It has been a while since I have posted what my troop has been up to, so I thought I would take this holiday downtime to share what my 9th Grade Seniors have been doing.
This past summer, I wrote in detail about the Mission:Sisterhood Journey that we did over two consecutive days. At that time, one of my five remaining girls had dropped out of Scouts for good and the other did not come to the summer meetings as she was not interested in the Journey.
Fast forward to September and the start of high school, and for the first time ever, all of the girls were attending the same school. In the past, they had gone to different elementary and middle schools. My daughter even has a class with one of her scouting friends from the other middle school, and both are delighted to be together.
Photo from Pixabay
We spent our cookie money on a horseback riding experience in early October and the girls had a great time. However, the one girl who has been with my troop since kindergarten decided not to return. Her mom gave no reason and she has not told the girls why she left when they see each other at lunch or in the halls. I totally understand not wanting to return, but I believe it is a courtesy to let me or the other leader know after all of these years. We got the hint since she did not register in the fall, and all attempts at reaching out went unanswered. In all my years as a troop leader, this is the first parent to not tell us via email or in person that her daughter was not returning. I have never taken a girl leaving personally, and I love having a small troop. (I wrote about the benefits of having one in this blog post).
We did not meet in November, but did meet this week to bake cookies, muffins and other treats for the homeless program that we have participated in for the past six years. The girls are very independent and it was lovely just hanging out in the kitchen and listening to them chat as they decorated cookies. They even talked about going for the Gold Award, which would be quite a feather in their cap if they try to do this!
Photo from Pixabay
Picking Out Badges to Earn
When they finished, I sat down with them and told them that as Seniors, they needed to be girl led. I know that follow-through is tough and that finding time to get together to plan is also challenging, given their different activity schedules. I told them to look up the Senior badges and requirements online and find some badges they wanted to earn. They found three, the first being Room Makeover. They liked the idea of doing things for their own rooms, and two of them already had Pinterest boards full of ideas, which is Step 1. For Step 2, Paint Something, they want to go to one of the painting stores and make a creation for their walls. With only three girls, we have plenty of cookie money left from the two years that we sold to make this possible and not drain the account.
Photo from Pixabay
They can also get together at my home to sew pillows for Step 3, Sew or Glue Something. The fourth step is a challenge, but I think we can tie dye some pillow cases to repurpose, and we can do that together as well.
For the fifth and final step, Build Something, the girls can look and find a simple project that can be done together. They can text each other ideas until they find something they all like and I can buy the materials.
Looking forward to the new year, we will be earning this badge and learning about the requirements for the Gold Award. We will not be selling cookies, as we have money in the bank and the three families are willing to bankroll anything the girls do once the money runs out. For our little tribe, staying together is goal. This is a safe place for the girls, and together they can have great experiences as well as do service for others.
In my last Mission:Sisterhood Senior Journey post, I shared with you my lesson plans from start to finish and how well it all went. The girls did the groundwork for their Take Action Project, because I knew that planning it while the topic was still fresh in their minds would make starting the second meeting much easier. Instead of starting from scratch, they were picking up where they had left off.
Photo from Pixabay
Once again I picked up each girl and brought them to my house. They needed to add words to the Friendship Rocks they had painted and then get to work on their video.
Photo from Hannah Gold
This picture are the rocks my daughter painted and will give to someone in the future.
When they were done painting, I asked them what they needed anything for the video, got the materials for them, and then the three girls went into my basement to get to work.
I checked in on them about every 45 minutes just to see their progress. It helped to keep them on task that I would not let them go swimming until the video was done. I found it interesting that the girls chose not to be on camera, but to create a video with text and drawings. Two of the three, including my daughter, were camera shy. The third did not care if she was on camera or not, so it all worked out.
They continued working, took a lunch break, and then worked some more. It took longer than they had anticipated, but about an hour after lunch it was finished.
I was blown away by what they had created.
They each had a friendship story to tell and shared it. Here is their final project.
I am not sure if a larger troop could have done this in one or two days, but it worked for my group of three. As I said in my previous Mission:Sisterhood post, if I had planned this as a sleepover, it would have been done in a single day.
Overall, this was a very positive experience for my troop. They said they wanted to do another Journey in a Day next summer. While doing the planning was time consuming for me, I was able to enjoy it because I was off from work for the summer. This kind of intense work is not possible during the school year, either for me or for my girls.
Have you done any Journeys in a Day? What has worked for you?
In my previous blog post, I shared with you the specific Senior Girl Scout Mission Sisterhood resources I used to plan my troop’s Journey in a Day. While it is taking us two days, it really could have been done in one.
Here is a little background on the girls so you can understand why I am so pleased with how it all turned out.
My daughter and one of the girls have been the best of friends since kindergarten. They are very tight, and this young woman is one of the few remaining real friends my child has. Her mother, the troop’s head leader, is one of my dearest friends. These two are original members of the troop.
The other girl joined my troop in fifth grade and attended a different elementary and middle school. I have always liked her since she has such a genuine soul and says how exactly how she feels. No drama or pettiness from her at all-quite the opposite. My daughter and her friend have always gotten along with her, but unless it was Girl Scouts, they did not hang out.
While normally three girls makes drama, with this group, I knew it would not be the case. For example, my daughter told me that she had thought about a particular friendship object that close friend in the troop gave her years ago, but she did not want to make the third girl uncomfortable. That is not only being a sister to every Girl Scout, it was a parent win in my book.
Here is what we did.
Mission: Sisterhood Part One
Photo from Pixabay
I picked up both of the girls, who live nearby, since both of their parents were working. We sat in my family room and I talked about the purpose of the Journey. I then asked them what they thought “Sisterhood” meant .
There were different crafts in the leader guide and to be honest, I did not care for some of them and others I tweaked. I decided to have the girls paint river rocks and have them write positive messages on them. These were not going to be left in random places, but to be given to a friend in need when this person needs someone to tell her she cares.
Photo by Hannah Gold
Before the girls arrived I set out the paint and plates with rocks on them so they could get started.
Photo by Hannah Gold
I bought all of my craft supplies at Michael’s. These are the rocks I purchased.
Because the rocks would need more than one coat of paint, I had them start painting them as we chatted. We then talked about the different sisterhoods they each belonged to.
And then, something magical happened.
Much like car conversations when your teenager and you are looking forward, we had a great sideways conversation that covered so many of the talking points in the Journey. With heads bowed down while painting, the three girls really opened up. I interjected as needed to guide the conversation, but letting them talk about the issues they had faced with friends and how it made them feel was natural. No silly cheers or games were needed. I was able to skip some of the other planned discussions because they were covered during this time.
I am not sure if this would happen in a large group setting, but knowing that our troop has slimmed down to four, and only three were vested in the Journey, created a bond that took root at my kitchen table.
When they were done with painting, they took out their friendship objects and talked about them.
Mission: Sisterhood Part 2
Our Sisterhood Poster
I purchased a piece of posterboard and had a pile of magazines that I had not gotten to read. Now they were going to be put to good use!
So we transitioned from individual projects to a group project.
Photos by Hannah Gold
Here is the finished project. It took about 20 minutes to complete.
Since we started at 10:00, we did not have a snack break because the girls got up later and had just eaten. I wanted to plow through as much as we could before lunch time.
Mission: Sisterhood Part Three
Now it was time to use the leader’s guide in the Know Thyself section. We did the Social Situations game on page 37 and talked a bit more about what girls valued in a friendship (page 38). The girls discussed their style of interacting and why they felt the way they did.
Mission: Sisterhood Part Four
Lunch and a Show
It was time to get ready for lunch. The guide book talks about making tacos.
My daughter does not like tacos.
Instead, we made homemade pizza. I bought ready-made dough, sauce and cheese. You can provide other toppings if you wish. It is the same concept as the tacos-put in what you want and how much. It is all different, but together, it is something fantastic!
While the pizza was cooking in the oven, it was time for the girls to watch a show about friendship. I was really stuck on this, as so many of today’s programs that are aimed at teens are way too mature, in my opinion. Others are just plain silly (think Disney Channel). While searching online, I discovered a lost gem…The Facts of Life! Over the years, the four main characters developed a special sisterhood bond with each other, as well as with the adults who were charged with their care.
I decided that during cooking and eating time, the girls would watch a two part episode from Season 2, when the character Jo is introduced. Jo is an outsider-a scholarship student from the city who has not had the advantages the other girls at Eastland have had. This two parter shows how the girls friendship, particularly the one between Blair and Jo, developed.
I did do a disclaimer with the girls about it being a show from my and their mothers’ time. No technology was available to get them out of trouble (or into it), and the clothing was dated. Otherwise, this show has stood the test of time.
I have Chromecast, so I was able to cast it on my television.
Here is Part 2.
After the show was over, we talked about it. Interestingly, the first few minutes talk about Mrs. Garrett’s weight loss and how that is the first thing the girls noticed and commented on. I shared how the four lead characters were called “The Fats of Life” while the show was on the air due to their weight gain and going through puberty while the show filming. These two things led to discussions about appearance and inner beauty versus outer beauty, two parts of the Journey.
Mission: Sisterhood Part Five
Here is another place that I diverted from the guide. The book calls for making different “Sisterhood Snacks”. I decided that since my child did not like any of the options, we would do a cookies in a jar snack.
Wash and dry the jar before using. Be sure to buy a large enough jar…I learned this the hard way. Ours was a bit too small, so I had to put the chocolate chips in a baggie, not in the jar.
Photo by Hannah Gold
Yes, I know the ribbon is not Pinterest pretty and the recipe tag is too large. Being an older, seasoned leader, I did not care. I did not have to “Wow” the other two moms, who are my friends. My energy is needed elsewhere.
Mission Sisterhood: Part Six
Friends and Our Health
The leader’s guide calls for the girls to do a healthy activity together. One of them is swimming, and since I have a pool, that was what they did. (Yes, I am a Certified First Aider). The girls were together for almost an hour-I could not get them out of the pool! After the first time I tried to get them out and failed, I gave them a task. They needed to come up with a sisterhood issue for the video they were creating. We talked about what they did and did not like from the ones they have viewed on YouTube and they worked together from there.
While I watched from the window, they were bonding and creating their new sisterhood!
After I dragged them out of the pool, I served them snacks as they dried off on the lounge chairs and started creating their project. They actually got some of it done, and if I had planned on this being a few hours longer, it could have been finished in a day. But I had a meeting to go to that night so extending it was not an option. I had planned for additional time the next day for it to be completed.
When it was time to bring the girls home, they all said, “This was so much fun! Who thought a Journey would be fun?”
Certainly, not me.
But keep in mind all the planning I had to do, all the shopping and preparation that was required to get this done. I can tell you that during my busy school year, this would not have happened. It is only thanks to the many other leaders who published their lessons online that I was able to put less time than I would have otherwise needed to accomplish a Girl Scout Journey in a day.
So I am sharing with all of you what we did and hope that it is helpful to you.
My next post is all about how the second and final meeting went and how the girls completed their Take Action Project.
Although it has been a while since my last blog post, it is not that Girl Scouts have been far from my mind. On the contrary…I have been busy planning the Mission: Sisterhood Senior Girl Scout Journey in a day.
The other leader and I have been talking about whether or not the girls want to earn the Gold Award. While it does not matter one way or the other to either of us, it is a choice the girls have to make on their own. Even if my daughter does not want to go for the Gold, she does want to stay in Girl Scouts. After much discussion with her, we came to the conclusion that sticking with scouts all the way until she graduates high school-thirteen years in total-is going to look great on her college applications.
Besides doing fun things together and learning new skills, my troop has always been service oriented. I am passing the reigns to them to see what kinds of service they want to do. Continuing to do this because they want to do this makes the experience more meaningful to them.
Another reason she wants to stay in Girl Scouts is because it has become a very safe place for her. It is a “no judgement” zone for each girl. Middle school was rough for my daughter, and Girl Scouts was a place where she could just sit back and be herself with a group of girls, most of whom she has known since kindergarten.
Since the other leader works full-time and I am off for the summer, I decided to take the lead and do a Senior Journey with the troop. They did not earn the Silver Award, which means they have to do two Journeys in order to earn the Gold. When I spoke to a Council rep, she recommended doing one this year and one next year. That leaves two years to work on the Gold, if the girls want to.
I sent an email to the four mothers and gave the girls the three choices for the Senior Girl Scout Journey for their daughters to read over and choose. I emphasized that this was a choice and no girl was obligated to do it, but I wanted them to have the opportunity if she even had the smallest desire to earn her Gold Award. Plus, I had the time to do it and to be honest, I love lesson planning!
Photo from Pixabay
The first response I received told me something I already knew from my daughter and her friend…one girl was not returning. I spoke with her mom and she said they just expected her to quit when high school started…like it was a given. I told her she could always return.
This girl told my daughter that she did not want to do a Journey or badge work, she only wanted to do outings. That is her choice.
One other girl did not want to do the Journey, either. So I only had to plan for three who chose Mission:Sisterhood.
To prepare, I sent a link to all the YouTube videos that were the Take Action Projects for this Journey. This is the easiest and most sustainable TAP to do. The girls took notes about what they did and did not care for in the other videos so they could formulate what they wanted to achieve, and they would share those notes at our meeting.
They also had to bring an object that represented what friendship meant to them and their video release forms. Bathing suits and towels were also on the list since I have a pool and that was once of the activities from the guide.
On my end, I found a ton of online resources for this Journey. I figured it would take two days-one to do all the activities and one for the TAP.
Could it be that your troop of Cadette Girl Scouts is not only graduating middle school, but is also ready to bridge to Seniors? High School and a new level of scouts is around the corner, both big milestones for these young teenage girls. Hopefully your troop will be staying together for more adventures and learning in the fall.
Photo from Pixabay
If they are, the girls should be planning their Cadette to Senior Girl Scout ceremony. While you hope that they will do work at home, in reality, with the busy-ness of their lives, you might be better off scheduling a special meeting devoted to planning this event.
Steps to Planning Your Cadette to Senior Bridging Ceremony
At this stage of the scouting game, I am going to assume that you already picked out a date and contacted the parents about it, and that you have planned where it will take place. In addition, menu planning for your party should be second nature as you have done this a few times before. The girls can actually do some of the planning and prep work for this.
You know the personality of your troop…that should guide you to how long it should be. Are most of your girls shy or do they love to be the center of attention? Once you help them figure out how long they want the ceremony to be, then they can use these resources for their planning.
*NOTE-You will also want to have a special part of your bridging ceremony dedicated to those who have earned the Silver Award.
Girl Scout Bridging This is from the GSUSA and has all the steps the girls need to follow before the actual ceremony.