Do you find yourself stuck trying to figure out how to plan the year and you need a better option? Build a house!
I found this idea last year on a Council site in a booklet talking about working with Cadettes. I don't remember where I found it and I have searched and they must have removed it. Anyway, my super cool co-leader ran with it. What's even better... the girls LOVED it and asked if we were going to use the house again this year. Of course, we are!! It's hard to find things teenage girls like to do.
We are filling up our house to plan our scouting year... We have 2 meetings each month. One is a badge meeting. One is a service project meeting.
Here is how the house works:
Draw a house on a piece of poster board. Divide the house into however many rooms you need to fill your year. We meet during the school year, so we have 9 rooms. If you meet all year, you can have 12 rooms. If you only want to plan 6 months at a time, then... 6 rooms. You get the idea, right? Make sure your house has an attic!
We give the girls the badge booklets and any other patches we are considering to choose from and they write down on a post it the name of the badge and their name. Then, they place the post it in the attic of the house. Those are all the ideas. We let them go at that for a while. If you have a large group, maybe limit them to their top 3 choices. We're small, so we just let them go for 10 minutes or so. This is supposed to rather quick. It's not the time to look up and read the whole badge. Read the title of the badge, think if it sounds interesting, write it down if you want to do it.
Then, together, we find the duplicates and stack them together. The more duplicates, the more popular and the more likely it is to make the cut. At the same time, we work together to figure out which month and put it in the appropriate room. We keep going until we have the house filled up. Anything left in the attic are choices the girls can do on their own, if they like, OR we save them for the next year. This is our last year as Cadettes, so if they want any of the leftovers they have to do them outside troop meetings.
Next, for our group, comes badge assignment. Who is going to lead this badge? Typically, it's the girl that suggested it. But, if that isn't even... start discussing and have the girls volunteer to lead the various badges.
Finally, we start brainstorming on service projects and organizations to help and what to do. We make a list. We think about campaigns for each month (ie October is Breast Cancer Awareness, November is Veteran's Day, etc.) Assign them to a month and voila... year planned!
Inside our rooms we also place any Service Unit events or such that we will be doing that month. We do this to get a clear picture of what else is going on that month that we need to think about.
I really hope this helps you. Our troop seems to enjoy it and it gets the girls talking and planning and it helps the leaders know what is coming up and your year is planned in one big swoop. With younger girls, this may be a bit too much to do in one meeting, so break it up or only plan 3 months out.
It's a great tool and I'm so thankful for finding it.