Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Agent of Change: Session 4

Session 4 was actually broken up between two meetings for our troop. The girls had chosen to devote half of a meeting to singing. They love singing, so we did it. It also gave us time to decorate Lummi sticks (something the girls are really digging!)

For Session 4 we continued our Super Girl Stories in a "round" fashion. Each girl gave a super hero idea and they selected one to tell a story about. They absolutely love being on camera, so I recorded it for them. They took turns building the story as we went around the table.

It just so happened that we needed to make a decision about an outfit for the holiday parade. We used this to try out the "Fist to Five" activity described in the book. The girls quickly reached a decision by counting the pros and cons between two ideas.

We talked about Take Action projects for our Journey and once again was able to do fist to five to decide. Our list consisted of helping at a children's hospital, helping at RMHC, helping at an animal shelter, and cleaning up a park. The girls decided they wanted to help at an animal shelter. So, I'll be making some phone calls.

After deciding on a project, we play The Real Me. The girls really enjoyed this game and it was fun to learn things about one another and learn who is really good at lying. Ha!

We actually "ended" the second meeting covering this session with our Investiture and Re-dedication Ceremony. The girls were super excited and it was fun to announce they had made a choice about their Take Action project.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

World of Girls: Session 7&8

The best laid plans.... that's how I need to begin this post. We finished up our World of Girls Journey in November 2011.... in Missouri. Our next meeting was scheduled for early December with our presentation of awards on December 20th. Well... school was cancelled because of an early snow. Then, the holidays kicked into full force and there wasn't a date to make up that meeting. So, we had to change our plan and figure out how to finish up our Journey.

I'm going to share with you "the original plan" and "the revised plan".

Session 7&8 is about telling people what you did and finding a way to help make the change "stick".  We were going to make posters and present them at a school assembly. They were going to say "Don't trash our playground" and "Pick up trash to throw away every day". They were great ideas and the girls were going to create them by hand on poster board. Then we were going to invite the school principal and a few teachers to our meeting for the girls to discuss the change they made and why it was important. It was going to be great, I tell you.

Instead, the girls had sketched out their ideas for posters in our previous meeting (I didn't include that in the notes, but they did that over snack time. I needed to know what supplies to gather for them, so we were making a plan). I took their ideas and turned them into digital posters created in Word. I emailed them to their principal with a short description of the project. Why rush, you say? Why not wait and do it after Christmas break? Because the girls were excited about Court of Awards and getting their badges and telling their parents about what they did. I didn't feel I could give them the badges if we weren't "done". So, I made a judgment call and decided the girls had put in a lot of work and effort. If I did this one last thing for them, it wouldn't matter in the long run and we could say the project was done. I'm sure I will get some feedback about how I shouldn't do the work for the girls, etc. and that's fine most of the time... but these girls worked hard. They gave all the ideas... all I did was turn their sketched ideas in Word document posters and email them.

My decision was clearly correct, too. These girls had learned a lot... about themselves, about their troop, about how making a small change can help the world they live in. That's the bottom line, folks. Give them the tools and watch them grow. At our Court of Awards, each girl took a turn to say something she had learned or done during our journey. The girls talked about our fruit flights, cleaning the playground, learning games from all over the world, understanding how girls in other countries don't have the same freedoms as we, and how we all need to make a difference by making small changes. Each girl reported they had talked to classmates about not dropping trash on the playground and how much time they spent cleaning it up. Yep... they got it. They understood how we could take a problem and resolve it. We made their world a better place. They found camaraderie in their Girl Scout sisters. They saw they can make a difference.

In my book... that's success and fully earned.

Monday, October 15, 2012

World of Girls: Session 5&6

The girls had been interested in cleaning up their playground since Session 2. It sounded like a great idea to me and one that we could easily accomplish. My thought is we needed something for a Journey book, not their Gold Award. So, if they wanted to pick up trash... so be it.

Before this meeting, I went to the store and gathered big black trash bags and non-latex gloves (we have a Mom that is allergic to latex and I didn't want our trash collection to cause issues, even though her child would be washing up). I met the girls after school and we spent the first 30 minutes of our meeting picking up trash. To make a game of it, I divided the girls into two teams and had them count the number of pieces of trash they were collecting. We heard "45", "57", "This is huge, so it should count as two!" chattered back and forth across the playground. We surpassed our goal of cleaning the main playground and expanded it to the soccer field and lower open field area. The girls actually had lots of fun doing this and came up with the idea of cleaning up the park, too, at a later meeting.

Once we were inside, cleaned up, trash contained, etc., we made GORP for a snack. It was quick, easy, and customizable.... plus super yummy!

There were a few activities we needed to complete in order to finish the last badge for the Journey.

In the Leaders book, there is an activity titled "Drawing Ourselves". I gave each girl a piece of white cardstock and we had crayons and markers. We all drew ourselves based upon the list in the book. The girls giggled and I heard "This looks nothing like me." at first. By the ends they were comparing each others "I have a triangle and so do you!" We talked about how you can't really "see" a person by looking at their face. You have to dig deeper and find out about a person to find similarities. We all have differences and similarities that make us who we are.

The Hunt Is On was done in round table fashion. We only had 5 girls in our troop when we did this, so to make it into a scavenger hunt where they run around to tons of different girls just wasn't practical. Also because they all go to the same school and know each other pretty well. We used the chart from the leader's book and went down the list to fill them in. This wasn't as "active" as the creators of the book envisioned, but it still gave us a good sense of what we had in common.

We also played Sun & Ice, just as described in the book. The girls weren't that into it, really. I think with a bigger group it would be more fun. But, they played it and got some running in.

At the end of the meeting, we planned our last session for the World of Girls... to communicate to others what we did and why.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

World of Girls: Session 4

By Session 4, my co-Leader and I were really tweaking and cutting the fluff, so to speak. We wanted the girls to have a great experience, yet we didn't want to spend a ton of time MAKING them do things they weren't in to. Girl led, right? Yep yep... GIRL LED! Even if it means tweaking the book to fit your girls.

On page 17 in the Girls Book on the WORLD side (and if you haven't noticed by now, like I hadn't at this point... the book is a flip book and one side has WORLD in all uppercase and one side has GIRL in all uppercase. It helps when you start to understand how the book works.), the girls completed the Girls Teaching Girls activity. They filled in the skills they had and shared them with the group. We have one girl that was born in Korea and she actually attends school on Saturday to learn how to write and speak in Korean. She shared how to write her name and the other girls names with the group. Another girl said she was really good at duct tape crafts, so we encouraged her to share. She did end up making and bringing bracelets for all the girls in the troop. We went around and found things the girls liked and things they could teach each other. They chatted among themselves and the excitement grew.

Flipping to the GIRL side for pages 16&17: The next activity was drawing, which tied in well because one of the girls said she was really good at drawing. So she even gave a couple pointers on how to make the perfect tree. Each girl designed her own "dream park" and then we shared. They pointed out what was best and what was a "must have". Since we had started talking about cleaning up our school playground, it was a great time for me to bring up the point that no one drew trash on the ground... however I also pointed out no one drew a trash can... they quickly hurried to draw in trash cans. Ha!

So.. then came the serious discussion... what were we going to decide upon doing to change our world? The girls all seem troubled that their playground had litter on it. No one picks it up! they said in horrified voices. I asked the girls to think about the project, think about what we could do to make a lasting change, and what we would need if we were going to do this project. I left the discussion there and asked them to come back with ideas to formulate the plan at the next meeting. 

I posed the question from the book:  What If everyone would try to make a change? I heard "The world would be better.", "People would be nicer", "Things would get done." All very true and accurate answers.

We did some passport work, as our snack took us to Ireland and Britain. We made snack o lanterns filled with fruit. I had looked up the history of Jack O Lanterns and told them about that during snack time. So, we had a few flags to color and paste inside our passports. Now, looking back, I wish I would have had them write in the passport about why each flag was there. But alas, it's too late. Also, I had 3rd graders and they were hesitant about writing much at that level...drawing and coloring YES, writing... ehhhh...

To end our meeting, How Will the Story End? because of our project. Imagine a girl and how is her world better?

They are smart girls and they quickly answered

  • "It would be cleaner!", 
  • "It would look nicer!",
  •  "It would be safer!", 
  • "It would be healthier!"

... like I said... smart girls. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Agent of Change: Session 3

Session 3 didn't have a lot to it, but of course, we gave it our own twist.

Basically with Session 3 you are:

  • reading a comic, 
  • making a comic (or something), 
  • and discussing situations that could be changed. 

This is how we adapted and "did it".
The comic in the Girl's Book is 10 pages long (maybe longer.. the book is not in front of me right now). The girls were like "Ugh... really? Do we have to read through all of this?" I laughed, because I shared their agony. We agreed that I would read some of it and tell the story and give them the highlights. I had read through the entire thing, so this was an acceptable alternative. We did this over snack.

After going through the comic, I also showed them a couple comic strips I found online that discussed something about Girl Scouts. There was one Baldo comic (it's below) about the girl who is going to be everything when she grows up and a Girl Scout, because she had to start somewhere. The other was Garfield who ate 12 boxes of cookies (I can relate to that...). The girls had actually just made comics in school that day... on the computer... my crayons and markers couldn't compete with that, but we tried.

Free Printable Comic Strip TemplatesI had printed up a comic strip template for them to use. The girl divided into two groups of 3 and were given 15 minutes to work as a team to develop a comic that had a "problem", "solution", and "good outcome". One group had a cat that ate a bird, puked it out, and became friends (yes, girls are gross like that). The other had a guy that was hungry, they sold him GS cookies, he was happy.

The twist came in here... I gave them 15 minutes and the girls really do work well together, but under a short time frame other things come into the picture. We had a great discussion afterwards about how sometimes it's hard to be part of a team. We talked about how to be honest and fair. Honest about how you are feeling and that you want your to have some input. Fairly treating one another with respect and letting everyone contribute. We also discussed working with deadlines and how to collectively work together to get the project done.

Since this was part of our Power of  a Team badge, it couldn't have worked out better. They met the goal of the book and they also attained team building skills and pinpointed strengths and weaknesses. 

In addition, our 1980s Windows to the Past activities did additional team building. The girls worked together to choreograph their moves for a music video. It was hilarious and enchanting all at the same time.