I meant to share this with everyone before the point in time that it may be too late to accomplish this scouting year (my troop doesn't meet over the summer months... yeah... because I need some time off!)... but posting this now, it just gives you the opportunity to be more creative on how you pull this one off... yeah, I'll go with that. Think...here's an idea... mail the survey with a SASE to each girl and imagine the delight of them receiving something in the mail from you!!!
This is the first year I did a real end of year survey... okay, I've asked the girls at the end of the year what they liked and what they wanted to try to do next year and such before... we did this as a round table discussion and just in passing type thing... but this time I made it more "official".
Don't worry... it was still simple, but turned out to be very enlightening.
I gave the girls a single sheet of paper and a pencil (because I couldn't find my pens). I asked them to spread out around the room. I stressed that I wanted them to be honest and open. I asked they not be mean, but be truthful even if it wasn't bright and cheery. I also told them I wasn't going to look at the sheets until I was home. I wanted to make sure they knew it wasn't going to be discussed with the troop and it was just for me and the other leaders to review.
So... what did I ask... really some basic questions.
- What did you like the most about this year?
- What did you like the least about this year?
- What would you change?
- What do you want to do next year?
- Are you coming back to Girl Scouts next year? Yes/No/Maybe
- Why or why not?
Yep... it was that simple. The results were great. Don't over think this stuff... I tend to complicate items at times and make it really involved... don't be stressing yourself out like that.
What they told me will help me plan next year. I now know I need to bring
back more crafts, which I thought they were getting tired of and apparently I was wrong. I learned they love working on service projects. They like having visitors come in and help with various things. They love field trips (I was not shocked on this one). Overall, they liked what we did. They didn't LOVE all the badges, but I have a feeling they learned something from each one.
I knew a couple girls probably weren't returning and I knew one girl was moving away. I try not to take those things personally (esp. the moving away part). I realize girls have lots of opportunities and interests and want to try new things. I don't find it beneficial to beg a girl to stay that really doesn't want to be there. I hate to see her go, but I don't want her last experience to be her leader begging for her to stay and making her feel guilty for leaving. Instead, I smile and give her a hug and say "We are going to miss you. We wish you the best and hope you are very successful in your next activity, just as you have been with Girl Scouts. If you change your mind, just let me know. You are always welcome to come back."
So, if you do the surveys be prepared to read over them and think about them and don't take it personally. Hopefully they don't maliciously intend to destroy your whole being.
So... be brave... be bold... do a survey of your girls.