Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Cadette: Science of Happiness

There are moments as a Girl Scout Leader when you wonder if you are making a difference at all. If you haven't been in that moment, believe me... it's coming. Prior to this meeting with my 8th grade Cadettes, I had been having many of those moments. What does that have to do with the Science of Happiness? Keep reading.

The girls lead their own meetings now. To the point that my co-leader and I just go into the room and sit and wait for them to start it. Sometimes a question of "Should we open the meeting?" is raised and if so, we reply "Well, it's your meeting and you know what needs to be done." Ornery, right? Hey, this isn't their first year in Scouts. So, they get chairs, arrange the tables, and stand in a circle to say the Promise and Law. I would interject here that no one has told them they have to carry on that tradition, but they do it. Partly because I'm sure they think it's expected and partly because they like the tradition.

Anyway, on to the badge... Science of Happiness.

Step 1: Make Yourself Happier
Count three blessings

The girls made a list of blessings.... they ranged from serious to completely ridiculous. As I sat their listening to one of the girls speak of her silliness as a blessing, I was reminded that adults take life way too seriously at times. She also counted having silly friends a blessing.

Step 2: Think Differently for happiness
Use your list of strengths

The Cadette leading the badge asked the girls to list their strengths to remind themselves how strong they really are. Again, I sat there thinking how easy it is to dwell on shortcomings and forget what we have going for us... even if it's as small as liking the freckle on your nose that is just like your Mom's as a reminder that someone in the world is cheering you own.

Step 3: Get Happy through others
Make something meaningful - thank you cards

The girls made 2 cards each. I will admit at this point, I wasn't really paying attention and there was a lot of writing and sharing notes and whispering... I let it go, because girls need secrets... and I'm so glad I did... when finished, they each presented my co-leader and I with a handwritten thank you note that I'll treasure forever.

Step 4: Do a helpful happiness experiment
Design your own 5 question-happiness survey

I think this proved to be the most difficult for them. I tried to explain how a survey should have a measurable result. Filling in the blank is good in some cases, but will make it difficult to truly see the results of a group if you don't have some sort of baseline. It gave us a great discussion on how to form questions in different ways to make sure you can have results from a survey.

Step 5: Create a happiness action plan
Create an inspiration collage with 5 top tips that help you stay happy

Last, but not least, the girls came up with their own tips for staying happy. They doodled and colored and made it all adorable, then discussed their lists and shared where they were planning on keeping it. One of the girls said she was going to snap a photo and store it on her phone, so she has it with her where ever she goes. That's a great idea, because we all know there are times you are out in the world and need a moment to regain your happiness.


  1. Do you have any tips for transitioning to girl-led meetings like the one you describe above? I have 4th & 5th Grade Juniors that have been scouts for 4+ years and I would like to move more to girl-led meetings. But I am not sure how to get there. We do use a Kaper Chart so I am thinking of expanding the jobs so they are starting & ending the meetings. Like you say above we also have traditional ways we do this as a Troop, so I think this might be a good first step.

    1. That sounds like a great blog post!! Stay tuned. I'll add it to the list for the upcoming weeks.

    2. That would be great! Thanks!

    3. You could have them start leading the badge work - have them work in teams and decide what portions of the badges to do and how to do them. If they work in teams as Juniors, when they get to Cadettes, they can try leading a badge by themselves.

  2. Thanks! We've been working on this badge with our Cadettes, and you sparked a few new ideas for us :)

  3. Hi I would like to second this question. I have 6th grade Cadettes and we are STRUGGLING. The truth of the matter is that I don't think they want to make the transition. We have done 1 entirely girl led meeting and it was pretty weak. There was not a lot of follow through on the part of the girls. Please help!

    1. I have the same issue. I think my girls would just rather not lead and have me do all the hard work. I plan on talking with them about it at our next meeting.

    2. I've got two troops - an 8th and a 10th. My 10th never developed a taste for leading skills badges, but loves to do them when they are set up. That is just their 'flavor.' My 8th grade is exactly like the troop described here. They are a physically active group and tend to love to take kinetic breaks during our 2 hour meetings. We had a painfully boring transition in the fifth/sixth grade where the leaders would set up the badge and have the girls run it. They floundered a bit. BUT, when 7th grade rolled around, we asked them to each choose a badge and pick a meeting(s) they would teach it. It didn't always go smoothly. They forgot items or got tongue-tied. My co-leader and I tried to step in another room when our daughters did their first leading of badges. This was to keep them from using us a crutch and us from failing to recognize that they could do it. This year, we got very enthusiastic replies when we asked if they wanted to do Scout-led skills badges again. They have each picked their meetings. They won't all go perfectly, but they'll go. The important thing is to get them used to leading. A leader who makes mistakes is still a leader. It is a start. Just talk to your girls and see if they are like my 8th or 10th graders. You may have girls that will take longer to find their feet, but they'll find them.

  4. Hi I was wondering how long this badge took you. Was it more than 2 hours?