Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Good Turns

"Do a good turn daily".

That simple little phrase carries a lot weight. It's a Girl Scout slogan. In fact, if you check the glossary at GirlScouts.org, it's THE Girl Scout slogan.

But, what is a "good turn" and what should you teach your troops?

First of all... good turn is simply a good deed. Remember the story of the Brownie Elf? Think Elf. It's something a Girl Scout does without expecting recognition or praise. Of course, as a troop Leader, make a point to praise the girls for doing good turns. They need that positive reinforcement.... no matter what age... no matter if they just shrug it off and say "no biggie".

Our troop opens our meetings with Opening Circle. It's where we discuss the agenda and recite the GS Promise and Law. We also hold ourselves accountable from the last meeting and mention something we did since the last meeting as a "good turn". Now, honestly, the girls don't need to be held accountable and they definitely shouldn't be punished for not getting their "good turn" completed. It's just a way that I helped young Brownies remember that they needed to do something nice. It seemed to help them remember after a couple times of having to say they forgot to do what they said they were going to do. And yes, my co-leader and I are also participating and stating a "good turn" we are going to do. After all, good turns aren't just for the young girls you are leading... and remember to lead by example. I also admit when I didn't do what I said I was going to.

At Closing Circle, we do the Friendship Squeeze and turn out. But, first... we sing a song and we  go around the circle saying what good turns we will complete before the next meeting.

As I explain to my troop, a good turn is something you do to help someone out without being asked. It can simply be cleaning your room without being asked, clearing the dinner table, entertaining your little brother while Mom/Dad is cooking, or inviting the new student at school to sit by you at lunch. It should benefit a person.

It's all about continuity. I'm sure when the girls reach 8th or 9th grade we won't be going through this ritual, because hopefully by that point they will have learned the unspoken lesson of having a volunteer's heart and forever being grateful that we are able to help out someone else. I also hope they see how one simple good turn can start a fire within others and spread to change the world in which we live.

So... what is your good turn for today?

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