Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Girl Scout Journeys

YES! I'm going to talk about "that" topic. I will have to tell you first and foremost, I am (are you sitting down?) NOT opposed to the Journey's. But, I think it's all in the way you approach them and how you decide to carry it out. We've done Journey's in troop meetings, as overnights, and as day events. Each approach has it's advantages and disadvantages. So, I'm going to take a little time to share my pros and cons list of each... and... (don't skip ahead! STAY PUT!) I'll share some resources I have found that will help you out. 

My older troop has completed 1 Brownie journey, 3 Junior Journey's, and 2 Cadette Journey's. We've "been there, done that" and survived. We had fun, too!!

It's quite possible that my outlook on the journey's is because I came into the Troop Leadership role the same year the first of the Journey's appeared on the scene. The other piece of my perspective is that I want my girls to be able to get their Shiny Awards, if they want them, and to do that... you gotta do a Journey. You have to take a written test before getting your driving permit and you gotta do a Journey if you want to prepare to take on a bigger project for a Shiny Award. It's a stepping stone. Life is full of them and you can throw a fit if you want, but it's better to accept it and decide how to accomplish it. Plus, don't let YOUR distaste of change affect your girls. I've seen that too much... put on your big girl panties and a smile and encourage your girls to take it on!! You CAN do this. 

So... 3 different approaches.


In Troop Meetings:

I spent about a semester each time I have done this and I have done it 3 times. Once as Brownies with World of Girls. Once as Juniors with Agent of Change. Once as Cadettes with Amaze. 

Pros

  • You can make it MUCH more girl led
  • You break it down and can add in extra things along the way to break it up a bit
  • When you reach the Cadette level and you need something to do because there aren't THAT many badges, it gives you something to do.


Cons:

  • The girls really need to be there for every meeting or else it's hard to catch up and get all the badges associated with the journey
  • It takes a whole semester (or maybe that was just me and how detailed I was with it)
  • If it isn't a topic that is interesting to the girls, it gets hard to face each meeting... but it can be done and it teaches the value of getting it done and completing something even when it isn't your favorite. Dedication is a good value. 



As An Overnight:

This is probably the girls favorite way to do a journey. We rent the campground and sleep in the lodge and cook out and have a great girl's night.

Pros:

  • It's done in one sleepover
  • Girls are excited because it's a sleepover!
  • Great way to get one done if you have girls that want to do a Shiny Award
  • In my experience, the message sticks because you focus on one this one topic for 2 days and they remember and share thoughts. 


Cons:

  • Takes a LOT of planning
  • Not as girl-led, because they really don't know what all is involved until you are partially through the journey, so it's hard for them to make decisions on what to do. But, there are ways to make it happen... give choices... do high overviews... etc.




In a Day event:

We did one of these with our Council for the MEdia journey. It was great fo rme, because all I did was show up and sit and listen. But, I'll take the "we did it ourself" approach for the pros/cons list.

Pros:

  • Short amount of time and completed journey
  • Great for Shiny Award girls that need it completed
  • Perfect for the Journey no one wants to do but want the Journey Summit pin


Cons: 

  • Takes a LOT of planning
  • Again, not as girl-led
  • Gotta stay on task in order to get it all done
  • Peresonally, I'm not sure the message sticks as well, because you are flying through it
  • Take Action isn't as involved if you try to do this the same day, too. 



Now, let me impart some advice to anyone starting a Journey. 

  • Don't stress out about it!
  • Don't discourage your girls with phrases like "we HAVE to do this" or "well, here we go" or "I know this isn't fun, but...." (yes, I've heard leaders say this!)
  • Don't think your Take Action HAS to be life-changing. It's a service project that fits the theme of the Journey... That's it. I'm sure you have done service projects with your girls before. Don't freak out over a simple name change. 
  • Think outside the box. The ideas and activities in the book are suggestions. You don't have do them verbatim. Come up with your own thing if you don't like what they have suggested. 
  • Don't give up or quit. Find ways to make it enjoyable for the girls and don't just give up and teach the girls it's okay to quit something half way through just because you don't like it. Yes, there are times that quitting is the best decision, but it's a better value to impart to stick it out and finish something you have started. They can learn the quitting thing on their own. 
  • Have fun!

So... as promised I have some resources to share with you.. I have scoured the internet and found TurnKeys and Journey in a Day and all kinds of information for just about ALL the journeys and have them divided up into folder on my SHARED Google Drive. I also have blog posts that break down each journey I have done in troop meetings. 

Google Drive Explained: You need to know how my mind works... it works by level... so the Journey plans are separated by level on the drive and they are in folders that say "Journeys".

Daisy
I haven't done any, because we haven't finished our petals. But, it's on the agenda for 2018. Are you that patient? HA!
Direct Link to folder with Journey Plans: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5Z1ODpbzZtoUVV1TDUwYm9KSzA

Brownie
World of Girls in troop meetings... all links on this page: http://girlscoutleader101.blogspot.com/p/brownie.html
Direct Link to folder with Journey Plans: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5Z1ODpbzZtoOUJuclpMT2xOSFk

Junior:
Agent of Change in troop meetings.. all links on this page:
http://girlscoutleader101.blogspot.com/p/junior.html
Also links there for the other 2
Direct Link to folder with Journey Plans: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5Z1ODpbzZtocDV1cWJJM3draWc

Cadette:
Amaze in troop meetings... all links on this page:
http://girlscoutleader101.blogspot.com/p/cadette.html
Direct Link to folder with Journey Plans: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5Z1ODpbzZtoTWxrM210MEhPNzQ

Senior:
We aren't there, yet, but I have a resource.
Direct Link to folder with Journey Plans: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5Z1ODpbzZtoMl81SmdQZHdCZDA

Ambassador:
We aren't there, yet, but I have a resource.
Direct Link to folder with Journey Plans: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5Z1ODpbzZtoeFY2MHgtOE5iSEU

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