Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Brownie Quest..... in less than 24 hours!

Recently I facilitated an adult session on how to plan a journey event/sleepover/camp out.  The heart of the lesson was how to "properly" address earning a journey in a very short period of time.  Someone asked why this was something they should learn.  There are a number of reasons why.  The first one that comes to mind is the fact that for many things (mainly the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards), earning specific journeys are a prerequisite.  Another reason could be that your troop simply does not have the luxury of being able to do all three journeys in two (or in a Cadette's case, three) years- not all of us meet weekly, so there's a lot we have to cram in during our few meetings.  However, this is not a recommended method to earn all of your journeys- this is a "band aid solution" if you need to squeeze in one for whatever reason.  Many of the journeys are designed to go hand in hand with the supplemental badges (in the badge activity sets), so they are great to do during the span of several meetings.  But, going back to those pesky prerequisites, we understand that this needs to be done.

So, what happens you need to squeeze in one more journey?  Have a sleepover!  Or a long day.... or a camping trip (take your pick!).  This is South Georgia in November though, so the weather is very unpredictable, so sleepover it was!  Here's how we did Brownie Quest:

Drop off, Friday, 5:15-5:45 PM
Pick up, Saturday, 11:30 AM

5:15-5:45 PM, arrivals.  Check in, parents turn in permission slips and scouts receive name tags (name tags color coordinated by patrols)
5:30-6, stragglers check in
6-6:45, Dinner- dinner activity- explain healthy eating habits (why we have no soda or junk food at the sleepover)
7-8:35, Journey activities
                7-7:45 Activity 1/2/3
                7:50-8:35 Activity 2/3/1
                8:40-9:25 Activity 3/1/2
9:25-9:45, clean up from journey activities, set up snack table
9:45-10:00, Late night snacks
10:00-10:30, Clean up, get out sleeping bags
10:30-? movie
?  lights out

7:30 AM, wake up
8:00, breakfast
8:45, clean up breakfast, prepare for Take Action workshop
9:00-11:00, Take Action workshop and planning
11:05, clean up
11:30, depart

Dinner menu/activity: healthy foods and drinks, discuss importance of, ect.

Patrol activity 1: team games- Brownie Blob, human knot, blind fold tent

Brownie blob- girls stand in a tight circle with arms around each other.  A path is outlined that they have to walk across (path can be marked with masking tape for first try, second try should be “blind”).  However, they have to work as a team so that while walking this path, they never break apart/separate.  The point of this exercise is to highlight basic leadership skills.

Human knot- girls stand in a circle and put their arms/hands in front, into the circle.  They then must grab someone’s hand.  They cannot grab their neighbor’s hands, and they cannot grab the same person’s hands (so they should be holding two different hands).  Once this is done, they then must figure out how to “undo the knot.”  They cannot let go of hands.  The girls can end up standing backwards, sideways, ect. As long they do not let go.  The point of this exercise is to highlight communication skills.

Blind fold tent- girls are broken into smaller teams (recommended 2-4 per team).  One person volunteers to be the “eyes,” while the others will be the “builders.”  The builders will be blindfolded.  The eyes can instruct the builders on what to do, but may not physically participate.  The builders will be given a sheet and 4 chairs that they will have to make into a tent-fort, under the direction of the eyes.  The point of this exercise is to highlight communication and leadership (apply what they learned in the previous two games).

Patrol activity 2: Family circle map, family member’s key roles (expanded into community)

Family circle- this activity, the girls will essentially create a depiction of their immediate family circle.  They will then use personal observations to describe what everyone’s role is.  For example- Mom cooks dinner, Dad mows the lawn, sister sweeps the floors and brother cleans the toilet.  In this example, each family member has a role that is important- without one, the others cannot function.  This will then be brought over into the Saturday activity regarding community mapping (this will essentially set them up to better understand it).

Patrol activity 3: The great elf adventure- adopt an elf and decorate it, discuss needs and wants of the elf.  Discuss clothes for the weather, healthy food options, good sleep habits, good hygiene habits and good study habits.  Relate this all back to the Elf about how you can make the Elf happier by living a good life.

Take Action workshop (for further questions, consult the Challenge to Change workbook- this is what we used)

1: Community mapping- learn about community resources, identify community needs and wants.  Assist girls in mapping out what our community has to offer (ie: library, United Way, state park, ect), and then identifying what each “resource” can potentially “provide” to the community (ie: library has books and research material, United Way has access to volunteers and grants, and the state park has natural resources). 

2: After the community mapping, discuss issues within our community.  Ie: lack of famer’s market, lack of clothing resale stores.  Assist girls in identifying the root of the issues behind these problems.

3: Choose and plan Take Action project based on community needs/issues.

4: Take action- set a date to do together OR give the girls a way to complete it on their own OR leave it to the troops to complete the project on their own.  On a Girl Scout’s honor, they have not completed the badge until they complete the Take Action project. 

***Take Action project will then be completed by the girls, on their honor, after the sleepover (individually or as a troop)

Brownie elf outline copies (from Making Friends
Crayons or markers
Large sized construction paper
Scissors (SU storage)
Oversized paper pads
Water cooler
Masking tape
Large, top sheets (to be returned)

Ranch dressing
Chicken nuggets (to be baked)
Orange Juice
Apple Juice
Grape Juice
Triscuts and/or Wheat Thins
Paper bowls 
Paper plates 
Bleach (for cleaning floors and sinks)
Paper cups (for backup)
Vanilla yogurt (large)
Strawberry yogurt (large)

Trail mix (late night snack)

I am sure that many of you have questions about the Take Action component.  The Challenge to Change workbook is a great method to assist girls in learning how to properly choose and execute a take action project.  I highly recommend it!  In the end, our group choose to do a project regarding endangered animals in our area.  They want to create a Facebook page (that they will contribute to through us adults), create awareness signs to put out and create educational pamphlets to distribute.  We only just had our sleepover a few says ago, so I can't say yet how well the afterwards of the take action will work out (so far so good though!).  

Overall, though, the sleepover was a success!  The girls had a blast and they got to earn a journey!  

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Brownies, year 1, meeting 4

In the course of Girl Scouting, there are so many important moments.  Most will agree that the single most important moment is when a scout receives her Gold Award (from experience, I can tell you, that really is a big deal!). But, before the Gold Award, there are plenty of other important moments as well.  When a new scout comes into scouting, they are often "brought into" scouting through an investiture ceremony.  The short is that this ceremony welcomes the new scout into the sisterhood of Girl Scouting.  Many leaders also hold at the beginning of the year a rededication ceremony, where returning scouts reaffirm their commitment to scouting.  Often times, we hold these two ceremonies simultaneously, as they hold near identical meanings (and because we often have a mixture of new and returning girls).

First order of today's meeting was to practice for our investiture and rededication ceremony.  I found a cute ceremony online that I adapted for our girls, but more on that later.  Once we had our practice out of the way, we continued work on the badge My Family Story (the one that we sent supplies home with the girls at our previous meeting so they could created family trees).  The abbreviated version- we went over our family trees and the remaining requirements for the badge (sorry, preggo brain has forgotten them, but this is why I always keep the badge pamphlets with me at meetings!).

Now, onto the important part of the meeting!  The ceremony began with the girls standing outside in the hall, and knocked on the door.  We asked who was there, and they responded some Girl Scouts.  We opened the door and asked them what they wanted.  Their response was, to become Brownie Girl Scouts!  They then filled in, and we sang the Brownie smile song (a classic!).  First, we gave all of our returning girls their Brownie insignia tab and pin.  We saved our new girls for the end and read a poem to them about becoming a Girl Scout.  After everyone had their pins, we also used this as a chance to hand out our first batch of earned awards.  We finished off by reciting the Girl Scout promise (a little backwards, but it worked for us).  It was very touching to look at the troop and see all of them wearing their new Brownie pins.  Some of our girls have been with us since the very beginning.  I hope that all of them will stick with us to the end and one day, we may have the honor of giving them their Gold Award.