Category Archives: Juniors

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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Juniors 10/13/16: Make It Matter & Social Butterfly

It has been 10 months since my last post. GS was completely overwhelming last year, I had a hard time making it through with my sanity intact. The short of it was: too many girls (several new girls had very strong personalities that caused issues), not enough behind the scenes help, and working full-time (I had to figure out how to balance work, three kids, and two GS troops).

This year, my older girls are split between Cadettes and Juniors. One of the Cadette moms became my co-leader, and she is working with the four girls who bridged (and doing an awesome job with them!). Six Juniors came back, and we picked up one more. Seven girls is much easier than 16. I’m still trying to decompress from last year, and put myself back in a positive focus.

Moving on…

Badges the Juniors are going to work on this year:

Making It Matter (Retired)
Social Butterfly
Simple Meals
First Aid
GS Way
Ceramics & Clay (Retired)
Entertainment Technology
Musician

making-it-matter-junior-badgeMaking It Matter
This is a retired badge that focuses on several specific aspects of science. I am roughly following the old badge book, but also modifying it to suit our needs. I happen to have a stash of the old badges, but it would be easy to turn this into a “make your own” badge for your troop. I’ve started a Pinterest board for ideas. We focused on polymers last week (made slime and gak). This week, we focused on acids/bases.

  1. Watched two YouTube videos:
    All About that Base (No Acid)
    TedEd Acids and Bases (kind of over their head)
  2. Mouth Rabies (what my daughter named it)
    This is an up close and personal experience of an acid/base chemical reaction. Mix equal parts: citric acid, baking soda, powdered sugar (1/4 teaspoon). Put the ingredients on a small piece of paper or in a very small cup. Make sure the girls have a cup of water as well. Take a sip of water to wet the mouth, dump the powder mixture in. Watch as they foam at the mouth. The mouthfeel is similar to pop rocks.

    1. What’s going on?
      When both the acid and base are powder there is no reaction. There is nothing to force the molecules to interact. This is where saliva comes in. It provides the carrier to make the reaction. Towards the end of the reaction, the mixture should taste salty – a byproduct of an acid/base reaction is salt. The powdered sugar is added simply to cut the sour/bitter taste.
  3. Litmus Tests
    I bought litmus paper so the girls could test various acids/bases. You can also make your own using red cabbage, but I didn’t have the time. The color spectrum runs from red/acid to blue/base. Neutral is yellow or green.

    1. What we did:
      The girls partnered up and were given seven cups with different liquids or solutions. They were given a chart to mark acid/base/neutral. Dip the paper in, see what color it turns, mark the sheet. We compared answers afterward, and all the teams got the right answers.
    2. Acids: lemon juice ; white vinegar
    3. Bases: baking powder solution ; liquid starch ; dish soap
    4. Neutral: tap water ; powdered sugar solution

social-butterflySocial Butterfly
I had wanted to do the retired Manners Badge with the girls when they were Brownies, but never had the opportunity. This time around, we are doing a manners badge.

  1. Step 2: Use Table Manners / Set the table
    1. I broke the girls into teams, gave them a dinner plate, cup, napkin, fork, knife, and spoon. They had to figure out the right way to set everything up. Each team made mistakes, which wasn’t surprising. We made corrections until the settings were right. Then I added in a salad plate and fork.
    2. For the second part of this, I had one girl put together a proper place setting in the center of the table. Then I stacked two full place settings and put them on the ends. The girls competed one-on-one to see who was the fastest at getting their place setting done properly. They had fun trying to beat their best times.

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 11/5/15 – Detective

This meeting went much better than the previous one.  We did not start with the flag ceremony because AL and I wanted to make sure we had enough time for the girls to complete their pig pen scavenger hunt.

During Opening Circle, I addressed the girls’ behavior and we talked about what we can do as a troop to make this less of an issue. The girls used the  fist to five method to vote/share their feelings about the ideas. They all agreed that we should come up with some basic troop rules (we’ll start discussing what those rules will be at our next meeting). They also agreed that the consequences I came up with were fair: 1) is a warning, 2) sit out the remainder of whatever activity we’re working on, and 3) call your parents. My AL said she would be the enforcer so I can focus on the meeting. I also asked the girls if they liked the idea of a sticker chart and prize basket. At our next meeting they’ll give me ideas of how they will earn stickers (showing up on time, wearing your uniform, etc…).

To reinforce this, we did a Girl Scout Promise game. I got the rough idea from my step-mom, who does something similar when she does workshops at elementary schools. The girls were broken down into teams of 4 and given a copy of the GS Promise. They had to create actions to demonstrate each line of the GS Promise and act them out in front of the troop. I tried not to give them any ideas or pointers, wanting to see what they would come up with. All of the skits/actions were great, and the girls had fun. I will have to make sure to incorporate more opportunities for making skits.

detectiveThe rest of our meeting was taken up by the Detective Badge, Steps 2 and 5 (though it might be stretching it for Step 5). My AL put together a clue hunt written in pig pen code. Clues would take them to different parts of the church, and at each location, they would find the clue to the next location. Wrapped inside the clue paper, was a line of the GS Law. We broke the girls down into four teams – dark pink, light pink, dark purple, and light purple (clues were color coded). Each team had to find five clues, or half of the GS Law. Once everyone was finished, the purples paired up and the pinks paired up to make a complete GS Law. The read off the GS Law (one team taking turns reading it, and reading the last line together, the other team chose one girl to read it). Both teams put the lines in order the first time. I was very proud given it hasn’t been something we’ve focused on yet this school year.

pig pen

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.

088 ed

Juniors 10/8/15 – GS Promise & Detective

This was our first meeting of the year with actual content. My troop is now up to 15 girls (and we’re going to have to work on appropriate behavior because I think some of my returning girls were a bit thrown off by the increase in size).  I also realized that in my attempt to keep things fun for the girls, and to keep my sanity while balancing so many different things, I have been lax on some of the more Girl Scouty things I should have been focusing on – GS knowledge, ceremony planning, flag ceremony, and having more input on what the troop does (though this last one has more to do with the fact that every other year, my troop splits into different levels).

During Opening Circle, we talked about the Girl Scout Way badge requirements, and what the girls wanted to do for them. We focused on Steps 3 and 5, with the girls wanting to look at and try old badges (Step 3) and playing the wide game (Step 5). Most of the girls also wanted to try finding pen pals (also Step 3), but one or two girls did not want to. I need to figure out how to handle that.

As both an ice breaker and way to practice the GS Promise, we had a snowball fight (idea from GS Greater Atlanta, page 12).  For this game, you really need to have the right number of girls – 8, 12, 16… because one part of it has them trying to create groups that make a complete GS Promise. We had 14, so it didn’t work out perfectly. The girls still had tons of fun, and it is a game we will most likely play again.

detectiveThe main event of the meeting was the Detective Badge. While a few of my girls have earned this badge, it was the one badge they all voted on doing – which is why we’re starting with it. Tonight we did Step 3: Fingerprint Fun. Like last time (link to last time), we watched a short YouTube video on fingerprints. Then the girls looked at their own fingerprints. I gave each girl a sharp pencil and a small piece of paper. The girls colored a small patch of paper with the pencil, then rubbed their index finger over the marking to get their finger as dark as possible. Each girl took a piece of clear packing tape and used it to lift the print. Then they put the tape on a white index card.

As a bonus activity, the girls attempted to lift their fingerprints from a glass. They tried it with cocoa powder and with corn starch (idea from Cyberbee). Most girls were able to lift a print, but several could not even after I had them run their fingers over their scalps to pick up more oil. Of the girls who were able to collect their prints, many were not legible. The print was more of a solid smudge instead of showing lines and whorls.