Thursday, June 8, 2017

Plan a Journey in a Day (with planning secrets)

I have hosted several Journey in a Day workshops for my troop and I have attended one that was hosted by our Council. My girls have always preferred this method over spending six months on the same thing for 3 patches that really look like one patch. It's a lot of work for not a lot of bling.

Today, I plan to share a few secrets on planning with you. I have developed a journey in a day plan a couple times and I go through the process the same way. Once you break it down, it's easy to do. Promise!

Step 1: 

Choose the journey. Let the girls guide you on which journey they want to earn. I will tell you that some are easier than others to complete in a day workshop, but all of them can be done with planning. Planning is the key!

Note: Sometimes the Take Action is the same day and sometimes it's a "homework" project and sometimes it's a planned service day. It depends on what the girl's decided to do. But, you should be able to get through all the activities in one day.

Step 2: 

Get the Leader Guidebook and Girl Book for the journey. Yes. Both! No. Do not try to do a journey without the leader guide. Even if you follow someone else's plan, without the leader book a lot of things will not make sense and you'll pull your hair out wondering why you didn't cough up the few extra dollars and follow my advice.

Step 3: 

Use my worksheet for planning and breaking it down. You can download it for free!

Yes. It's in the store as a freebie. Yes. You need to fill in your information. Yes. You will thank me. No. I won't share your email or information with anyone else under the sun!

Step 4: 

Look at the badges to be earned for the selected journey. This is where the biggest secret comes in and one that most of us don't know until you READ the Leader's Guide (another reason for getting the Leader's Guide). 

There are 3 badges in a journey. Three. For each badge, you only have to do so many things. The leader's guide tells you how many activities you need to complete. My experience has been 3-4 for each badge. Yes. Do the math. That's about 9-12 things TOTAL. It's not 3 per session with 12 sessions. It isn't 36 activities. It's like 9-12... repeat that with me and let it sink in... 9 to 12 activities TOTAL. Uh huh. You're welcome. That seems much more doable, doesn't it?

Step 5: 

Break down each badge individually. Select the 3-4 activities you know you can complete without the eye rolls of young ladies. This is the pattern I typically try to go with... something educational, something fun, something hands on, and something memorable.

What does that mean?

  • Something educational: A video, a short story, a relevant science or news article
  • Something fun: You will not make it through the day without FUN... a game, a crazy activity to make them move, a goofy story or science experiment
  • Something hands on: My group is crafty, so if there are not crafts there are not smiles. We learn and remember by DOING... so one of the activities should be something they have to touch, do, create.
  • Something memorable: If you only need 3, then be sneaky and bring this in on one of the other activities. Maybe the craft is something of substance that they can take with them or the game ended with belly laughs and they'll talk about it for years. Create a memory for them. At the least, take photos!! 

Step 6: 

Choose your adults. Let's be honest. We all have adults that help with our troop. Some of them are not cut out for this. Some of them are. Be selective. Journey's completed in a day are fast moving, concentrated, intense blocks of time. I don't say that to discourage you from doing it. I say that to make sure you aren't continually having to explain and do everything. Get the adults that you KNOW can handle this. I have done a workshop with 2 other adults and 1 other adult. Both worked well. You assign out to them what you know they can handle. If you have a great adult that is willing to help, but you know that they can't glue 2 pieces of paper together without needing to call the paramedics... don't put them over any crafts! Use their strengths for everyone's sanity.

Step 7: 

Divvy out the activities and assign the roles to people. At this point, you need to decide if you want to get all the supplies or if you want to tell people to get their own for the activities they are doing. I'm pretty Type A, so I default to "I'll take care of all the supply gathering". Plus, then I know what we have and can reuse things here and there.

Step 8: 

Make a box for the event. Yes. It's going to take a little more work, but it's going to save you SO MUCH TIME the day of the event when you are trying to manage activities, girls, food, and everything else.

I use gallon ziploc bags and a plastic tote. you could also use file folders, but I'll explain why bags are the bomb in a second.

I have one bag that are "day supplies". It contains pencils, pens, tape, markers, notebook paper, a copy of the plan, the leader guide and girl guide. This is the first bag in my tote.

I also have a plastic ziploc for EACH activity. So, if we are doing 9 activities, I have 10 bags. 9 activity bags and 1 "day supplies" bag.

In the activity bags, I place anything specific to the activity. Remember that worksheet I told you to go grab? Yeah... print an extra one and cut that baby apart by rows in the table and put the correct table strip in the bag so you know you have them all covered and so on the day of the event, you know what you are looking at. Also in the bag, Craft supplies (unless they are too big to fit and if so, I have a note in the bag saying where they are), activity sheet/instructions, and I label the bag "Activity 1: 10:00-10:15am". This tells me which activity it is, what time we need to start and the amount of time I have estimated. It helps the day of to stay on track and make sure all is completed in a timely fashion.

Note: If you are dividing the event into stations, then make multiple boxes. One for each station with their activities IN ORDER and numbered with the overall event activity and times.

Step 9: 

Double and triple check everything. 

Step 10: 

Hold the event and earn that journey!!


Helpful Advice: 

  • Don't forget to build in some breaks. I tend to do a break every 1 1/2 hours for older girls, every 1 hour for little girls. OR use that fun game activity AS your break. With my older girls, I let them know if we stay focused until break time and we are ahead of schedule, they get to decide whether to take a longer break or end early for the day. Sometimes, they decide to skip the afternoon break and then we have time for a short movie or another game or craft. 
  • Don't get overwhelmed. Remember. 9-12 activities. It isn't that much. Really!
  • Presentation is EVERYTHING. Do NOT present this to your girl's in a negative fashion. Be positive. Be excited. Be "in it to win it". Be the cheerleader they need to conquer a journey. 
  • Keep it fun!
  • Make sure you have food. Fun food! Something they can help prepare or a surprise afternoon delivery or sweet treat. 
  • Enjoy your time with your group. You are making a difference. 

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