Girl Scout Journeys Program…What Do You Think?

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I attended a Girl Scout training session recently about being a Brownie leader (after being one for a year…it was finally offered locally). Most of it was about the changes happening on the Brownie level with the Try Its and Journeys program.

I did not do the Journeys program with my troop, either as Daisy Girl Scouts or as Brownies. I am a teacher. The Journeys program for the girls seemed boring and quite frankly, developmentally inappropriate. I have spoken with some Daisy leaders and they told me the girls were not thrilled with it.

The trainer of the meeting told us that the reason they changed to the Journeys was because girls were just doing fun arts and crafts patches and not learning about leadership or the world around them. I do understand that point, but as a leader, we also do not want to bore the girls to tears and make them NOT want to be a Girl Scout. Meetings should not revolve around reading from a book.

Next year, as my Brownie troop begins it’s second year, I will think about doing a Journey. I will get a book this summer and see how it can be incorporated with what I do. The last thing I want to do is make them do work, since we meet right after school every other Friday. Our Girl Scout meetings are a gateway to the weekend!

What do you think about the Journeys program?

41 thoughts on “Girl Scout Journeys Program…What Do You Think?”

  1. I also have a Brownie troop and we did not do the Journeys this year either. Like you, we will look over a journey this summer and figure out how to incorporate it into next year’s program.

    I think the journey’s can be valuable, but I believe the leaders will have to really think outside the box to come up with activities the girls will enjoy that will go along with the journeys.

  2. we didn’t do them when my juniors were brownies. but this year as a spilt level (jr/brownies), we did them at each level. my brownies seemed to like them. My jrs were mixed. but since we have to do them to think about doing the bronze.

    the last set of journeys that came out, I like the way they are set up better then I do the other sets.

  3. I am a Daisy troop leader and I did the
    Daisy Flower Garden journey. You are right that the program is not developmentally appropriate. My girls were bored to tears with the long stories we had to read and didn’t really care about it anyway. The older Daisy girls (1st grade)I had felt like what we were doing was beneath their intellectual and physical development.

    I did get the book for the 3 Cheers for Animals journey and at least it seems more interesting. At least the leader guide is more detailed with program suggestions and I see more possibilities for getting the girls involved in their community with outings to wild life refuges, zoos, or animal shelters.

  4. Troop 4011, thank you for your comment. I will peruse one of the Brownie Journies and see if it looks like it will hold my girls’ attention. I just do not like the academic part of it. They get enough redaing in school and hopefully at home. I want Girl Scouts to be fun through learning using other hands on things besides books.

  5. I have done the first two Journey books with my Daisy troop over the last two years. I think the most important thing is to make it work for you. We read aloud from the book and not at every meeting. I also planned activities that mirrored the activities in the books. My girls did not have their own copies we simply used them as a resource. This year we had a sleepover and finished our Journey book there. For the Coming year, I am planning an earlier sleep over and we will hopefully get a chunk of the new book done then.

    http://themissadventuresofmissjoanne.blogspot.com

  6. Just had a meeting with adult leadership in our mixed level troop. Had a lengthy discussion about how the Journey program is too much like school work & how can we do the fun things we want to & all the homework type activities required for Journey books & patches.

    I also have personnel reservation about the program. My experience as a girl scout (many years ago)seemed to encourage girls to explore their individual talents, skills & interests and to use those to be the best you could be and be a positive influence in your community. There was plenty of opportunity to learn and try new things too, ie all the different badges.

    The new program seems so heavily structured as if to say “if you are a girl scout, these are the skills, talents, & interests you must have and this is the path you are required to take”. I see a huge loss in the value that each individual can provide.

    My final comment is, so what if Daisy’s and Brownies only want to do the fun arts and crafts patches. They are just little girls.

  7. I’m a Daisy leader (with both Kinders and 1st graders) and I agree. In fact, I was just considering writing a blog post about my experience with the Journey our troop just finished, Welcome to the Daisy Flower Garden.

    It was our first time doing a Journey and, well…it had many challenging aspects. First of all, gardening in fall/winter was tough, and it was difficult to keep the girls interested in the story—like you said, reading from a book just wasn’t going to fly with 15 5-7 year-olds. It was also long, nearly 2 months worth of meetings, I could tell the girls were getting bored and wanted to move on.

    We’re taking a break from Journeys for now and going back to doing crafts and specific skill learning for now. If we do another Journey I’ll have to seriously adapt it to fit our needs.

    1. Indeed! I am quite certain they didn’t consult anyone in ECE when creating the Journeys. Both my B.S. and M.A. are in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis on Special Ed. Last year, my all kindergarten troop did the Daisy Flower Garden Journey. It was a challenge especially with my one scout who has a I.E.P. After a bit of trial and error, I found what worked for us. I didn’t want them to feel this was like school work. I did have two scouts that loved to fill out the book, but it was something they did on their own. This year I won’t even encourage any of the troop to purchase the books.

  8. I have a Daisy troop of 15 first graders. In September, I bought 1 copy of each journey book and leader guide and let the girls choose which one they wanted to do. Being 1st grade girls, they all chose the animal journey. ๐Ÿ™‚ I didn’t buy additional copies, and I *have not* used the book. I have gotten ideas from it, and the basic premise of each chapter, but the stories are long and boring, and sooo spread out. We only meet once a month, and we’d never get through it in one year!

    Instead, we have learned that animals have the same needs – water, food, shelter – and we keep it FUN! One mtg we had a classmate bring in their service dog and talk about everything he does and his care needs, we talked about ‘homes’ and built nests, and we’re having the local naturalist come in and talk about local wild animals.

    I feel like I’m not following the ‘rules’ by going off script, but my moms are involved with the meetings, the girls LOVE coming, and they tell me that, and all the girls work well with each other and have fun together. I think THAT is what scouting is about. My own scouting experience (in the 70’s) was horrible as a child because we never did anything fun and the the leaders were just mean old women, not related to any of the girls. I didn’t want that for ‘my’ girls. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ve been hoping that the Brownie journeys are better…but from what I’ve heard, that isn’t the case. I’ll make it work though. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I am a fan of doing what works. We have done Try It’s and community service projects this year. Next year, I will have to do a Journey, but I will do it my way. (And I also have copy of the old Junior Badge book ;))

  9. I am just starting as leader and I find it way too structured. What happened to the way girl scouts used to be. I don’t think Juliette would be happy with the way girl scouts have gone. It’s like I am being made to put on this formal suit that is too tight. It’s the only thing I am allowed to wear. I just wanted to have a fun time with my daughter and some new friends. This is so rigid it’s like school. I am very disappointed and feeling like how I can get out of it.

  10. You can be a leader who does things her way, like I do. You are not quizzed at leader meetings about what you are doing. My girls are happy, their parents are happy, it is working for us.

  11. Hi there,

    Just stumbling onto your blog. I’ve been a leader for 2 years and will be bridging our girls to Brownies this June. I just purchased the Journeys for the Brownies so we can go over them and let them pick what they want to do next year.

    Journeys these past two years at the Daisy level has been…tiresome at times. Like others have said, the girls do NOT want to sit and listen to stories. They enjoyed the Garden journey enough, the Travel one was bizarre, so disjointed and did not seem to go together at all. We are embarking on the animal one next week. We were happy to have the petals to do to break it up a bit. As others have mentioned, we sort of abandoned the readings from the book, I would glean the pertinent issues they were getting at and then weaved them into our activity and talks during the meetings. Many times I would talk to them and have them answer me as they were working on a craft project–it seemed to keep them engaged and it got us through it. Fortunately all our girls love our meetings and can’t wait to come every week, so I guess we’re doing something right! Looking forward to more inspiration and information for our Brownie troop next year.!

    Yours in green,
    Kim Troop 403 leader

  12. Kim, thank you for your comment. I admire that you meet every week! That is a lot of planning to do!

    I will be starting our Junior year in the fall with Amaze at the advice of other leaders. I plan on breaking it up with community service projects and fun patches. I even have an old Junior Badge book to glean ideas from!

    If you are planning a bridging ceremony, I have a link to my article all about it on my blog.

    Thanks for reading! I am here to help!

  13. I’m an Ambassador scout, and I just find the Journeys kind of irritating. When I started thinking about going for my Gold, we still had the badge prerequisites. Well, then it changed to those… I don’t even remember what they were called, Studio 2B or something? And now it’s Journeys. Well, I was very very sick the last few years, so I haven’t earned any Journeys. I’m left to my own devices to complete two of them this summer so I can begin working on them.

    I miss the badges, I really do. You could pick badges that would help you with your project and everything. Now, I’m stuck with being an ‘advocate’ but I’ve already learned to do that. Now I have to do a large project to go along with it. My Gold project is hopefully going to be starting an elementary-aged percussion group; what does that have to do with advocacy? I feel like these Journeys are just molding us all to do the same thing, especially when whole troops do the book at once.

    1. Tory, I appreciate your comment, especially from a Senior Scout who has seen both programs. The Journeys program, to me, is so limiting. I have the old Junior Badge Book and my daughter is already working on her Yarn Craft badge with such joy and enthusiasm. She does not have that option with Journeys. What a shame.

      I am glad you are feeling better to try the Journeys on your own.

      I would love for you to check in this year and share what you are doing with your Gold Project. You can contact me at the email on my “Contact” page.

      Good luck to you with your project!

  14. Hooray! So happy to read that others chose not to use the Daisy journeys book (totally hokey – you CAN do better). I’ve been a Daisy troop co-leader for 2 years, and we simply did the petals, 6 per year – coming up with our own ideas on how to have the girls ‘earn’ each one.

    We live in Jersey City, NJ and focused a lot on the community (fire station visit, female police officer guest speaker, helping at a breakfast for the hungry, planting bulbs for a ‘Big Dig’ volunteer day, helping weed at a local state park, a visit from an animal rescue activist, a visit to a retirement community) and new experiences (science day, ‘girls teaching girls’ origami, bowling, family camping trip, family picnic at a park and at a zoo) …and more. The girls had so much fun, and we leaders did, too!

    At a training, we were told that Girl Scouts, as much as possible,should be ‘girl led’? As we bridge into Brownies, we would like to explore more about how to do that.

    Do the Brownie journeys allow that?

  15. I never did a Journey, so I cannot tell you how to go about having a girl led one as a Brownie.

    You did a lot of great things for your girls without doing a Journey-congrats! Service, in my opinion, is so important. How else will they learn to be a part of their own communities if they do not help when they are younger? This is a wonderful model while they are young and impressionable.

    My troop will be girl led as Juniors. When they were Brownies, they “led” me by telling me what they liked and did not like. We did Try Its based on that. You can still find retired Brownie Try Its online.

    Thank you for stopping by and commenting on my blog!

  16. This is a great blog. Thank you for posting this. I am a leader of a 2nd grade Brownie troop (their first year as Brownies) and we, too, were unsure about the Journey thing. We each bought the book for Daisies, but didn’t like it at all. We have the Girls Guide for Brownies, and will use that for ideas. My question is this: do you know if you can earn Journey badges if you’re not doing a Journey? Or are you ‘stuck’ with just the legacy badges? I can’t see why you’d be stuck, but wanted to throw it out there to make sure!
    I’m bookmarking your blog as it’s chock full of great ideas. Thank you!

  17. GroovyMommy, welcome to my blog! Journeys are not required, so that is why we did not do any. I do not believe you can earn Journey badges without doing the program. What you can do (and what I and other leaders are dong) it get the old Brownie Try It handbook and do Try Its.

    Finding the patches may be a challenge, but they can still be found online. I needed one and bought it from Ebay.

    I am buying old Junior badges for my girls now.

    Good luck!

  18. Please help, anything you can offer is great! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Hello, I am a committed Mom of 2 girls. I am starting a Brownie troop so that my little girl can have the ‘experience’ however, the journey book I purchased has me totally confused. When reading it, I felt it would bore them to death having to go through that…while, as a leader, I am going to do my best to teach them valuable lessons, I would much rather make it fun. If I choose not follow the journey book can you all give me some ideas on what else I could do for them. This is their first time and mine so I want these 5 little ones to have a blast of a girl scout experience.

    Thanks for listening ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Nichole, first of all, thank you for stepping up for your daughters! Journeys are not required for Brownies, so take a breath.

      Buy an old Brownie Try It Handbook on Amazon and start there. I have articles on Infobarrel.com and wrote lesson plans for each and every one. The only problem you may run into is not being able to get the old badges. You may have to get them on Ebay if you cannot find them online at other Council store.

      Five is a great small number to start with! Ask the girls what interests them and find a Try It. First Aid is easy, so is Make It, Eat It.

      Good luck and ask away if you have any other questions!

  19. I am glad to see this. I have a joint Daisy/Brownie troop. We did the garden journey last year and it was ok, but we mostly just did the activities and did not read the story. I do not like the Brownie journey. The book is printed from two different directions which is driving us nuts. My only concern about not doing them, is I do not want my girls to feel awkward in the future for not having them on their vests. I am giving serious thoughts on falling back to my teacher skills. I loved GS as a kid. I enjoyed doing patches because I could do some of them on my own. It was fun.

  20. I think the Journey books are too complicated for girls 7-8 yrs. old, they are geared more towards the much older girls and I say do something less involved, but fun and show them easier ways to learn leadership, respect, authority, etc.

    1. Kathryn, thank you for your comment! I agree with your point. Earning Try It Badges was so much more fun and hands on. Journeys are not required until Juniors, and that is only if you are wanting to earn the Bronze Award.

  21. I simply don’t understand how to start the journey it’s my world change it. I understand the purpose I just don’t know how to get 25 girls to participate without feeling like it is intense homework. We only meet one day a week for an hour. Time is a major problem. Do you or anyone have any ideas?

    1. What level are you? Journeys are not required at all from Daisies to Brownies. If you want your girls to earn the Bronze Award, then as Juniors, you will need to do a journey.

      I suggest going to http://www.babycenter.com and joining the Girl Scout Moms forum. Lots of great information can be found there.

  22. This is my 3rd time around as a Girl Scout leader, my first time was right out of High School had a Brownie Troop of 20 girls 1st – 3rd graders. 2nd time was Brownie co-leader with my daughter (1989-1993), Plus 4 years as Den leader and 2 years as Cub Master with my son. 4 years ago my granddaughter asked me to be her Daisy Troop leader ( after her daddy informed her about grandma’s years of Scouting, course he had to register as a Green Angel with our SU for getting me roped in). As Daisy’s they completed their petals the first year so we do the 3 journey the second year. In all the years I’ve done Scouting I’ve never seen anything more boring then Journey’s. I spent the Summer between 1st & 2nd year Daisy’s studying the Journeys trying to figure out how to make them interesting for the girls. I decided to not require the parents to buy the books and do the Journeys by thinking outside the box. Happy to say we completed the 3 Journeys and earned the Summit Award for Daisy’s. I have a Troop of 11 girls who if not Gifted are at least A-B students so they earned 15 of the Brownie badges this year and have decided they are going to earn the 3 Journeys this year. They have a Goal of earning the Brownie Summit this year. The Troop is broke down in to Patrol’s (They have to learn to work as a Group before they can learn leadership) and Patrol 1 is working on their presentation of the 1st Journey over the summer for them to begin in Aug. I’m also going to buy the Journey kit for Making Friends for them to use. I figured out that the Journey kits are pretty cheap when you break them down per girl.
    They have also set a goal that each of them will sell $100 of products for Fall Product sales to go for a big blow out end of the year activity before they bridge to Juniors. They decided to wait and see if they make their Fall Product Goal before they set their Cookie Goal.
    I’m hoping that the girls are successful in the goals they have set for this year. My Goal is to find a Co-leader and getting a parent to run the Fall products and one to be treasurer.

    1. WOW! You accomplished quite a lot! I wish you success in finding the help that you need. I am thinking about buying one Journeys kit and using them as a springboard for getting the Journey done. My girls want to work on their Bronze Award right away, but I want the Journey done first and out of the way.

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