meetings, the girls shared their herstories.

Here is the example I made for the girls:

This is a story of Juliette Gordon Low.

Not too many people know about her because she lived one hundred years ago.

Her ability to start a scouting organization for girls interests me because it was an opportunity for girls to gain skills and learn new things that were not traditionally seen as things girls should do.

Here are a few facts about her life: She was started Girl Scouts in 1912. She got the funds to start it by selling a pearl necklace her husband bought her. She was born on Halloween. Two of her hobbies were woodworking and metalworking.

Leaders/Trust Me!
This section is a transitional activity from the Power of One to the Power of Team. We talked about what makes someone a good or bad leader. We also talked about what makes someone a good or bad follower, something I think is often overlooked.  After talking about leaders/followers, the girls broke down into teams in order to build obstacle courses. Each team went through another team’s course when they were finished. Teamwork was imperative because the person going through it was blindfolded.

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Juniors Camping Weekend

We spent a weekend in October at an area Girl Scout lodge. Unlike previous years where we stayed only one night, this year, we stayed both Friday and Saturday nights. I wanted the girls to earn the first award associated with Agent of Change, and with doing both archery and first aid, there was no way we could have done all of that in one evening/morning.

first aidFirst Aid Badge
One of the girls’ fathers is a firefighter, and he stayed with us to be both our first aider and to work with the girls on the First Aid Badge. They completed two of the steps (Steps 1 and 2). First they did Step 2 by talking to the firefighter about his job. He went over what he did and opened it up for the girls questions. For Step 1, he talked about Call, Check, and Care, having a discussion with the girls about what each one means. Then I broke the girls down into their teams to make either a poster or create/perform a skit. Two teams chose skits, and one team made a poster.

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AoCAgent of Change
After much research online, I came up with a rough outline of how I want to handle the AoC Journey. My goal for this weekend was to complete the first badge, the Power of One (PO). The girls were able to complete four of the five tasks I set up for PO. We’ll do the final one at a future meeting. Once we’ve done that, I’ll get a post up detailing what we did. In the meantime, I pulled a lot of my ideas and activity organization from Girl Scout Leader 101.

Rope Ceremony – this is in the Journey guide, but I liked how GSL101 modified it to include looking not only at the girls’ talents, but also their weaknesses. The girls, as well as every adult present, shared which line of the GS Law they felt they needed to improve upon. The two most common answers were Respect Authority and Use Resources Wisely, but Courageous and Strong (to stand up for oneself) and X also made appearances. It was enlightening to see how some of the girls answered this. Their talents were diverse, ranging from cooking to fishing to playing a musical instrument. At the end of the ceremony, I explained to the girls that as individuals we all have strengths and weaknesses. When we become a team, we bring both of those with us. Our strengths help our team succeed, and our team helps us strengthen our weaknesses. Even a weakness can be an asset.

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What is Power? – The girls used page 11 of the girl journey guide as a basis for this section. We talked about power and what the girls thought it was.

Self-Collage – Last year one of my moms lead an activity where the girls had their bodies traced onto butcher paper. They then spent the better part of an hour decorating the bodies with illustrations, words, and magazine clippings that represented who they were and what they liked. I didn’t want to repeat that activity (with 15 girls it would have been very time consuming), so instead the girls traced their hands and drew/illustrated “power words” that represented who they are.

hands

Leaders / Trust Me! – This section is a transitional activity from the Power of One to the Power of Team. We talked about what makes someone a good or bad leader. We also talked about what makes someone a good or bad follower, something I think is often overlooked.  After talking about leaders/followers, the girls broke down into their teams in order to build an obstacle course. The kickers being the person going through it would be blindfolded, and they would not get to go through their own course.

They had 10 minutes to design and set it up before two team members would narrate/demonstrate what to do. Each team had to make some kind of modification to their course to compensate for the the fact that blindfolds were mandatory – as in, you probably shouldn’t have the person spin around ten times, step over a bench, and then hula hoop.

When it was time for the girls to run each course, their teammates were there to give them directions in order to make it through unscathed. The other girls were supposed to cheer her on (this worked to varying degrees of success). Overall it was a hit. The girls enjoyed it, and it helped reinforce team work and coming to a consensus.

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Archery
The highlight of the weekend was archery. Two Council instructors came and taught the girls safety and the basics of archery. Because there were only three targets, I divided the girls into pairs. I pulled their names out of a hat because I wanted to use this as an extension of AoC – you can’t always choose who your teammates are, but you still have to work together. The girls who weren’t on the archery range played gaga ball or hula-hooped. All but a two of the girls were excited (the two who stayed up way too late on Friday night). They grumbled about being outside (it was on the chilly side), but between myself and one of the instructors (who is a GS goddess), they participated. One girl was visibly happy by the end, the other still grumbly, but it was the kind of grumbly used to cover up the fact that she actually had fun.

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Camp Kapers
This was the first time I’ve formalized camp kapers. We’ve done them before in the sense that the girls teamed up and took turns cooking and cleaning, but never as named teams and a chart to show everyone what they were doing. The girls divided into 3 teams of 5 girls each. One parent was assigned to each team as a kind of overseer. The girls chose team names: Camp Rock, Blue 15, and Glowstone Ocean. They rotated through Cook, Hostess, and Clean Up for meals, and each team took a turn cleaning the bathrooms (Saturday morning, Saturday night, and Sunday morning).

Meals
Friday Dinner: cookie sheet pizza / baked apples
Saturday Breakfast: pancakes / sausage / fruit
Saturday Lunch: sandwiches / chips / carrots / grapes
Saturday Dinner: crescent roll dogs / salad / fruit / s’mores
Sunday Breakfast: ziplock omelets / toast / fruit

 

Juniors 10/22/15 – AoC, Detective, & Flag Ceremony

My troop is now up to 16 girls, and as evidenced by our weekend camping/lodge trip, the increased size has adversely affected behavior. Things that were annoying, but not deal breakers, have now become large enough to be disruptive. Our next meeting will be focused on the GS Promise, the GS Law, and appropriate behavior. Some of the behavior is due to the girls’ ages, and some of it is due to the fact that I kept the focus on “fun things” instead of GS values as a whole. This is not a mistake I will make with Bug’s troop.

The girls learned the flag ceremony this past weekend at our camp out. All of them enjoyed participating, though we need to work on what constitutes respectful behavior during the ceremony. Right now we’re borrowing a ceremony kit from Council, but I need to return it soon. I am glad I used the kit first because I found out that the ceiling in our meeting room is too low for the flag poles for 3’x5′ flags. We ended up doing the ceremony in the church’s fellowship hall, but this isn’t really a long-term option because there are many times when the hall is used for other functions during our meeting time. The girls also “filled the space”.  Hopefully, flag poles for 2’x3′ flags will be short enough that we can do the ceremony in our meeting rooms. One big positive of the ceremony – almost every girl showed up in uniform!

AoCWe started working on Power of Team at the meeting (doing Power of One at our camp out). We didn’t do a lot with it other than the “fist to five” exercise. It is a good idea, but I wonder about the requirement that in order for something to be passed, every girl most vote a 3 or higher. With 16 girls, there will always be 1 or 2 girls who vote a lower number than 3.

Putting their voting power to use, the girls voted/re-voted on:

*GS Way, Step 3 – all but 2 girls voted 3 or higher for pen pals. More girls chose 3 or higher for that option as opposed to the last time where more chose looking at activities for older Junior badges. There were still strong sentiments from girl who did not like the options, so we will revisit this again.

*Detective, Step 5 – after looking more into The Giggling Ghost, I found out it is a 100+ page book, not an activity. I gave the girls the option of the cookie mystery or a mystery-themed wide game (which could do double duty for the GS Way). More girls chose the wide game, though there were still some dissenters. We will do the wide game.

*AoC Team Activity – the Journey guide has the girls reading the comic book and then either writing their own comic book, or creating a skit. I didn’t know how that would go over with the girls given their reaction when I brought up writing a chain story for one of the GS Way steps, so I wanted to have another option for them. While researching the Journey, I came across a leader who set up a mock trial about a puppy who stole food from a dumpster to feed his starving family. The girls voted and results were mixed for both choices. We will have to revisit  again.

detectiveThe final part of our meeting was devoted to Step 4 of the Detective Badge. I found a great activity on CyberBee where the girls compared several different powders. They worked with a partner, and each team had to write down their findings. The girls generally like science experiments, so it was a popular activity.

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Girl Scouts 4/10/14

This post is ungodly late, but my time has been at a premium with school work. On April 10th, we started the girls’ first Junior Badge (Detective), and did some more with WOW (though I’ve come to the realization that we’re going to have to drop this Journey mid-way through. With everything else going on in my life right now, I do not have the mental energy to devote to making it work.).

We went rock climbing at the indoor center for our second April meeting. Rock climbing is a continual winner with my girls. We will it every fall/spring until they lose interest.

wow badgeWOW
On a side, this is the last aspect of WOW that we’ll be working on. It is too close to the end of our meeting year to be able to complete this. I do not have the time or energy to focus on making this work. Maybe we’ll pick it up again this fall.

We did a water relay race from GSRV Brownie Planning Guide. It is from their Activity Plan 2, Activity #2. The girls divided into two teams, each girl had to carry a 2 1/2 foot tall teddy bear  (if I do this again, I will have the girls wear the bears) and a small cup. They had to to under, over, or around various obstacles to make it the other side of the room to a jug of water. They poured water into the cup and did the course in reverse, pouring the water into a large bowl. The purpose of the activity was to give the girls an inkling of what it’s like to get water from a distant water source to bring back to their community. It is a poor imitation, and doesn’t factor in the quality of water, but it’s something. And they had fun while doing it.

detectiveJuniors – Detective Badge
The girls voted to do the Detective Badge as their first foray into Junior-land, completing Step 1 and Step 2. Because the majority of my girls will still be Brownies next year, I’ll give them a CSI-related fun patch.

Step 1
The mother who stayed with me at the meeting took the girls into the playroom next to our meeting room to have them look around, trying to remember what they saw and where they saw it. Then she had them leave the room so she could hide three objects. The girls were given pieces of paper and pens to write down what three objects they thought were missing. Once everyone finished writing their answers, they compared the results.  I cannot remember if she did it a second time, adding three additional objects. I’ve waited too long to write this.

Step 2
We two choices from this step – codes and invisible ink. The girls wrote messages with “invisible ink” (i.e. lemon juice for round 1 and milk for round 2). The experiments came from the badge guide, but they are also floating around on the web. Both “inks” were huge failures. The girls let the papers dry, then held them up to a bright light. We weren’t able to see anything. The instructions only say to “hold it under a light to see the words.”  I found out later that you really need to hold it close enough and long enough for the heat to start oxidizing lemon juice/milk (i.e. start to burn).

The second choice was much more popular and successful. The girls absolutely loved deciphering pigpen code. It took some of them a while to understand how to use the cipher, but once they got the hang of it, I had them decipher some sentences I wrote in pig pen.

Brownies 3/27/14

Tonight was our only March meeting. (I cancelled our first one because of the raging snow storm that hit the night before we were to have it.) This meeting focused on our next WOW session and Bridging requirements for my third graders. My second graders are essentially along for the ride on this one, and will do it all again next year.

wow badgeWOW
We reviewed our water uses/likes board, then added more pictures under the heading of “how I can save water”. I told the girls that this counts as their promise as to how they personally can save water. Most of them went with turning off the faucet/hose when not using it (like when brushing your teeth). One went for not polluting our river, and another for drinking all of the water in her glass so she doesn’t waste it.

This activity segued into a discussion about water restrictions. The first example I gave was of water restrictions in Australia (a parent of one of my girls is Australian) several years ago that were severe enough that when people showered, they put buckets in there with them to collect as much water as possible so it could be reused for things like flushing the toilet.

The second examples was of my experiences growing up in New Mexico. Because it is a desert, we would be put under restrictions from time to time. Not as severe as in Australia, but enough that I remember some people painted their lawns green. People were also rewarded for xeriscaping their yards (which is what my mom did).

After we talked about saving water, we moved on to the cleanliness of water. The girls watched a video clip titled, “Water Purification and Collection” from The Magic School Bus: Wet All Over episode. Then did an experiment with water filtration.

For the experiment, the girls were paired up and given three mason jars. Each had a different filter – paper coffee filter, nylons, and fabric (birdseye, specifically). They were given a fourth jar filled with muddy water. In theory, the girls were supposed to watch the water settle and the sediments sink to the bottom. This did not happen in most cases. They then poured the water into the fabric, removed the filter when done, poured that into the jar with the nylon on it, removed the nylon, and poured it into the jar with the coffee filter.

The experiment was not terribly successful – we followed the experiment as written. Doing it again, I would have the girls start with the nylon, then fabric, then paper filter. If I have the chance to make a sand water filter, I will do that and bring it to our next meeting.

water

When the experiment was done, the girls watched another video. This one was about a 14-year old girl who created a solar-powered water filter. The science was over their heads, but it let them see what is possible.

bridge oldBRIDGING
The remainder of our meeting was taken up by discussing Bridging and its requirements. Even though only four of my twelve girls are Bridging, they’re all going to end up participating because it would be too much of a pain to split them up.

First up was “Pass It On”. One of the Daisy troops in our SU will be Bridging as well, so the girls talked about what they liked most about Brownies, then drew a picture of it. There was camping, rock climbing, aquarium overnight, and pottery, but for some inexplicable reason, half of the girls chose jelly marbles. So a silly little time killer from our Valentine’s Day party was the winning activity. Did not see that one coming.

I passed the cards on to my assistant leader, so her daughter can put together a poster using those cards to show the Daisies.  At their meeting, my Brownies will talk about what’s on the poster and do an activity with them. Balloon rockets are on the agenda, possibly something from the Snacks Badge if there’s a way to do it easily.

The second part of Bridging is “Look Ahead!”. We do have a Junior troop in our SU, but trying to coordinate that will end up being too much trouble scheduling-wise. Instead, we’re going to do what we did last time – earn our first Junior Badge. The girls voted between Detective and Drawing (Detective won), so we’ll spend our last to actual meetings working on it in conjunction with WOW. My non-Bridging Brownies will get a related fun patch.

As part of looking ahead, I showed them the badges they can earn, as well as the Bronze Award (we’ll wait till the whole troop is a Junior troop to do this) and Junior Aide Award.

Next year will be different, yet again. I should have my act together this time around. Trying to balance grad school, homeschooling, and Girl Scouts was too much. Changes have been made that will help. It also helps that I pretty much know what I’m going to do with the Brownies – all of  the fun badges my olders did their first year as Brownies. Makes planning a heck of a lot easier! I also already have our fall camp out on the books.

We have two actual meetings left, one other will be at the rock climbing center again, and the final one is our Bridging Ceremony. I like the idea of not planning a separate event for this. We’ll still meet after our formal year is done so the girls can help plan our camping trip.